The Monitor on research directions @ The Kinsey Institute

2015-10-kinsey_tcm7-192230The latest edition of Monitor on Psychology includes a short piece by Rebecca Clay about the history and current status of psychological work at The Kinsey Institute, offering those in the field an opportunity to touch base with the work that is being done there.

Info from Drucker’s 2014 volume is used to establish how the institute’s inception and early work relates to, and differs from, its recent research directions and expansion of focus to include work on relationships as well as sexuality. Their research programs on condom usage, sex and immunity, and the impact of technology on communication in sexual relations are featured.

Read the article, with more details about the relevant researchers and administration of the institute, here.

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Sandra Harding interview on News Books in Sci, Tech, & Soc

9780226241364New Books in Science, Technology, and Society‘s Carla Nappi recently interviewed Sandra Harding about her volume Objectivity and Diversity: Another Logic of Scientific Research (University of Chicago Press, 2015).

From the back of the book:

Harding calls for a science that is both more epistemically adequate and socially just, a science that would ask: How are the lives of the most economically and politically vulnerable groups affected by a particular piece of research? Do they have a say in whether and how the research is done? Should empirically reliable systems of indigenous knowledge count as “real science”? Ultimately, Harding argues for a shift from the ideal of a neutral, disinterested science to one that prizes fairness and responsibility.

In the podcast Harding discusses her personal background to the program of research which led to the book, as well as touching on the themes of the volumes’ various chapters: the relevant socio-political conditions for the current positivist and secularist conceptualizations of scientific objectivity within the philosophy of science; the development of research fields in science studies which have provided critical perspectives thereof; strategies for engaging in her ‘stronger’ objectivity that can provide resources for identifying how values and perspectives constitute what research is undertaken, how it is undertaken, and the conclusions we derive from it; and arguments for a pluralistic definition of science that validates ways of knowing that have traditionally been marginalized. In conclusion she provides an introduction to her latest research on postcolonialist science and technology studies in relation to Latin America.

Find Nappi’s interview here.

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New HHS: Sleep Laboratories, Psychiatry in Penguin Books, & More

The October 2015 issue of History of the Human Sciences is now online. Articles in this issue explore participant observation in a sleep laboratory (right), publications on psychiatric topics in Penguin Books, and social scientific representations of consumer debt. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“On a not so chance encounter of neurophilosophy and science studies in a sleep laboratory,” by Nicolas Langlitz. The abstract reads,

This article was inspired by participant observation of a contemporary collaboration between empirically oriented philosophers of mind and neuroscientists. An encounter between this anthropologist of science and neurophilosophers in a Finnish sleep laboratory led to the following philosophical exploration of the intellectual space shared by neurophilosophy and science studies. Since these fields emerged in the 1970s, scholars from both sides have been visiting brain research facilities, but engaged with neuroscientists very differently and passionately fought with each other over the reduction of mind to brain. As a case in point, this article looks at the philosophical controversy over the dreaming brain. It serves as a window on the problem space opened up by the demise of positivist conceptions of science, now inhabited by both neurophilosophy and science studies. Both fields face the problem of how to bridge the gap between empirical research and conceptual work. At a time when ontological speculation has made a comeback in these areas of research, studies on how epistemic objects manifest themselves in the material culture of neuroscience could help neurophilosophers to become better materialists. In the sleep laboratory, however, the materiality of dreams continues to be elusive. In dreaming science studies and neurophilosophy encounter a phenomenon that – at least in 2015 – still invites a positivist rather than a materialist attitude.

“Debt, consumption and freedom: Social scientific representations of consumer credit in Anglo-America,” by Donncha Marron. The abstract reads, Continue reading New HHS: Sleep Laboratories, Psychiatry in Penguin Books, & More

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AHA Online Calendar

FYI, the American Historical Association’s website includes a handy dandy calendar tool that provides a chronology of wide-ranging relevant content for those interested in the happenings of the historical discipline more broadly. Included are meetings and seminars, exhibitions and interpretive resources, as well as awards and fellowships.

Follow this link to check it out!

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Care in Context: Collaborative Article from York Workshop

home_coverAn interdisciplinary collaborative work has been published in the Social Studies of Science Journal by graduate students out of our institution (York University) and San Francisco State University as a product of a 2012 Situating Science workshop here at York on the Politics of Care in Technoscience.

Titled ‘Care in Context: Becoming an STS Researcher,’ the authors forward a contextualized approach to the definition of care with emphasis on how it can inform research in science and technology studies. The abstract is as follows, and find the text here:

This collaborative article, written by graduate students who attended the Politics of Care in Technoscience Workshop, brings the themes in this volume to bear on their own developing science and technology study projects and research practices. Exploring the contours of five specific moments where questions of care have arisen in the course of their everyday research, they do not find a single or untroubled definition of care; instead, care is often a site of ambivalence, tension, and puzzlement. However, despite this uneasiness, they argue that taking the time to reflect on the multiple, sometimes conflicting, forms and definitions of care within a specific research context can inform the way that science and technology studies scholars envision and conduct their work.

Authored by:

Melissa Atkinson-Graham: Department of Anthropology, York University

Martha Kenney: Women and Gender Studies Department, San Francisco State University

Kelly Ladd, Cameron Michael Murray, Emily Astra-Jean Simmonds: Department of Science and Technology Studies, York University

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New Article: “Hall’s developmental theory and Haeckel’s recapitulationism”

Forthcoming in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology is an article by AHP’s Christopher Green exploring the relationship between American psychologist G. Stanley Hall’s developmental theory and the work of Ernst Haeckel (right) on recapitualtionism. Full details follow below.

“Hall’s developmental theory and Haeckel’s recapitulationism,” by Christopher D. Green. The abstract reads,

G. Stanley Hall was one of the leading American psychologists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He is best known today for his administrative accomplishments—founding the first psychology research laboratory in the US, launching the American Journal of Psychology and other journals, presiding over Clark University, and assembling the American Psychological Association, among other things. In his time, though, he was also well known for his pioneering work in what came to be called developmental psychology. The theoretical foundation of this research was the recapitulationist evolutionary theory of his contemporary, Ernst Haeckel. Whereas Haeckel proposed that the embryonic development of each organism follows the evolutionary history of its species, Hall argued that the postnatal developmental path of the child’s mind and behaviour follows the evolutionary path of the human species as a whole. Thus, according to Hall, children are psychologically similar to “primitive” humans, and “primitive” humans are psychologically akin to our children of today. This article explores the relationship between Hall’s work and Haeckel’s.

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New Book: Under the Strain of Color: Harlem’s Lafargue Clinic and the Promise of an Antiracist Psychiatry

Gabriel N. Mendes, an Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies and of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of California, San Diego, has a new book out: Under the Strain of Color: Harlem’s Lafargue Clinic and the Promise of an Antiracist Psychiatry. As described on the Cornell University Press website,

In Under the Strain of Color, Gabriel N. Mendes recaptures the history of a largely forgotten New York City institution that embodied new ways of thinking about mental health, race, and the substance of citizenship. Harlem’s Lafargue Mental Hygiene Clinic was founded in 1946 as both a practical response to the need for low-cost psychotherapy and counseling for black residents (many of whom were recent migrants to the city) and a model for nationwide efforts to address racial disparities in the provision of mental health care in the United States.

The result of a collaboration among the psychiatrist and social critic Dr. Fredric Wertham, the writer Richard Wright, and the clergyman Rev. Shelton Hale Bishop, the clinic emerged in the context of a widespread American concern with the mental health of its citizens. It proved to be more radical than any other contemporary therapeutic institution, however, by incorporating the psychosocial significance of antiblack racism and class oppression into its approach to diagnosis and therapy.

Mendes shows the Lafargue Clinic to have been simultaneously a scientific and political gambit, challenging both a racist mental health care system and supposedly color-blind psychiatrists who failed to consider the consequences of oppression in their assessment and treatment of African American patients. Employing the methods of oral history, archival research, textual analysis, and critical race philosophy, Under the Strain of Color contributes to a growing body of scholarship that highlights the interlocking relationships among biomedicine, institutional racism, structural violence, and community health activism.

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Sept 28 BPS/UCL History of the Psychological Disciplines Talk!

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 first talk in their Autumn seminar series. On Monday September 28th Gaia Domenici will speak on “‘Crush the head of the serpent and it will bite you in the heel’: Jung’s understanding of Nietzsche’s Zarathustra in light of his own Liber Novus.” Full details can be found here. The abstract reads,

In 1934–1939, Jung analysed Nietzche’s Zarathustra in a seminar given at the Psychological Club in Zurich. His interpretation has been controversial and strongly criticised by Nietzsche scholars, but to date, it has not been studied in the light of his own recently published ‘Red Book’. This enables one to track the evolution of Jung’s engagement with Nietzsche and how he came to read Zarathustra as analogous to his own work. Obscure points of Jung’s later reading of Zarathustra can be explained in relation to his private experience as portrayed in Liber Novus. This is strikingly the case with his understanding of Zarathustra’s animals.


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New Article: “Why psychology isn’t unified, and probably never will be”

The lead article in the September issue of the Review of General Psychology is a piece by AHP’s Christopher Green (right) on the persistent issue of unification in psychology. In “Why psychology isn’t unified, and probably never will be” Green argues that unification is unlikely to ever occur within the discipline. The abstract reads,

Over the past few decades, a large literature has emerged on the question of how one might unify all or most of psychology under a single, coherent, rigorous framework, in a manner similar to that which unified physics under Newton’s Laws, or biology under Darwin’s theory of natural selection. It is argued here that this is a highly unlikely scenario in psychology given the contingent and opportunistic character of the processes that brought its original topics together into a new discipline, and the nearly continuous institutional, social, and even political negotiating and horse-trading that has determined psychology’s “boundaries” in the 14 decades since. Psychology, as the field currently stands, does not have the intellectual coherence to be brought together by any set of principles that would enable its phenomena to be captured and explained as rigorous products of those principles. If there is a kind of unification in psychology’s future, it is more likely to be one that, paradoxically, sees it broken up into a number of large “super subdisciplines,” each of which exhibits more internal coherence than does the current sprawling and heterogeneous whole.

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Round Up: Calls for Conference Papers in Allied Fields

arts-building-goals-page‘Tis the academic season and many associations have officially released the dates and locations for their 2016 annual meetings and are making their accompanied calls for papers. Find here a handy collection of some conferences from various disciplines of interest to those who work on the history of psychology and related subjects:

  • 3 Societies Meeting: 8th Joint Conference of the BSHS, CSHPS, and HSS

University of Alberta ~ Edmonton, Canada

June 22-25, 2016

Proposal Submission Deadline: December 7, 2015 

“The theme of the meeting will by ‘Transitions’.  Although presenters are not confined to this theme, the Program Committee is seeking papers or sessions that reflect this theme and encourages participants to consider the broader scientific, scholarly and social implications associated with moments of transition in the sciences.

The Programme Committee welcomes proposals for sessions or individual papers based around the conference theme from researchers at all stages of their careers. Participation is in no way limited to members of the three organising societies, but there will be a discount for members.  Intending participants should also note that the usual HSS rules concerning presenting at successive conferences do not apply to this meeting.”

Complete details on the program and conference available here.

Continue reading Round Up: Calls for Conference Papers in Allied Fields

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