roundup of articles from allied fields

A few new works on related topics from spring issues that may pique the interest of our readership:

In Signs, a piece by Myrna Perez Sheldon titled Wild at Heart: How Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology Helped Influence the Construction of Heterosexual Masculinity in American Evangelicalism

Its abstract reads:

During the 1990s, American evangelical texts contended that men have a stronger sex drive than women and that this natural sexual aggression makes men better suited to leadership roles in marriage, church, and society. Although this theology, called complementarianism, had earlier roots in conservative Protestantism, the connection that evangelicals made between male sexuality and male leadership was influenced by the scientific fields of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology during the 1980s and 1990s. These fields argue that maleness is a genetic evolutionary strategy characterized by social competition and a strong, even aggressive, sex drive. Evangelicals drew upon this scientific model in their efforts to combat second-wave feminism within their communities and in the broader culture. They turned to biology as a defense against the so-called cultural claims of feminism. Significantly, the model that evangelicals drew on from research in sociobiology and evolutionary psychology helped shape the articulations of “natural” masculine behavior in popular Christian self-help books, dating manuals, and theological texts. This article builds on the body of feminist scholarship that has critiqued the evidence, models, and popular influence of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology. But it also urges the importance of analyzing the role of religious practices in the circulation and legitimation of scientific depictions of gender and sexuality.

Read more here.

In Social History of Medicine, by Julie Powell, the article Shock Troupe: Medical Film and the Performance of ‘Shell Shock’ for the British Nation at War

Its abstract reads:

In 1917, physician Arthur F. Hurst began filming the peculiar tics and hysterical gaits of ‘shell-shocked’ soldiers under his care. Editions of Hurst’s films from 1918 and 1940 survive. Cultural products of their time, I argue, the films engaged with contemporary ideas of class, gender and nation. The 1918 version reinforced class-based notions of disease and degeneracy while validating personal and national trauma and bolstering conceptions of masculinity and the nation that were critical to wartime morale and recovery efforts. The 1940 re-edit of the film engaged with the memory of the First World War by constructing a restorative narrative and by erasing the troubled years of gender crisis, ‘shell shock’ culture and class struggle to reassert masculine virtue and martial strength, essential for the prosecution of the Second World War.

Read the full thing here.

And not least, in History of Psychiatry, an article by authors Lois P. Rudnick and Alison Heru titled The ‘secret’ source of ‘female hysteria’: the role that syphilis played in the construction of female sexuality and psychoanalysis in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

Here is its abstract

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the unspoken fear of syphilis played a significant role in the development of beliefs about female sexuality. Many women were afraid of sexual relationships with men because they feared contracting syphilis, which was, at that time, untreatable. Women also feared passing this disease on to their children. Women’s sexual aversion, or repression, became a focus for Freud and his colleagues, whose theory of psychosexual development was based on their treatment of women. This article examines the case of Dora, the memoirs of Mabel Dodge Luhan and other sources to argue that the fear of syphilis was a significant factor in upper- and middle-class women’s avoidance of heterosexual relationships. The fear of syphilis, in turn, became a significant factor in the psychoanalytic construction of female sexuality. The social suppression of the fear of syphilis has had a profound impact on theories of women’s development. The implication for psychiatry is that our models of psychological development occur within a sociocultural milieu and cannot escape suppressed aspects of our culture.

Find the piece here.

 

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2017 Cheiron Book Prize: Susanna L. Blumenthal’s Law and the Modern Mind

Cheiron: The International Society for the History of the Behavioral and Social Sciences has announced their 2017 Book Prize winner. Congratulations to Susanna Blumenthal!

Cheiron awards the 2017 Cheiron Book Prize to Susanna L. Blumenthal (Julius E. Davis Professor of Law and Associate Professor of History at the University of Minnesota) for Law and the Modern Mind: Consciousness and Responsibility in American Culture (Harvard University Press, 2016). Dr. Blumenthal’s book contributes much to our understanding of the quandaries that lawyers and jurists faced and explored as they considered the appropriate legal relations between human activity and culpability, particularly over the course of the nineteenth century.

During the early years of the American republic, as the precedents following from inherited position fell away, jurists found themselves having to consider matters of standing, evidence, and responsibility in new ways. In doing so, they found that human subjectivity took on new consequences. Well into this process, Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote in 1894, “In a proper sense the state of a man’s consciousness always is material to his liability.” Relying on extensive knowledge of the primary sources (including routine civil and criminal cases), Blumenthal provides historians, psychologists, anthropologists, and other readers with an invigorated understanding of the emergence of refined notions of the individual (generally white men, at that time): they became singular legal persons, and there were circumstances by which such legal persons could be held culpable for their actions or culpability might be limited due to mental impairments of various sorts.

Blumenthal’s prose is lucid and subtle. Her exposition is both magisterial and thought-provoking. For example, the historical examination of the jurisprudence of insanity illuminates contemporary attitudes toward ‘others’—children, women, and slaves.

Members of the 2017 Cheiron Book Prize Committee: Jennifer Bazar, Elissa Rodkey, Gerald Sullivan (Chair), and Phyllis Wentworth.

The 2017 Cheiron Book Prize will be formally presented at the annual meeting of Cheiron, June 22-25, at Mississippi State University, Starkville.

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On the Passing of John Burnham

@APA 2009, a picture of “The Three JHBS Amigos,” as affectionately called by Chris Green. In addition to Raymond Fancher and John Burnham, their wives, Marjorie Burnham and Helena Fancher.

We’ve received sad notice that John Chynoweth Burnham passed away on May 12, 2017. With a doctorate in history from Stanford and a position at Ohio State from the early 60s through 2002 (and associations with numerous other institutions and organizations), Burnham was “a historian’s historian.” As a prolific author and editor, his historiographic interests varied broadly and were influential in a number of fields, but to us he is best known for his pioneering work in the history of psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and American health care. He served as president of the American Association for the History of Medicine from 1990-2, as editor of the Journal of the History of Behavioral Sciences from 1997-2000, and received Division 26’s Lifetime Achievement Award, among many other honours and awards throughout his career.

Read his full obituary here. A partial list of his full length publications can be found here.

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Reflecting on “Sandra Bem: Revolutionary and Generative Feminist Psychologist”

The May 2017 issue of Sex Roles is a special issue on “The Past, Present, and Future of Masculinity, Femininity and Gender: Honoring Feminist Scholar Sandra L. Bem (1944 – 2014), Part 1.” Details on contributions that may interest AHP readers follow below:

“Sandra Bem: Revolutionary and Generative Feminist Psychologist,” by Emily Keener and Clare Mehta. Abstract:

This introduction to The Past, Present, and Future of Masculinity, Femininity and Gender: Honoring Feminist Scholar Sandra L. Bem (1944–2014), Part 1 briefly highlights Sandra Bem’s career and provides an overview of each paper included in the first of two special issues. In doing so, we highlight how Sandra Bem’s works changed the way scholars understood gender and how much of Bem’s work continues to influence current day scholarship on gender.

“The Personal, Political, and Professional Life of Sandra Bem,” by Carla R. Golden and Maureen C. McHugh. Abstract: Continue reading Reflecting on “Sandra Bem: Revolutionary and Generative Feminist Psychologist”

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New History of Psychiatry: Religious Mania, Criminal Insanity, & More

The June 2017 issue of History of Psychiatry is now online. Articles in this issue explore the relationship between religion and madness, criminal insanity, paralysis of the insanity, female sexuality and syphilis, and more. Full details below.

“From a religious view of madness to religious mania: The Encyclopédie, Pinel, Esquirol,” by Philippe Huneman. Abstract:

This paper focuses on the shift from a concept of insanity understood in terms of religion to another (as entertained by early psychiatry, especially in France) according to which it is believed that forms of madness tinged by religion are difficult to cure. The traditional religious view of madness, as exemplified by Pascal (inter alia), is first illustrated by entries from the Encyclopédie. Then the shift towards a medical view of madness, inspired by Vitalistic physiology, is mapped by entries taken from the same publication. Firmed up by Pinel, this shift caused the abandonment of the religious view. Esquirol considered religious mania to be a vestige from the past, but he also believed that mental conditions carrying a religious component were difficult to cure.

“‘Shrouded in a dark fog’: Comparison of the diagnosis of pellagra in Venice and general paralysis of the insane in the United Kingdom, 1840–1900,” by Egidio Priani. Abstract: Continue reading New History of Psychiatry: Religious Mania, Criminal Insanity, & More

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NBN Interview: Tara Abraham’s Rebel Genius: Warren S. McCulloch’s Transdisciplinary Life in Science

New from New Books Network (NBN) is an interview with Tara Abraham on her recent book Rebel Genius: Warren S. McCulloch’s Transdisciplinary Life in ScienceAs the NBN describes,

Fueling his bohemian lifestyle and anti-authoritarian attitude with a steady diet of ice cream and whiskey, along with a healthy dose of insomnia, Warren Sturgis McCulloch is best known for his foundational contributions to cybernetics but led a career that spanned psychiatry, philosophy, neurophysiology, and engineering. Tara H. Abraham‘s new book Rebel Genius: Warren S. McCulloch’s Transdisciplinary Life in Science (MIT Press, 2016) is the first scholarly biography of this towering figure of twentieth century American science. Abrahams careful tracing of McCulloch’s broad disciplinary traverses is grounded in explication of heady theories and mathematical models of the brain. The growing historical scholarship on cybernetics rests on a curious threshold: its subject matter, rife with outsized personalities and uncannily forward-looking ideas, is ever poised to remain more ineluctably fascinating than scholarly analysis can render. Rather than attempting to beat the cyberneticians at their own game–self-consciously or not becoming participant observers in the reflexive system described by “second-order” cybernetics–this rich portrait offers pointed and entertaining insight into the role of style, sociability, and mentorship in twentieth century scientific life.

The full interview can be heard online here.

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New Articles: Jealousy, Madness, and Murder & Shell Shock on Film

The May 2017 issue of Social History of Medicine includes two articles that may be of interest to AHP readers. The first piece explores cases of jealousy, madness, and murder in the context of admissions to the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum; the second describes how two editions of shell shock films differently incorporated notions about class, gender and nation. Titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“‘I am not very well I feel nearly mad when I think of you’: Male Jealousy, Murder and Broadmoor in Late-Victorian Britain,” by Jade Shepherd. Abstract:

This article compares the representations of jealousy in popular culture, medical and legal literature, and in the trials and diagnoses of men who murdered or attempted to murder their wives or sweethearts before being found insane and committed into Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum between 1864 and 1900. It is shown that jealousy was entrenched in Victorian culture, but marginalised in medical and legal discourse and in the courtroom until the end of the period, and was seemingly cast aside at Broadmoor. As well as providing a detailed examination of varied representations of male jealousy in late-Victorian Britain, the article contributes to understandings of the emotional lives of the working-class, and the causes and representations of working-class male madness.

“Shock Troupe: Medical Film and the Performance of ‘Shell Shock’ for the British Nation at War,” by Julie M. Powell. Abstract: Continue reading New Articles: Jealousy, Madness, and Murder & Shell Shock on Film

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“Historical Impact in Psychology Differs Between Demographic Groups”

Forthcoming from New Ideas in Psychology is an article reporting the results of the PsyBorg‘s historical psychologist rating game we previously reported on in 2016. As the article reports, “although …overall rankings had considerable similarity with traditional efforts, we also found that rankings differed markedly among different demographic groups, undermining the assumption of a general measure of eminence that is valid for all.” Full details below.

“Historical impact in psychology differs between demographic groups,” by Christopher D. Green & Shane M. Martin. Abstract:

Psychology has a long tradition of creating lists of the most eminent members of the discipline. Such lists are typically created under the assumption that there is a general answer to the question of eminence, covering all psychologists everywhere. We wondered, however, to what degree perceived eminence depends on the individual’s particular demographic situation. Specifically, are different historical figures “eminent” to people of different genders, ages, and geographical locations? We tested this by asking a wide swath of people – mostly psychologists – who they think has had the most impact on the discipline of psychology, historically. We used an online game in which “players” were shown a series of pairs of significant figures from psychology’s past and asked to select which had had the greater impact. We then converted these selections into a ranked list using the Elo rating system. Although our overall rankings had considerable similarity with traditional efforts, we also found that rankings differed markedly among different demographic groups, undermining the assumption of a general measure of eminence that is valid for all.

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“Finding Sarah: 49-Year Reunion With the Chimpanzee of David Premack’s Language Studies”

Forthcoming in the Review of General Psychology is a piece describing some of the earlylanguage research with the chimpanzee Sarah (above) in the late-1960s and an effort to locate Sarah today. Details below.

“Finding Sarah: 49-Year Reunion With the Chimpanzee of David Premack’s Language Studies,” by James N. Olson & Linda M. Montgomery. Abstract:

Sarah the chimpanzee was the primary participant in David Premack’s language studies initiated at University of California at Santa Barbara in 1967. The first author was an undergraduate assistant training Sarah from 1967 to 1969. This article describes some of the early work with Sarah and our recent search for her. Sarah’s whereabouts during the intervening years, and subsequent reunion with her in 2016 at Chimp Haven, a chimpanzee sanctuary in Louisiana, are described. It was found that despite her illness, Sarah engaged with the first author and demonstrated that she remembered him and the mechanics of the communication procedure that served as the foundation for testing Sarah’s cognitive reasoning abilities as they pertained to language. There was no evidence she remembered any of the 5 symbolic nouns that were presented during a matching-to-sample procedure. The authors expressed their gratitude to the staff at Chimp Haven for the excellent care of Sarah.

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New Articles: Washburn’s Cognitivism and Boring in the AJP

The Summer 2017 issue of The American Journal of Psychology is now available and includes two articles that may interest AHP readers. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Margaret F. Washburn in The American Journal of Psychology: A Cognitive Precursor?,” by José T. Boyano. The abstract reads,

In the early 20th century, Margaret F. Washburn (1871–1939) produced numerous studies on perception, affective value of stimulus, memory, emotions, and consciousness. This experimental work was published in The American Journal of Psychology. The purpose of this article is to analyze the temporal evolution of these kinds of experiments and relate them to Washburn’s theoretical production. Contrary to other views, Washburn’s experimental evolution follows a logical sequence and has a strong inner coherence. Among other reasons, the lack of a scientific and social framework to the study of the mind has tended to overshadow large areas of Washburn’s thought. However, both the work published in AJP and the methods used in experiments provide reasons to consider Washburn one of the precursors of contemporary cognitive psychology.

“Edwin G. Boring: The Historian’s Path in the Pages of The American Journal of Psychology,” by Shawn P. Gallagher. The abstract reads, Continue reading New Articles: Washburn’s Cognitivism and Boring in the AJP

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