Jaipreet Virdi, Assistant Professor in the History Department at the University of Delaware
University of Delaware
122 John Munroe Hall
Newark, DE 19716
Jaipreet Virdi is a historian of medicine, technology, and disability. Her research and teaching interests include the history of medicine, the history of science, disability history, disability technologies, and material/visual culture studies. She received her Ph.D. from the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto (2014).
Dr. Virdi is currently completing her first book, Hearing Happiness: Fakes, Frauds, and Fads in Deafness Cures, to be published by University of Chicago Press. This book rethinks how therapeutic negotiation and the influence of pseudo-medicine shaped what it meant to be a "normal" deaf citizen in American history. Examining how deaf/deafened individuals attempted to amplify their hearing through various types of surgical, proprietary, and/or technological "deafness cures," the book charts the dissemination of ideas about hearing loss from beyond medical elites to popular culture and the popular imagination.
She is also working on three other projects. Objects of Disability is an online resource database of historical artefacts used by, and/or crafted by, Canadians with disabilities, with the site scheduled to launch in 2019. Her second book project, From Prevention to Conservation: American Research on Hearing Impairment, 1910-1960 focuses on the network of specialists and services that aimed to improve the hearing of American citizens. By analyzing how various factions aimed to normalize hearing impairment through military rehabilitation efforts, social organizations, and advanced otological techniques, this project historicizes how deafness became construed as an urgent public health matter. Additionally, Dr. Virdi is collaborating with Dr. Coreen McGuire tracing the historical roots of scientific research on disabilities—such as deafness and breathlessness—in Britain and the role of women scientists. This project, Instrumental Injustices: Women Scientists and the Politics of Disability in Interwar Britain especially focuses on how scientific instruments were used by women to demonstrate the value of their research against criticism and assert control over (deaf) bodies.
Dr. Virdi serves as Contributing Editor of the journal Pharmacy in History and Co-Editor of Communiqué, the newsletter of the Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science.
Articles and Book Chapters
- "Finger Surgery for Deafness: Rethinking Quackery in Medical History," Canadian Medical Association Journal 191.7 (February 2019): 192-4.
- "Canada's Shame: The Coerced Sterilization of Indigenous Women," New Internationalist (30 November 2018).
- "Phyllis M. Tookey Kerridge and the Science of Audiometric Standardization in Britain, co-authored with Coreen McGuire, British Journal for the History of Science 51.1 (March 2018): 123-146.
- "Prevention & Conservation: Historicizing the Stigma of Hearing Loss, 1910-1940," Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 45.4 (2017): 531-544.
- "Between Cure and Prosthetic: 'Good Fit' in Artificial Eardrums," in Claire L. Jones (Ed.), Rethinking Modern Prostheses in Anglo-American Commodity Cultures, 1820-1939 (Manchester University Press), 48-69.
- "The Hearing Aid's Pursuit of Invisibility," The Atlantic (August 4, 2016).
- "Dialogues on Disability: Social Media as Platforms for Scholarship," Medical History 58.4 (2014): 628-630.
- "Priority, Piracy, and Printed Directions: James Yearsley's Patenting of the Artificial Tympanum," Technology & Innovation: Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors 16.2 (2014): 145-154.
- "Curtis's Cephaloscope: Deafness and the Making of Surgical Authority in London, 1815-1845," Bulletin of the History of Medicine 87.3 (2013): 349-379.
- "'Not to become a breeding ground for medical experimentation:' Examining the Tensions between Aurists and Educators for the Deaf, 1815-1830," British Deaf History Society Journal 15.4 (2013): 8-13.
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