Cure in the Bunker. Radiological Cancer Treatment and Emotion in the Cold War
Referent/in: PD Dr. Bettina Hitzer
24.03.2021 - 18:00 Uhr
McGill University, Montréal (CA), digital
Beschreibung der Veranstaltung
SSoM Seminar - March 24 with Bettina Hitzer
Title: Cure in the Bunker. Radiological Cancer Treatment and Emotion in the Cold War
Abstract: The advent of Cobalt-60 Beam Therapy Units in hospitals of the early 1950s was celebrated as a major break-through in cancer therapy – the first successful treatment worldwide having taken place at the University Hospital in Saskatoon/Canada. Everywhere, this new technology was referred to as a state-of-the-art weapon - a cobalt bomb - in the fight against cancer. The military metaphor was by no means new in cancer therapy but gained a specific meaning in the context of nuclear armament in the era of the Cold War.
The talk explores the situation in divided Germany on both sides of the Iron Curtain. It asks what effects the metaphorical and discursive framing of the Cobalt-60 units had on the feelings of cancer patients in the 1950s and 1960s. In so doing, it also considers the spatial and material aspects of cobalt therapy. Finally, the presentation discusses to what extent the patient experience was affected by the change in public perceptions of the radiation therapy that was evident around 1965.