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A response paper, make the topic creative - Essay Example

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Susan Reverby has made her name as an historian who takes overly simplistic tales, such as the Tuskegee experiments in which black men were un or undertreated for late-stage syphilis, without their knowledge, while being told that they were being treated as fully as possible…
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A response paper, make the topic creative
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Download file to see previous pages Her challenge, however, is to do so without seeming to minimize the horror of what happened at Tuskegee.
One of the most important aspects of her research is the focus on actually interviewing and interacting, to the degree possible, with people involved with the experiments. She does this to reduce the melodrama involved with the reporting and understanding of these events. In a lecture at Loyola University, she powerfully explains the why this is important. Melodrama, she says, is a story in which the characters “aren’t important” – they are an afterthought used to “fill in the gaps,” while in a drama, the characters are central (Reverby Lecture 2012). Historians, she says, should write drama. The problem with melodrama is that it reduces everyone involved to set pieces. In a historical context, this obstructs retellings of the true history, but possibly more importantly, it makes the melodramatic experience seem exceptional, and obfuscates its connection to societal constructs of oppression. She rejects the idea that melodrama is all that could be had of an experience such as this. She powerfully states her aim in the opening of her work, Examining Tuskegee, where she asserts that “there are truths here [in Tuskegee] – facts that fit the evidence better than do others” (Reverby 9).
One such fact, for instance, patients eventually did get treatments – just not enough of them. It turned from a story of non-treatment to “under treatment” (Reverby 117). Why is this important? Under-treatment of othered people, she argues, is incredibly normative. It happens all the time. Thus, by treating the Tuskegee experiments as some sort of horrific monstrosity, the commonality of aspects of what happened there are lost, so the focus is on the exceptional horrific problem than the very common, barely less horrific one. Furthermore, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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