Special Issue: Histories of Women, Gender, and Feminism in Psychology

Elizabeth Scarborough

The Summer 2017 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is a special issue devoted to “Histories of Women, Gender, and Feminism in Psychology.” Guest edited by Alexandra Rutherford, the issue both celebrates the intellectual legacy of Elizabeth Scarborough (1935-2015) and marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of Scarborough and Laurel Furumoto’s seminal volume Untold Lives: The First Generation of American Women Psychologists. Full details below.

“‘The difference being a woman made’ Untold Lives in personal and intellectual context,” by Alexandra Rutherford and Katharine Milar. Abstract:

To mark the 30th anniversary of the publication of Scarborough and Furumoto’s classic work Untold Lives, and to honor the intellectual legacy of Elizabeth Scarborough (1935–2015), we introduce this special issue devoted to the histories of women, gender, and feminism in psychology. We provide a short biographical sketch of Elizabeth, highlighting her own marriage-career dilemma, then contextualize the publication of Untold Lives within the historiography on women in psychology at that time. We conclude by discussing intersectionality as an analytic framework for the history of psychology as a way to extend and enrich this historiography.

“‘Making better use of U.S. women’: Psychology, sex roles, and womanpower in post-WWII America,” by Alexandra Rutherford. Abstract:

The relationship between American psychology and gender ideologies in the two decades following World War II was complicated and multivalent. Although many psy-professionals publicly contributed to the cult of domesticity that valorized women’s roles as wives and mothers, other psychologists, many of them women, reimagined traditional sex roles to accommodate and deproblematize the increasing numbers of women at work, especially working mothers. In this article, I excavate and highlight the contributions of several of these psychologists, embedding their efforts in the context of the paradoxical expectations for women that colored the postwar and increasingly Cold War landscape of the United States. By arguing that conflict was inherent in the lives of both women and men, that role conflict (when it did occur) was a cultural, not intrapsychic, phenomenon, and that maternal employment itself was not damaging to children or families, these psychologists connected the work of their first-wave, first-generation forebears with that of the explicitly feminist psychologists who would come after them.

“Balancing life and work by unbending gender: Early American women psychologists’ struggles and contributions,” by Elizabeth Johnston and Ann Johnson. Abstract: Continue reading Special Issue: Histories of Women, Gender, and Feminism in Psychology

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The History of Psychology, Dramatized

 

Production Concept Drawings by James Pickering

Lauren Slater‘s popular volume Opening Skinner’s Box is being interpreted for the stage by the British theatre troupe Improbable as part of this year’s Lincoln Center Festival.

Directed by Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson, the piece recounts highlights of the field’s history as interpreted by Slater (and her detractors) by way of an interpretive bungee cord box. They include the author of the book as a character to guide further critical analysis of what the tales recounted in the volume, as well as the controversy that surrounded the takes in it, can tell us about the sociology and philosophy of science and scholarship more broadly.

According to the company’s website it is “inspired by the fascinating book by Lauren Slater, Opening Skinner’s Box is a whistle-stop tour of the scientific quest to make sense of what we are and who we are, told through ten great psychological experiments and the stories of the people who created them.”

The NYT ran an interesting piece by Eric Grode discussing the troupe’s directorial and productive decisions, and the ways in which their production processes intentionally resembled or related to the production of science.

A favourite quote from that article: “‘For me the box is about the scientific method,’ Mr. Simpson said. ‘You need to create something of a closed system so that it’s repeatable. But that’s kind of a useful pretense because nothing is a closed system. We have to remember that it’s not true,’ he continued, although ‘it’s O.K. to pretend that it’s true because you can learn a lot of useful stuff that way.'”

 

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New HHS: Brainwashing, Scientific Expertise and the Politics of Emotion, & More!

The July 2017 issue of History of the Human Sciences is now online. Articles in this issue explore cinematic representations of brainwashing, scientific expertise and the politics of emotion, and more. Full details below.

“Brainwashing the cybernetic spectator: The Ipcress File, 1960s cinematic spectacle and the sciences of mind,” by Marcia Holmes. Abstract:

This article argues that the mid-1960s saw a dramatic shift in how ‘brainwashing’ was popularly imagined, reflecting Anglo-American developments in the sciences of mind as well as shifts in mass media culture. The 1965 British film The Ipcress File (dir. Sidney J. Furie, starr. Michael Caine) provides a rich case for exploring these interconnections between mind control, mind science and media, as it exemplifies the era’s innovations for depicting ‘brainwashing’ on screen: the film’s protagonist is subjected to flashing lights and electronic music, pulsating to the ‘rhythm of brainwaves’. This article describes the making of The Ipcress File’s brainwashing sequence and shows how its quest for cinematic spectacle drew on developments in cybernetic science, multimedia design and modernist architecture (developments that were also influencing the 1960s psychedelic counter-culture). I argue that often interposed between the disparate endeavours of 1960s mind control, psychological science and media was a vision of the human mind as a ‘cybernetic spectator’: a subject who scrutinizes how media and other demands on her sensory perception can affect consciousness, and seeks to consciously participate in this mental conditioning and guide its effects.

“Scientific expertise and the politics of emotions in the 1902 trial of Giuseppe Musolino,” by Daphne Rozenblatt. Abstract: Continue reading New HHS: Brainwashing, Scientific Expertise and the Politics of Emotion, & More!

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Reimaging Human Relations in Our Time: 4-Day Festival Celebrating 70 Years of the Tavistock Institute

The Tavistock Institute is hosting a 4 day festival, Reimagining Human Relations in Our Time, October 17th-20th to mark its 70th anniversary. For those interested in the history of the Tavistock Institute events on Thursday October 19th are on the theme of “In the Shadow and Light of the Archive.” As the Festival’s site notes “This theme takes a historical lens to reflect on the meaning of the Tavistock Institute’s work including the ways in which our archive contributes to organisational development practice; moving from the seminal work as shadows towards standing on the shoulders of giants.” More generally,

Reimagining Human Relations in Our Time is a festival celebrating 70 years of the Tavistock Institute. At the heart of the festival is the Institute’s archive which over the last two years has been intricately and delicately catalogued at Wellcome Library. These two things coinciding, our anniversary and the launch of the archive, are a great cause for celebration in particular the insights of our forebears as they tackled past societal challenges and their application to our work today. For instance how can we respond to an environment at tipping point, ageing and social care, displaced people and populations, crises in faith, identity and leadership, our wellbeing at work?

The festival website is the starting place for you to begin your research and participation with access to a rich programme which offers opportunities to take part, reflect, dream, debate, consider, and perform. With its online booking system and easy to view programme you will be able to curate your own festival experience.

Find out more about this anniversary festival, including full programming details, here.

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The Hirschfeld Archives: Violence, Death, and Modern Queer Culture

The Hirschfeld Archives: Violence, Death, and Modern Queer Culture by Heike Bauer was recently been published by Temple University Press. As described on the publisher’s website,

Influential sexologist and activist Magnus Hirschfeld founded Berlin’s Institute of Sexual Sciences in 1919 as a home and workplace to study homosexual rights activism and support transgender people. It was destroyed by the Nazis in 1933. This episode in history prompted Heike Bauer to ask, Is violence an intrinsic part of modern queer culture? The Hirschfeld Archives answers this critical question by examining the violence that shaped queer existence in the first part of the twentieth century.

Hirschfeld himself escaped the Nazis, and many of his papers and publications survived. Bauer examines his accounts of same-sex life from published and unpublished writings, as well as books, articles, diaries, films, photographs and other visual materials, to scrutinize how violence—including persecution, death and suicide—shaped the development of homosexual rights and political activism.

The Hirschfeld Archives brings these fragments of queer experience together to reveal many unknown and interesting accounts of LGBTQ life in the early twentieth century, but also to illuminate the fact that homosexual rights politics were haunted from the beginning by racism, colonial brutality, and gender violence.

The full volume is available as an open access pdf here.

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Special Issue on Historical Cognition’s Dilemmas and Advances

A recently released special issue of Memory Studies is dedicated to the issue of historical cognition. Guest edited by Peter Hegarty and Olivier Klein the issue explores historical cognition’s dilemmas as well as recent advances in historical cognition. As Hegarty and Klein note in their open access introduction to the special issue “social psychology has always been a somewhat liminal disciplinary endeavor, which might provide a particular vantage point from which to consider the relationship between psychology’s individual subject and historical sense-making.” Their introduction further notes,

This Special Issue presents papers that draw together recent insights about historical cognition from several social psychologists. Early psychologists such as G. Stanley Hall, Wilhelm Wundt, and Sigmund Freud described histories of “civilization” to explain adult human rationality in European and American cultures of their times. Enthusiasm for experimental methods and individual research subjects quickly widened the gap between psychological and historical explanation. Frederick Bartlett’s (1932) investigations of serial memory aimed to understand how collective memories might be sustained in cultures, but they also signaled a parting of the ways between experimental psychology and social anthropology in Britain. Psychology has since often been viewed as wedding historical scholarship—for better or worse—to theories of the individual subject, as when psychologist Lewis Terman (1941) called on historians to look to IQ tests not texts as their raw materials, or when William Langer asked the American Historical Association in 1958 to integrate psychoanalysis into historical scholarship (Runyan, 1988). Fischer (1970) looked to psychologist David McClelland’s understanding of power motives to imagine a historian’s logic without obvious fallacies. The “subjects” that psychology has offered to seduce historians’ engagement illustrate the history of both disciplines, and position our attempt at recent advances in historical cognition here, which was supported by European Cooperation in Science and Technology through COST Action IS 1205: Social psychological dynamics of historical representations in the enlarged European Union.

The full special issue can be found here.

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Andy Byford’s “The Imperfect Child in Early Twentieth-Century Russia”

A newly published article by Andy Byford (left) on “The imperfect child in early twentieth-century Russia” may be of interest to AHP readers. The article is currently available open access in the journal History of Education. The abstract reads,

The article discusses the role that conceptualisations of child ‘imperfection’ played in the rise and fall of Russian ‘child study’ between the 1900s and the 1930s. Drawing on Georges Canguilhem’s ideas on ‘the normal’ and ‘the pathological’, the article analyses practices centred on diagnosing subnormality and pathology in the Russian child population in the late tsarist and early Soviet eras. It first examines mutually competing normative regimes that framed categorisations of ‘imperfection’ among Russia’s children in the context of the empire’s accelerated, yet ambivalent modernisation during the 1900s–1910s. It then charts the expansion of this diagnostics in the first decade or so of the Soviet regime, following its shift in focus from the early-1920s’ ‘delinquent child’ to the late-1920s’ ‘mass child’. The article concludes with a discussion of the emergence, over this same period, of the Russian field of medicalised special education known as ‘defectology’. It argues that defectology’s disciplinary specificity crystallised in 1936 around a purposely restrictive concept of ‘imperfection’, understood as individualised and clinically established pathological ‘impairment’. The latter conceptualisation became fixed at the height of Stalinism as a strategic counter to the expansive flux in which the diagnostics and conceptualisation of child ‘imperfection’ had otherwise been over the first three decades of the twentieth century in the context of the remarkable rise of child study during this period.

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July 17th BPS/UCL Talk “Visual Illusions, Mescaline and Psychopharmacology: Heinrich Klüver’s Form Constants”

The British Psychological Society‘s History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines, has announced the next talk in its summer seminar series. On Monday July 17th Jelena Martinovic will be presenting “Visual Illusions, Mescaline and Psychopharmacology: Heinrich Klüver’s Form Constants.” Full details below.

Monday 17th July

Dr Jelena Martinovic (Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL)

‘Visual Illusions, Mescaline and Psychopharmacology: Heinrich Klüver’s Form Constants’

Mescaline, the chemical compound of peyote, attracted the interest of Western scientists since the late 19th century, among them Heinrich Klu?ver (1897–1967). A German emigre?, Klu?ver introduced gestalt psychology and the pharmacological tradition of experimenting with psychoactive drugs to the United States in the 1920s. Klu?ver became interested in mescaline for its effects on visual perception and claimed that the substance helps to articulate mechanisms of hallucination. In my talk, I will take up Klu?ver’s brain scientific quest to catalogue visual illusions to question the extent to which his work can elucidate the interrelations of psychopharmacology and the human sciences in the first half of the 20th century. More generally, I will explore how the exemplary focus on visuality, which characterises mescaline research in its constituting years, offers a framework to understand the dissemination of expressive forms in fields such as art therapy, psychopathology and creativity research.

Tickets/registration: https://visual illusions.eventbrite.co.uk

Location:
SELCS Common Room (G24)
Foster Court
Malet Place
University College London

Time: 18:00-19:30

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New (Free!) Book: Stress in Post-War Britain

The recently published volume Stress in Post-War Britain (edited by Mark Jackson) is now available for free download. The volume is described as follows:

Adopting a wide range of sources, methods and perspectives, contributors to this volume collectively challenge simplistic narratives of stress and distress in post-war Britain. Tracing the language, concepts and experiences of stress through the post-war decades, the chapters explore the manner in which work and home, as well as war and peace, dictated patterns of mental and physical health. They reveal how employers and doctors, as well as employees and patients, measured and disputed the relative impact of external circumstances and individual temperament on the capacity to adapt to social and cultural change, how normative accounts of masculine strength and feminine frailty determined how men and women were seen to cope with stress, and how scientific investigations of mind and body were integrated into a complex model of disease that has continued to prescribe approaches to health and happiness well into the twenty-first century.

Contents

Stress in Post-War Britain: An Introduction – Mark Jackson

Part I: Stress at Home and Work  

From War to Peace: Families Adapting to Change – Pamela Richardson

Families, Stress and Mental Illness in Devon, 1940s to 1970s – Nicole Baur

Gender, Stress and Alcohol Abuse in Post-War Britain – Ali Haggett

Working Too Hard: Experiences of Worry and Stress in Post-War Britain – Jill Kirby

Industrial Automation and Stress, c.1945–79 – Sarah Hayes

Cultural Change, Stress and Civil Servants’ Occupational Health, c.1967–85 – Debbie Palmer 95

Part II: Models of Stress

Men and Women under Stress: Neuropsychiatric Models of Resilience during and after the Second World War – Mark Jackson

Stomach for the Peace: Psychosomatic Disorders in UK Veterans and Civilians, 1945–55 – Edgar Jones

Food Allergy, Mental Illness and Stress since 1945 – Matthew Smith

Labouring Stress: Scientific Research, Trade Unions and Perceptions of Workplace Stress in Mid-Twentieth-Century Britain – Joseph Melling

Creating ‘The Social’: Stress, Domesticity and Attempted Suicide Notes Index – Chris Millard

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BPS Stories of Psychology “Women in Psychology: From Invisibility to Influence”

On Thursday October 19th the British Psychological Society is holding its 7th annual Stories of Psychology event, this year on the theme of “Women in Psychology: From Invisibility to Influence.” The event marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the BPS Psychology of Women Section. To register for this all day event click here. Full details follow below.

Women in Psychology: From Invisibility to Influence
A BPS Flagship Event

In conjunction with BPS History & Philosophy of Psychology Section

Thursday 19th October 2017, 10.30am–4.30pm

The seventh annual Stories of Psychology public event on aspects of the history of psychology takes its theme this year as ‘Women in Psychology’. 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the BPS Psychology of Women Section, and we are pleased to have collaborated with the Section to produce the programme for the day.

The event is aimed at a general audience so will be of interest not only to psychologists and historians but also to anyone with an interest in women’s issues and social history.

Speakers include:
Professor Elizabeth Valentine (Royal Holloway)
Dr Katherine Hubbard (University of Surrey)
Dr Nick Midgley (Anna Freud Centre)
Professor Jan Burns (Canterbury Christ Church University)
Professor Dame Vicki Bruce (Newcastle University)
Interview with Susie Orbach (psychotherapist and writer)

There will also be panel discussions and the launch of Senate House Library’s travelling exhibition ‘Pioneer Women Psychologists at the University of London’.

The registration fee includes welcome refreshments and a light buffet lunch.

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