Having difficulty with reading, or being unable to read, has not always been a medical problem. In the late nineteenth century, physicians such as Broadbent (1872) and Hinshelwood (1895) became interested in identifying particular bodies with reading difficulties. These physicians were able to establish a particular population of persons understood as having reading difficulties. This chapter is focused around the question of ‘how’ reading difficulties were invented as a concern for medical researchers. I describe how this interest began to solidify into a diagnostic category, leading them to write reports in some of the most well-known and respected medical journals in Britain (Hinshelwood, 1895; Kussmaul, 1877). In response to this problem I will consider how the diagnosis of acquired word-blindness, a technology of power, was crafted, paying particular attention to why a difficulty with reading, in its acquired form, became a medical concern during the late nineteenth century. It will be argued that this diagnostic category provided the clinical precedents and many of the techniques that allowed for congenital word-blindness to become a viable diagnosis. I will describe how acquired word-blindness was used as a point of departure for the crafting of congenital word-blindness.
KeywordsIntellectual Attribute Diagnostic Category Visual Memory Reading Difficulty Medical Concern
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.See my discussion in Chapters 3 and 4.Google Scholar