Washington Independent Review of Books

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SLOUCH | A Busboys and Poets Books Presentation

Location 14th & V 2021 14th St NW, Washington, District of Columbia, 20009
Date Thursday, May 2, 2024 at 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Duration   1 hours
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On May 2nd at 6 pm, Busboys and Poets Books is hosting a fascinating event where author Beth Linker will present her new book "SLOUCH: POSTURE PANIC IN MODERN AMERICA." This deeply researched cultural history delves into the largely forgotten early 20th-century crusade by American public health officials against the perceived epidemic of poor posture. Linker, a historian of medicine and disability as well as a former physical therapist, charts how concerns over slouching progressed from Charles Darwin's "posture-first" theory of evolution in 1859 to the formation of the American Posture League in 1914 composed of physical educators, paleoanthropologists, and doctors. The book reveals how this posture panic even led to the mid-century practice of taking semi-nude posture photographs of college students, including future public figures like Hillary Clinton and George H.W. Bush. While attitudes towards posture surveillance have evolved, Linker argues the posture panic mentality never truly went away, with culture and pseudoscience continuously reinforcing each other's anxieties. By attending this free event, audiences have a rare opportunity to hear directly from the author about her fascinating research into this peculiar period of American history. Linker's engaging multimedia presentation promises to both entertain and educate attendees about the forgotten roots of modern society's obsession with good posture and body image. The event will also include an audience Q&A session and a book signing by the author. For anyone interested in cultural history, the history of medicine, or simply learning about a bizarre forgotten craze, this promises to be a thought-provoking and insightful evening at the renowned Busboys and Poets bookstore and cultural hub. Copies of SLOUCH will be available for purchase as well.

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