The British Psychological Society‘s History of Psychology Centre held their now annual Stories of Psychology Symposium last month. Video from the symposium, which this year was dedicated to the subject of “Clinically Applied: Origins of a Profession,” is now online. The first of five videos from the symposium is featured above. Full details on the event follow below.
2015 – Clinically Applied: Origins of a Profession
Held on Wednesday 14 October 2015 at the Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Convened by Professor John Hall (Oxford Brookes University)
The topic of this year’s symposium was chosen as a curtain raiser for the start of the 50th anniversary year of the BPS Division of Clinical Psychology (DCP) in 2016. It looks forward to the Golden Anniversary by looking back at the development of clinical psychology as a profession, a history that reaches back beyond the foundation of the DCP in 1966.
The four main speakers are all contributors to Clinical Psychology in Britain: Historical Perspectives edited by John Hall, Graham Turpin and David Pilgrim, which is due to be published by the History of Psychology Centre in December 2015.
Emeritus Professor Bill Yule (Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London)
‘Clinical Psychology: The Early Days, 1939-1963’
Dr Jennifer Clegg (University of Nottingham)
‘Four Lensmakers: Jack Tizard, Ann and Alan Clark, Peter Mittler’
Dr Anne Richardson (formerly of University College London and Department of Health)
‘Growing Pains and Pleasures: Psychology, Government and the Profession’s Health’
Professor Bob Woods (Bangor University)
‘Dementia in the 20th Century: Discovering the Person Behind the Label’
Dr Saima Lofgren (Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust) will make a short presentation on the emergence of cultural concerns in clinical psychology.
Since at least the 13th century, artists have been fascinated by insanity. There are literally hundreds of images, most stylised and stereotypic, of ‘madness’ and ‘the madman’ (or woman). When asylums spread across 19th-century Europe, providing a captive population of mad people, artists began to use actual patients as models for their drawings and paintings. These images are often less extreme than earlier portraits, but their typically grotesque emotionality is just as dehumanising.
Patients are treated as specimens, devoid of any context, like tumour cells in a pathology manual. Even in the works of progressive physicians like Pinel or Esquirol, madness is depicted as brutality or as generalised deterioration. Esquirol’s particular interest in pathological types influenced the thinking of generations of psychiatrists and reduced the patient’s whole life to one main symptom (e.g. mania). Of course, today we take this idea far more literally than Esquirol did in the 1830s – current images of madness don’t even show the person, just their hypothesised brain defect.
The 2015 volume of special topic publication Osiris is now available and dedicated to the theme of “Scientific Masculinities.” Among the plethora of interesting pieces in the issue, is one specifically on the history of psychology: “Maintaining Masculinity in Mid-Twentieth-Century American Psychology: Edwin Boring, Scientific Eminence, and the ‘Woman Problem'” by Alexandra Rutherford. The abstract reads,
Using mid-twentieth-century American psychology as my focus, I explore how scientific psychology was constructed as a distinctly masculine enterprise and was navigated by those who did not conform easily to this masculine ideal. I show how women emerged as problems for science through the vigorous gatekeeping activities and personal and professional writings of disciplinary figurehead Edwin G. Boring. I trace Boring’s intellectual and professional socialization into masculine science and his efforts to understand women’s apparent lack of scientific eminence, efforts that were clearly undergirded by preexisting and widely shared assumptions about men’s and women’s capacities and preferences.
The December 2015 issue of History of Psychiatry is now online. Articles in this issue explore multiaxial assessment in the DSM-III, electroconvulsive therapy, and veridical hallucinations in France, among other topics. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“Félix Voisin and the genesis of abnormals,” by Claude-Olivier Doron. The abstract reads,
This article traces the genealogy of the category of ‘abnormals’ in psychiatry. It focuses on the French alienist Felix Voisin (1794–1872) who played a decisive role in the creation of alienist knowledge and institutions for problem children, criminals, idiots and lunatics. After a presentation of the category of ‘abnormals’ as understood at the end of the nineteenth century, I identify in the works of Voisin a key moment in the concept’s evolution. I show how, based on concepts borrowed from phrenology and applied first to idiocy, Voisin allows alienism to establish links between the medico-legal (including penitentiary) and medical-educational fields (including difficult childhood). I stress the extent to which this enterprise is related to Voisin’s humanism, which claimed to remodel pedagogy and the right to punish on the anthropological particularities of individuals, in order to improve them.
A call for papers has been issued for a research symposium on alcohol consumption across cultures that will take place at St. Anne’s College, Oxford at the end of June, 2016. Full details follow below.
Alcohol flows across cultures: Drinking cultures in transnational and comparative perspective
Wednesday 29 June 2016 – Thursday 30 June 2016
Location: St Anne’s College, Oxford
International Research Symposium
Alcohol consumption is currently seen as a major public health hazard across the globe. The medicalisation of alcohol use has become a prominent discourse that guides policy makers and impacts public perceptions of alcohol and drinking. This symposium intends to map the historical and cultural dimension of these phenomena and to trace the development of changing attitudes to consumption and historical and contemporary representations of alcohol and drinking in different regions, from the pre-modern to the postcolonial period. Emphasis is on the connected histories of different regions and populations across the globe in terms of their consumption patterns, government policies, economics and representations of alcohol and drinking. This transnational perspective facilitates an understanding of the local, transnational and global factors that have had a bearing on alcohol consumption and legislation and on the emergence of particular styles of ‘drinking cultures’. A comparative approach helps identify similarities, differences and crossovers between particular regions and pinpoint the parameters that shape alcohol consumption, policies and perceptions. The exploration of plural drinking cultures within any one particular region, their association with particular social groups, and their continuities and changes in the wake of wider global, colonial and postcolonial economic, political and social constraints and exchanges will be important dimensions of analysis.
Compensation for travel expenditure and local hospitality during the conference is aimed at but cannot be guaranteed. The closing date for abstracts (300 words) is 10 January 2016. Please indicate the primary source base of your contribution in your abstract, and clearly state your research questions, aims and arguments.
Contact for submission of abstracts and for inquiries:
Professor Waltraud Ernst, email@example.com
Professor David Foxcroft, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Society for the History of Psychology (SHP), Division 26 of the American Psychological Association, has issued a reminder of the submission deadline for their 2016 meeting. SHP will meet as part of the 2016 annual convention of the American Psychological Association, which will be held in Denver, Colorado, August 4-7, 2016. The full details follow below.
We welcome inclusive proposals for symposia, individual papers, posters, and conversation hours related to the history or historiography of psychology, or to the human sciences more generally. An award is given for best student paper.
Dr. James Lamiell’s Presidential Theme this year highlights the problem of the diminishing profile of graduate-level coursework in history and philosophy of psychology within the overall education of our Ph.D.s. Critical discussion of this state of affairs is encouraged (but not required).
The November 2015 issue of History of Psychology is now online. Articles in this issue explore forensic psychology in Germany, phrenology in Gilded Age America, and much more. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“Anthropophagy: A singular concept to understand Brazilian culture and psychology as specific knowledge,” by Arthur Arruda Leal Ferreira. The abstract reads,
The aim of this work is to present the singularity of the concept of anthropophagy in Brazilian culture. This article examines its use in the Modernist Movement of the 1920s and explores the possibilities it creates for thinking about Brazilian culture in nonidentitarian terms. We then use the concept of anthropophagy in a broader, practical sense to understand psychology as a kind of anthropophagical knowledge. We do so because in many ways the discipline of psychology is similar to Brazilian culture in its plurality and complexity.
““God save us from psychologists as expert witnesses”: The battle for forensic psychology in early twentieth-century Germany,” by Heather Wolffram. The abstract reads,
This article is focused on the jurisdictional battle between psychiatrists and psychologists over psychological expertise in legal contexts that took place during the first decades of the 20th century. Using, as an example, the debate between the psychologist William Stern, the psychiatrist Albert Moll, and the jurist Albert Hellwig, which occurred at the International Congress for Sexual Research held in Berlin in 1926, it aims to demonstrate the manner in which psychiatrists’ responses to psychologists’ attempts to gain admittance to Germany’s courtrooms were shaped not only by epistemological and methodological objections, but also by changes to expert witnessing that had already encroached on psychiatrists’ professional territory. Building upon recent work examining the relationship between psychologists and jurists prior to the First World War, this article also seeks to examine the role of judges and lawyers in the contest over forensic psychology in the mid-1920s, arguing that they ultimately became referees in the increasingly public disputes between psychiatrists and psychologists.
The Corrigible and the Incorrigible explores the surprising history of efforts aimed at rehabilitating convicts in 20th-century Germany, efforts founded not out of an unbridled optimism about the capacity of people to change, but arising from a chronic anxiety about the potential threats posed by others. Since the 1970s, criminal justice systems on both sides of the Atlantic have increasingly emphasized security, surveillance, and atonement, an approach that contrasts with earlier efforts aimed at scientifically understanding, therapeutically correcting, and socially reintegrating convicts. And while a distinction is often drawn between American and European ways of punishment, the contrast reinforces the longstanding impression that modern punishment has played out as a choice between punitive retribution and correctional rehabilitation. Focusing on developments in Nazi, East, and West Germany, The Corrigible and the Incorrigible shows that rehabilitation was considered an extension of, rather than a counterweight to, the hardline emphasis on punishment and security by providing the means to divide those incarcerated into those capable of reform and the irredeemable.
The October 2015 issue of Theory & Psychology is a special issue on “Unplugging the Milgram Machine.” Guest edited by Augustine Brannigan, Ian Nicholson, and Frances Cherry the issue includes a number of articles of interest to AHP readers. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“Introduction to the special issue: Unplugging the Milgram machine,” by Augustine Brannigan, Ian Nicholson, and Frances Cherry. The abstract reads,
The current issue of Theory & Psychology is devoted to Stanley Milgram and his contribution to the study of obedience. It presents a decidedly critical evaluation of these well-known experiments that challenges their relevance to our understanding of events such as the Holocaust. It builds on recent investigations of the Milgram archive at Yale. The discipline’s adulation of the obedience research overlooks several critical factors: the palpable trauma experienced by many participants, and the stark skepticism of the deceptive cover-story experienced by many others, Milgram’s misrepresentation of the way in which the prods were undertaken to ensure standardization, and his failure to de-brief the vast majority of participants. There is also the cherry-picking of findings. The project was whitewashed in the film, Obedience, prepared by Milgram to popularize his conclusions. The articles contributed for this issue offer a more realistic assessment of Milgram’s contribution to knowledge.
reassesses the seminal work of Wilhelm Wundt by discussing the history and philosophy of psychology. It traces the pioneering theorist’s intellectual development and the evolution of psychology throughout his career. The author draws on little-known sources to situate psychological concepts in Wundt’s philosophical thought and address common myths and misconceptions relating to Wundt’s ideas. The ideas presented in this book show why Wundt’s work remains relevant in this era of ongoing mind/brain debate and interest continues in the links between psychology and philosophy.