Kelly Watson (West Virginia University, Hall Center Visiting Regional Fellow)

"The Pied Piper of New Guinea: The Life and Crimes of D. Carleton Gajdusek"

This is a virtual event, please register here:

Carleton Gajdusek is best known for three things: 1) his 1976 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine which he received for his field-defining research into “slow viruses” (now known as prion disorders), 2) his adoption of more than 35 children from Micronesia and Melanesia, and 3) his 1997 conviction for the sexual abuse of a minor. This talk will explore the life and works of D. Carlton Gajdusek, illuminating the ways that fame, colonialism, and science created a space for the exploitation of bodies. It will pose difficult questions about the complicity of Western science and (post)colonial institutions in the sexual abuse of children. 

Dr. Kelly Watson oversees the undergraduate programs in the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at West Virginia University. She previously served as Associate Professor of History at Avila University in Kansas City, MO as well as Visiting Assistant Professor of History and Women’s and Gender Studies at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN. The Hall Center's Visiting Regional Humanities Faculty Fellows have the opportunity to use university resources, such as the KU Libraries and the Hall Center’s Research and Grant Development Office, and to collaborate with KU faculty, as they work on a scholarly or pedagogical project.

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