How have humans shown mental and physical qualities that make them stand out as “superhumans”? As if they were somehow magical, these people can do things that most others cannot.
We will study how certain people’s exceptional qualities make them culturally powerful or even mythic like superheroes — such as savants, psychics, and super athletes. Over the past two centuries, the medical world both celebrated and marginalized such people, elevating human abilities and how we understand them like never before but also bringing social apprehensions and even harm.
Topics of historical study include mesmerism, hysteria clinics, eugenics, human potential, psychosomatic medicine, altered states of consciousness, and biotechnologies.