Malingering and Social Welfare Policy

This group seeks to advance the historiography on the role of malingering and feigned illness in building and conceptualizing modern welfare states, and will highlight the persistence and relevance of that history in current debates over health and health policy in the West.

Upcoming Meetings

Please set your timezone at

There are no currently scheduled upcoming events.

Past Meetings

  • January 24, 2020

    Nicole Huberfeld, "Is Medicare for All the Answer? Assessing the Health Reform Gestalt as the ACA Turns 10"
    Our agenda for the first meeting:

    1. Introductions                                                                        (20 minutes)
      1. Personal
      2. Professional Focus for WG
    2. Expectations/Framing of WG Sessions                                   (15 minutes)
      1. Presentation of Works in Progress
      2. Journal/Book Club
    3. Huberfeld Paper Discussion                                                   (45 minutes)
    4. Next Steps                                                                             (10 minutes)         
  • June 12, 2020

    We will be discussing some of Doron’s excellent work on disability, law, and the perception of fakery. The specific manuscript on which Doron would like feedback is the Suspicious Species paper.
    As per Doron’s suggestion, I am also sending along two other of his papers to provide context for Doron’s line of work and facilitate discussion:

    • Fear of the Disability Con -- which gives the framework on the topic;
    • [Un]Usual Suspects -- which examines the psychological mechanism for suspecting people are faking disability in situations of scarcity using a series of experiments.


  • September 25, 2020

    Daniel Goldberg, Standalone Chapter 3
    Zoom meeting link:

Group Conveners

  • prof.d.goldberg's picture

    Daniel Goldberg

    Daniel S. Goldberg is trained as an attorney, a bioethicist, and a historian. He focuses on law, ethics, and history in public and population health, and has spent virtually his entire academic career studying “contested illnesses” in the West, both past and present. He has published extensively on these subjects, including original peer-reviewed history articles and chapters, and is excited to launch a new phase of inquiry on the deep connections between anxieties over malingering and feigned illness and social policy. His particular approach to this subject draws on his work in intellectual history and the history of objectivity to excavate the ways in which changing ideas about truth, doubt, and certainty in the long 19th c. shape(d) social welfare policies in the Anglophone world.


21 Members