Portrait photograph of James W. Trent Jr. James W. Trent Jr. is Professor of Sociology and Social Work at Gordon College and author of three books, including The Manliest Man and Inventing the Feeble Mind: A History of Mental Retardation in the United States, which won the 1995 Hervey B. Wilbur Award of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Trent also co-edited Mental Retardation in America: An Historical Reader. Trent’s scholarly research activity lies in the history and theory of social policy formations that affect marginalized and disenfranchised groups. Before joining the Gordon faculty in 2003, he received the 2001 Paul Simon Outstanding Scholar Award from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, where he served on the faculty for seventeen years.

Inventing the Feeble Mind: A History of Mental Retardation in the United StatesMental Retardation in America: A Historical ReaderThe Manliest Man: Samuel G. Howe and the Contours of Nineteenth-Century American ReformB.A. Wake Forest University
M.Div. Duke University
M.S.W. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Ph.D. Brandeis University

James Trent Curriculum Vitae (PDF)



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Inventing the Feeble Mind

 James W. Trent Jr.'s first book explores the nation's changing perceptions of intellectual disabilities over the past 150 years.


UMass Press Catalog

 See The Manliest Man featured at the front of the UMass Press's Spring & Summer 2012 catalog.