Category Archives: General

UCL/BPS Talk Dec 12: Arthur Eaton “History Telling: Writing a Biography of Psychohistory”

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 autumn seminar series. On Monday December 12th Arthur Eaton (left) will be speaking on “History telling: writing a biography of psychohistory.” Full details follow below.

Monday 12 December 2016

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

Time: 18:00-19:30

Speaker: Arthur Eaton (UCL)

Seminar title: History telling: A biography pf psychohistory

In June 1976 the American Psychiatric Association published a document entitled The Psychiatrist as Psychohistorian. In that report, a committee investigated the dangers – including the threat to United States national security – of a phenomenon called psychohistory. What is psychohistory? Why is it relatively unknown today? In this presentation, I will explore these questions and argue that psychohistory is best conceived of as an interdiscipline – born out of the marriage between two ‘parent’ disciplines: psychoanalysis and history. I will discuss the ‘rise and fall’ of the psychohistorical movement, highlight the conceptual difficulties of a hybrid discipline, and speak about my own search for psychohistory.

 

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New History of Psychiatry: DSM, Phrenology, War Psychiatry, & More

The December 2016 issue of History of Psychiatry is now online. Articles in this issue explore psychiatric classification in the DSM, Italian colonial psychiatry, the phrenological studies of skulls, and more. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Italian colonial psychiatry: Outlines of a discipline, and practical achievements in Libya and the Horn of Africa,” by Marianna Scarfone. The abstract reads,

This article describes the establishment of psychiatry in Italy’s former colonies during the period 1906–43, in terms of the clinical and institutional mechanisms, the underlying theories and the main individuals involved. ‘Colonial psychiatry’ (variously called ‘ethnographic’, ‘comparative’ or ‘racial’ psychiatry) – the object of which was both to care for mentally afflicted colonists and local people and also to understand and make sense of their pathologies – received most attention in colonial Libya, starting in the first months of the Italian occupation (1911–12) and then taking institutional form in the 1930s; in the colonies of what was known as ‘Italian East Africa’, on the other hand, less was said about psychiatric care, and practical achievements were correspondingly limited.

“Natural kinds, psychiatric classification and the history of the DSM,” by Jonathan Y Tsou. The abstract reads, Continue reading New History of Psychiatry: DSM, Phrenology, War Psychiatry, & More

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NYT Review: ‘Labyrinths,’ Emma and Carl Jung’s Complex Marriage

The New York Times has reviewed a recent book exploring the marriage of Emma and Carl Jung: Labyrinths by Catrine Clay. In her review Jennifer Senior notes,

“Labyrinths” was well received when published in England this summer. Yet throughout the first half of the book, no matter how much I squinted, I could not discern why. The subject is rich, definitely, and Jungian analysis has a groovy, woo-woo sort of appeal. But Ms. Clay’s sourcing is thin. She devotes pages of filler to the glorious architecture of Middle Europe — sounding uncomfortably close to the sales pitch for a Viking River Cruise — and to the menu at the Jungs’ wedding, and to the wares of the Bahnhofstrasse, and to the costume of the day.

It all seems a clumsy attempt at trompe l’oeil, to give the illusion of depth. My l’oeil wasn’t tromped.
….
Perhaps most striking is how remarkably adaptable Emma was — and how familiar her predicament still feels. Any semi-sentient observer of American politics has a pretty good idea of what it’s like for a smart woman to bind her fortune to a charismatic man with a wandering eye, a fellow who creates a gravitational warp so pronounced that all objects go rolling in his direction.

And Emma, too, followed in her husband’s footsteps, which at the time made her a true pioneer. Eventually, at Carl’s urging, Emma underwent her own analysis. She became an analyst once their five children were grown. She lectured; she traveled with Carl to conferences; she wrote a book about the symbolism of the Holy Grail.

The full review can be read online here.

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Nov 19th Wellcome Library History of Psychiatry Beyond the Asylum Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

On November 19th Alice White,  Wikimedian in Residence at the Wellcome Library, is running a Wikepedia edit-a-thon to coincide with the Wellcome Collection‘s ongoing exhibit Bedlam: The Asylum and Beyond.  The event is free and open to the public. It will

…begin with a morning of talks on various aspects of the history of psychiatry and mental health, to provide some inspiration for the editing to come! After a break for lunch, we’ll dive into some wiki-training from Alice White, Wikimedian in Residence at the Wellcome Library, which will cover everything from to creating an account and to how to edit. After learning your way around and getting comfortable with editing, you will have the opportunity to develop articles on the history of psychiatry: there are lots of pages on institutions, groups and individuals (particularly women) that are missing or very brief, so there’s lots of scope for making some exciting improvements!

Complete beginners are welcome to attend, and no previous experience is necessary, though a little digital skill is needed – but if you can use Microsoft Word, you can edit Wikipedia. Participants should bring a laptop or tablet (or request one in advance when you sign up) – editing is much easier with a keyboard. If you’ve spotted an article that needs improving, bring along your queries and we’ll see what we can do to help!

Individuals are also welcome to join the event remotely. Full details are available here.

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UCL/BPS Talk Nov 21: Elizabeth Lunbeck on “Narcissism in the Age of Trump”

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 autumn term. On Monday November 21st Elizabeth Lunbeck (left) will speak on “Narcissism in the Age of Trump.” Full details follow below.

Monday 21 November 2016

Professor Elisabeth Lunbeck (Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts): “Narcissism in the Age of Trump”

How can we explain the improbable appeal of Donald Trump to a wide swath of the American populace? In this presentation, I propose that one explanation may be found in the ways in which he mobilises his narcissism – evident in his charisma and grandiosity as well as in a primitive inner world characterised by rage and envy – to connect to his followers and to effect their submission to him, holding out the promise of participating in his greatness. Drawing on psychoanalytic writings on malignant narcissism and on leadership, I offer a framework for beginning to understand his phenomenal rise.

Location: Institute of Advanced Studies, Common Ground, Ground Floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building, UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT

Time: 6-7:30pm

Registration is not required and for more information contact Professor Sonu Shamdasani at UCL (020 7679 8154).

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Call for Papers: Techniques of the Corporation, Toronto May 4-6, 2017

Call for Papers: Techniques of the Corporation
4-6 May 2017, University of Toronto

How do corporations know themselves and their world? Over the last 150 years, corporations, like universities and laboratories, have generated an abundance of knowledge-making techniques in the form of psychological test, efficiency technologies, scenario planning, and logistical systems. As dominant forms of the last century, corporations are assembled with instruments, infrastructures, and interventions that arrange and rearrange the dynamics of capitalism. These techniques of the corporation have filtered into our daily lives, influencing everyday understandings of self, inequality, environment, and society.

Techniques of the Corporation will assemble an interdisciplinary network of established and emerging scholars whose work contributes to the critical study of the techniques, epistemologies, and imaginaries of the 20th century corporation. This conference aims to foster a timely conversation between Science and Technology Studies (STS) approaches and the recent histories of capitalism. We treat the corporation in the same way that historians of science and STS scholars have approached science, colonialism, and militarism as generative sites for knowledge production, value-making, and technopolitics. The conference takes as its starting place North American corporations with the understanding that corporations are multinational forms with complex transnational histories. Building from the recent history of capitalism, we attend to the entangled genealogies of corporations with slavery, exploitation, environmental destruction, colonialism, and inequality.

Hosted by the Technoscience Research Unit at the University of Toronto, this event will be an intimate multi-day conversation between established and emerging scholars in the fields of STS, history of science, and the history of capitalism. Techniques of the Corporation will be headlined by keynote speaker Joseph Dumit, and features invited talks by Dan Bouk, Elspeth Brown, Deborah Cowen, Orit Halpern, Louis Hyman, Michelle Murphy, Martha Poon, and Elise Thorburn. The conference will be an immersive experience in the Greater Toronto Area with meals and cocktails provided.

We invite emerging and established scholars in diverse fields (including business history; labour history; anthropology; geography; economic sociology; media studies; critical race studies; architecture studies; feminist and sexuality studies; environmental studies; and cultural studies) to explore the techniques, epistemologies, and imaginaries of corporations. Our overall goal is to crystallize a new field, culminating in a field-defining publication. We welcome work on corporate practices that exceed calculative logics, such as work on  social relations, affective and psychological states, and speculative futurities.  In addition to traditional papers, the conference encourages creative methods to query corporate forms, including art installations, videos, interactive multimedia projects, and role-playing games. Applications for travel assistance will be arranged after acceptance.

Corporate practices, include, but are not limited to:

  • management
  • marketing
  • planning
  • infrastructure  logistics
  • gaming
  • racial surveillance
  • sharing economy
  • risk management
  • corporate responsibility
  • sustainability
  • corporate design
  • precarity
  • architecture
  • data management
  • corporate culture
  • consulting
  • research and development
  • intellectual property
  • affective labor
  • transnational capital

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words and a CV to the conference organizers (Justin Douglas, Bretton Fosbrook, Kira Lussier, and Michelle Murphy) at corporatetechniques@gmail.com by 13 January 2017.

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New HoP: Split-Brain Research, Vygotsky in Argentina, & More

Lev Vygotsky
Lev Vygotsky

The November 2016 issue of History of Psychology is now online. Articles in this issue explore split brain research, Vygotsky’s influence in Argentina, recent changes in Swedish psychology, and more. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“The other side of the brain: The politics of split-brain research in the 1970s–1980s,” by Michael E. Staub. The abstract reads,

In the course of the 1970s and 1980s, theories derived from neuropsychological research on the bisected brain came rapidly to achieve the status of common sense in the United States and Canada, inflecting all manner of popular and academic discussion. These theories often posited that the right hemisphere was the seat of creative expression, whereas the left hemisphere housed rationality and language. This article analyzes the political and cultural implications of theories about the split brain. Gender relations, educational reform, management theory, race relations, and countercultural concepts about self-expression all quickly came to be viewed through the lens of left-brain/right-brain neuropsychological research. Yet these theories were often contradictory. On the one hand, some psychophysiological experiments premised that the brain was inherently plastic in nature, and thus self-improvement techniques (like mindfulness meditation) could be practiced to unfurl the right hemisphere’s intuitive potentialities. On the other hand, other psychophysiological experiments concluded that Native Americans as well as African Americans and persons from “the East” appeared inherently to possess more highly developed right-brain talents, and therefore suffered in the context of a left-hemisphere-dominated Western society. In both instances, psychologists put neuroscientific research to political and social use. This article thus connects a story from the annals of the neurosciences to the history of psychological experimentation. It analyzes the critical impact that speculative ideas about the split brain were to have not only on the post-1960s history of psychology but also on what soon emerged after the 1990s as the social neuroscience revolution.

“Professional reinventions: Swedish psychologists, 1990–2010,” by Peter Skagius and Ann-Charlotte Münger. The abstract reads, Continue reading New HoP: Split-Brain Research, Vygotsky in Argentina, & More

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Osiris: History of Science and the Emotions

The 2016 edition of Osiris, the annual thematic journal of the History of Science Society, is now available. This year’s volume explores the “History of Science and the Emotions.” A number of articles may be of interest to AHP readers, including pieces on mother love and mental illness, panic disorder and psychopharmacological, and Emil Kraepelin’s work on affective disorders. The full titles, authors, and abstracts are provided below.

 

INTRODUCTION

“An Introduction to History of Science and the Emotions,” by Otniel E. Dror, Bettina Hitzer, Anja Laukötter, Pilar León-Sanz. The abstract reads,

This essay introduces our call for an intertwined history-of-emotions/history-of-science perspective. We argue that the history of science can greatly extend the history of emotions by proffering science qua science as a new resource for the study of emotions. We present and read science, in its multiple diversities and locations, and in its variegated activities, products, theories, and emotions, as constitutive of the norms, experiences, expressions, and regimes of emotions. Reciprocally, we call for a new reading of science in terms of emotions as an analytical category. Assuming emotions are intelligible and culturally learned, we extend the notion of emotion to include a nonintentional and noncausal “emotional style,” which is inscribed into (and can reciprocally be generated by) technologies, disease entities, laboratory models, and scientific texts. Ultimately, we argue that emotional styles interrelate with broader emotional cultures and thus can contribute to and/or challenge grand historical narratives.

SITUATING EMOTIONS
“Medieval Sciences of Emotions during the Eleventh to Thirteenth Centuries: An Intellectual History,” by Damien Boquet, Piroska Nagy. The abstract reads, Continue reading Osiris: History of Science and the Emotions

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CFP: 4th Annual Conference on the History of Recent Social Science, June 9-10, 2017

FOURTH ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON THE HISTORY OF RECENT SOCIAL SCIENCE (HISRESS)

Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

June 9-10, 2017

This two-day conference of the Society for the History of Recent Social Science (HISRESS) will bring together researchers working on the history of post-World War II social science. It will provide a forum for the latest research on the cross-disciplinary history of the post-war social sciences, including but not limited to anthropology, economics, psychology, political science, and sociology as well as related fields like area studies, communication studies, history, international relations, law and linguistics. We are especially eager to receive submissions that treat themes, topics, and events that span the history of individual disciplines.

The conference aims to build upon the recent emergence of work and conversation on cross-disciplinary themes in the postwar history of the social sciences. A number of monographs, edited collections, special journal issues, and gatherings at the École normale supérieure de Cachan, Duke University, Harvard University, the London School of Economics, New York University, the University of Toronto and elsewhere testify to a growing interest in the developments spanning the social sciences in the early, late, and post-Cold War periods. Most history of social science scholarship, however, remains focused on the 19th and early 20th centuries, and attuned to the histories of individual disciplines. Though each of the major social science fields now has a community of disciplinary historians, research explicitly concerned with cross-disciplinary topics remains comparatively rare. The purpose of the conference is to further encourage the limited but fruitful cross-disciplinary conversations of recent years.

Submissions are welcome in areas such as:

  • The uptake of social science concepts and figures in wider intellectual and popular discourses
  • Comparative institutional histories of departments and programs
  • Border disputes and boundary work between disciplines as well as academic cultures
  • Themes and concepts developed in the history and sociology of natural and physical science, reconceptualized for the social science context
  • Professional and applied training programs and schools, and the quasi-disciplinary fields (like business administration) that typically housed them
  • The role of social science in post-colonial state-building governance
  • Social science adaptations to the changing media landscape
  • The role and prominence of disciplinary memory in a comparative context

The two-day conference of the Society for the History of Recent Social Science, hosted by the Erasmus Institute for Public Knowledge in collaboration with theErasmus School of History, Culture and Communication and the Faculty of Social Sciences at Erasmus University Rotterdam, will be organized as a series of one-hour, single-paper sessions attended by all participants. Ample time will be set aside for intellectual exchange between presenters and attendees, as all participants are expected to read pre-circulated papers in advance.

Proposals should contain no more than 1000 words, indicating the originality of the paper. The deadline for receipt of abstracts is February 3, 2017. Final notification will be given in early March 2017 after proposals have been reviewed. Completed papers will be expected by May 15, 2017.

The organizing committee consists of

Jamie Cohen-Cole (George Washington University), Bregje van Eekelen (executive organizer, Erasmus University Rotterdam), Philippe Fontaine (École normale supérieure de Cachan), and Jeff Pooley (Muhlenberg College).

All proposals and requests for information should be sent to: hisress2017@gmail.com. For more information on the Society for the History of Recent Social Science (HISRESS), see www.hisress.org.

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“Bedlam: The Asylum & Beyond” at the Wellcome Collection

Now on at the Wellcome Collection in London is an exhibit on “Bedlam: The Asylum & Beyond.” The exhibit, which runs until January 15th 2017, is described on their website as follows:

Follow the rise and fall of the mental asylum and explore how it has shaped the complex landscape of mental health today. Reimagine the institution, informed by the experiences of the patients, doctors, artists and reformers who inhabited the asylum or created alternatives to it.

Today asylums have largely been consigned to history but mental illness is more prevalent than ever, as our culture teems with therapeutic possibilities: from prescription medications and clinical treatment to complementary medicines, online support, and spiritual and creative practices. Against this background, the exhibition interrogates the original ideal that the asylum represented – a place of refuge, sanctuary and care – and asks whether and how it could be reclaimed.

Taking Bethlem Royal Hospital as a starting point, ‘Bedlam: the asylum and beyond’ juxtaposes historical material and medical records with individual testimonies and works by artists such as David Beales, Richard Dadd, Dora García, Eva Kotátková, Madlove: A Designer Asylum, Shana Moulton, Erica Scourti, Javier Téllez and Adolf Wölfli, whose works reflect or reimagine the institution, as both a physical and a virtual space.

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