2014-15 Henry King Stanford Distinguished Professor Lecture Series Logo by the Center for the Humanities

Robert Proctor

Professor of History of Science, Stanford University

Bio photo for the 2014-15 Henry King Stanford Distinguished Lecturer Robert Proctor

"Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition"

Thursday, September 11, 2014 — 4:30pm

CAS Gallery
1320 Stanford Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33146


Robert N. Proctor is Professor of the History of Science at Stanford University and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under the Nazis (1988); Cancer Wars: How Politics Shapes What We Know and Don't Know About Cancer (1995); The Nazi War on Cancer (1999); and Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition (2012). He specializes in 20th century science, technology, and medicine, especially the history of the controversies in those fields, scientific rhetoric, the cultural production of ignorance, and the history of expert witnessing.

"Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition" by Robert Proctor

Golden Holocaust will stand indelibly as a landmark in the field of medicine and the history of science. It is a monument of committed scholarship and cool passion, making brilliant use of the new technics of data-mining to reveal a terrible calculus, while giving the lie to claims that advocacy must be the enemy of objectivity. Lives, far too many lives, depend on what this book contains.”
— Iain Boal, Birkbeck College, University of London, and University of California-Berkeley

The cigarette is the deadliest artifact in the history of human civilization. 100 million people died from smoking in the 20th century, and tens of millions have already perished in the 21st. Even so, the disturbing fact is that most of the total toll lies in the future. The cigarette epidemic has social, ideological, and political causes, not the least of which is the tobacco industry's development of a near-perfect engine of addiction. Tens of billions of dollars have been spent on cigarette design over the past half century, and designs crafted first in the U.S. are now being copied overseas. Professor Proctor will explore some of the broader cultural and political causes of the epidemic, along with the corruption this industry has caused in society — in science, politics, and culture at large. A case will also be made for a simple solution too often ignored: a ban on the sale of cigarettes. Expect some colorful images!

Open to the Public
Free of Charge



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