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Cafe Breath: A Social History of Spirometers
Thu 24 Jan 2019 @ 6:00 PM - 7:30 PMFree
Measuring the body seems characteristic of objective scientific practice. However, decisions about the types of measurements we prioritise and the types of bodies we choose to measure as standards are heavily weighted with historical biases and discrimination. The process of making breathlessness visible has therefore been characterised by a focus on objective precision measurement tools, exemplified in the story of the spirometer.
In this relaxed evening talk, Dr Coreen McGuire, Research Associate in the History of Medicine (University of Bristol) and Researcher on the Life of Breath project, will tell the story of the spirometer in Britain, illuminating the significant connections between measurement and disability. Measuring lung capacity through spirometry was necessary to define a standard of normalcy – there can be no abnormal without an initial definition of normal. However, questions about whether normal breathing was universal or varied between groups marked all such attempts: normal breathing for whom?
The evening talk will take place in the Courtyard Café and will include a free glass of wine. Due to limited ticket numbers, please ensure that you book in advance via Eventbrite to avoid disappointment. If you have any queries, please visit the Palace Green website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.