All posts by Jacy Young

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Surrey in the UK. She completed her doctorate in the History and Theory of Psychology at York University in 2014.

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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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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Sept 26th Conference: “Psychiatry and Other Cultures: A Historical Perspective”

As part of Mental Health Week events in Reggio Emilia, Italy the Museum for the History of Psychiatry is holding a one-day conference on “Psychiatry and Other Cultures: A Historical Perspective.” The conference will take September 26th, 2015. The full program and registration details follow below.

“Psychiatry and other cultures: A historical perspective”
September 26th 2015
Museum for the history of psychiatry
Via Amendola, 2- Padiglione Lombroso
Reggio Emilia

H 8.30 Participants registration

H 9.00
Welcome address Gaddomaria Grassi

H 9.30
Opening session Luigi Benevelli

H 10.00
The “Devereux case” in the history of ethnopsychiatry, Alessandra Cerea

Transcultural psychiatry, decolonization and nationalism: Comparisans between Nigeria and India, Matthew M. Heaton

Beyond colonial psychiatry? The indigenization of psychiatry of British India, 1900-1940, Waltraud Ernst

Psychiatry in the ltalian colanies of Africa, Marianna Scarfone

H 12.00 Conference conclusion
Epistemology of Cultural Psychiatry, German E. Berrios

H 13.00
Questions and discussions

For info and registration send an e-mail at:

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Call for Submissions: 2016 Cheiron Book Prize, Deadline Oct. 15

Cheiron, the International Society for the History of the Behavioral and Social Sciences, is currently calling for submissions for the 2016 Cheiron Book Prize. The deadline for submissions has been extended by two weeks; books must now be received by October 15, 2015. The prize will be awarded at 2016 Annual Meeting of Cheiron in Barcelona, Spain.  Full details follow below.

2016 Cheiron BOOK PRIZE

Beginning in 2004, Cheiron: The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences has awarded the Cheiron Book Prize biennially for an outstanding monograph in the history of the social/behavioral/human sciences. For more on Cheiron, including past Book Prize winners, see

Eligible works for the 2016 Cheiron Book Prize include original book-length historical studies, written in English and published in 2013, 2014, or 2015. Topical areas can include, but are not limited to, histories of psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, sociology, and social statistics. Works that are primarily history of medicine or history of education are not suitable entries, unless they are strongly tied to the history of the social/behavioral/human sciences. Edited collections or anthologies are not eligible, nor are conventional textbooks. Submissions will be judged on the basis of their scholarly character, depth of research, and the importance of their contribution to the field. Submissions can be made by publishers or authors.

Deadline: Two copies of each entry must be received by the committee chair (address below) by October 15, 2015. Books that are released later in 2015 can be eligible for the next competition; only printed books are eligible.

The author of the winning book will receive $500 plus up to $300 in travel expenses to attend the 2016 Annual Meeting of Cheiron in Barcelona, Spain, where the prize will be awarded. Remote-electronic presentation may be arranged, if possible, for a winner who cannot make the meeting. Announcement of the award will be widely circulated to relevant journals and organizations.

To enter the competition, two copies of each entry, clearly labeled “2016 Cheiron Book Prize,” must be mailed directly to the committee chair:
Phyllis Wentworth
27 Tanager Street
Arlington, MA  02476

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CfP: Joint BPS HPP Section & UK Critical Psychiatry Network Conference

The British Psychological Society‘s History & Philosophy of Psychology Section, together with the UK Critical Psychiatry Network, has issued a call for submissions to their Annual Conference. The conference will take place at Leeds Trinity University March 22nd and 23rd, 2016. Paper submissions are due December 18th 2015 and poster submissions January 17th 2016. The full call for papers follows below.

The British Psychological Society’s History & Philosophy of Psychology Section in collaboration with the UK Critical Psychiatry Network invites submissions for its 2016 Annual Conference to be held at Leeds Trinity University 22nd-23rd March.

The theme of the conference is the history of mental health, with keynote addresses from Professor Gail Hornstein (Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts) and Dr. Joanna Moncrieff (University College London). Papers are invited in related areas such as clinical psychology, psychiatry, service users, resistances to psychiatry, critical perspectives and interventions.

Who is the Conference intended for?
Academics (psychology, philosophy, medicine, history, sociology), clinicians (mental health), mental health service users/carers, postgraduate students.

The conference is open to independent and professional scholars in all relevant fields, not just Section or British Psychological Society members.


Oral and Poster Submissions will be invited for this Conference. Individual papers or symposia in any area dealing with conceptual and historical issues in Psychology, broadly defined, are invited. We particularly welcome submissions in related areas to the theme of the conference, such as clinical psychology, psychiatry, service users, resistances to psychiatry, critical perspectives and interventions.


Four bursaries are available to those working with mental health charitable organisations, service user groups or carers’ groups. If you wish to apply for a bursary please contact Dr. Alison Torn on


Leeds Trinity University
Brownberrie Lane
West Yorkshire
LS18 5HD

22/03/2016 – 09:3023/03/2016 – 16:30
Contact Information:

This event is organised by the British Psychological Society and administered by
KC Jones conference&events Ltd, Tel: +44 (0)1332 224507

Submissions are invited for the History and Philosophy of Psychology Annual Conference 2016.

If you are interested in presenting an oral presentation at the conference then please make your submission by 16:00 Friday 18th December 2015.

If you are interested in presenting a poster at the conference then please make your submission by 23:59 Sunday 17th January 2016.

Further submission guidelines can be found here.

All presenters are expected to register and pay in advance at the appropriate rate.

If you have any queries whilst making your submission please contact us via the event hotline on 01332 224507.

Continue reading CfP: Joint BPS HPP Section & UK Critical Psychiatry Network Conference

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“Associationism Without Associative Links: Thomas Brown and the Associationist Project”

AHP readers may be interested in a forthcoming article in Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A. The article, now available online, explores Scottish philosopher Thomas Brown’s associationism and recasts the associationist tradition in psychology. Full details follow below.

“Associationism without associative links: Thomas Brown and the associationist project,” by Mike Dacey. The abstract reads,

There are two roles that association played in 18th–19th century associationism. The first dominates modern understanding of the history of the concept: association is a causal link posited to explain why ideas come in the sequence they do. The second has been ignored: association is merely regularity in the trains of thought, and the target of explanation. The view of association as regularity arose in several forms throughout the tradition, but Thomas Brown (1778–1820) makes the distinction explicit. He argues that there is no associative link, and association is mere sequence. I trace this view of association through the tradition, and consider its implications: Brown’s views, in particular, motivate a rethinking of the associationist tradition in psychology. Associationism was a project united by a shared explanandum phenomenon, rather than a theory united by a shared theoretical posit.

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The Role of Heredity in George Combe’s Phrenological Work

The September issue of The British Journal for the History of Science includes a piece that may be of interest to AHP readers: “Phrenology, heredity and progress in George Combe’s Constitution of Man” by Bill Jenkins.  The abstract follows below.

The Constitution of Man by George Combe (1828) was probably the most influential phrenological work of the nineteenth century. It not only offered an exposition of the phrenological theory of the mind, but also presented Combe’s vision of universal human progress through the inheritance of acquired mental attributes. In the decades before the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species, the Constitution was probably the single most important vehicle for the dissemination of naturalistic progressivism in the English-speaking world. Although there is a significant literature on the social and cultural context of phrenology, the role of heredity in Combe’s thought has been less thoroughly explored, although both John van Wyhe and Victor L. Hilts have linked Combe’s views on heredity with the transformist theories of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. In this paper I examine the origin, nature and significance of his ideas and argue that Combe’s hereditarianism was not directly related to Lamarckian transformism but formed part of a wider discourse on heredity in the early nineteenth century.

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