Category Archives: General

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.



“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.

“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


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: For more information on the Society for the History of Recent Social Science (HISRESS), see

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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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One Day UCL Conference: “Towards Transcultural Histories of Psychotherapies”

A one day conference, “Towards Transcultural Histories of Psychotherapies,” will be held October 15th, 2016 at University College London. The conference is described as follows:

Suspended between science, medicine, religion, art and philosophy, the advent of modern psychotherapies represents one of the distinctive features of 20th-century Western societies, and they are increasing being exported to the rest of the world. However, their historical study glaringly lags behind their societal impact and the role they play in contemporary mental health policies. In recent years, a small but significant body of work has arisen studying histories of psychotherapies in discrete local contexts throughout the world, which is expanding and reframing our knowledge of them. However, little has been done to draw this work together within a comparative setting, and to chart the intersection of these connected histories and transcultural networks of exchange of knowledge and healing practices. This conference takes up these questions, through drawing together scholars working on histories of psychotherapies in Brazil, Europe, Japan, the UK and the US.

Registration information can be found here.

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Full Talks from “The Future of the History of the Human Sciences”

A number of audio recordings from the two day event “The Future of the History of the Human Sciences” held in April 2016 are now available online. The event was held to mark the passing of the editorship of History of the Human Sciences from James Good to Felicity Callard and had as its aim a consideration of the “changes wrought in the broad interdisciplinary field of the history of the human sciences by new developments in the medical humanities, biological sciences, and literary/cultural theory.” Among the talks available online are ones delivered by Roger Smith, Peter Mandler, and Steve Fuller. As History of the Human Sciences reports,

Thanks to the kind permission of many of those who took part, we can now also make available recordings of a number of the talks. Abstracts for each talk can be found here.

• Roger Smith, “Resisting Neurosciences and Sustaining History”

• Steve Fuller, “Kuhn’s Curse and the Crisis of the Human”

• Des Fitzgerald, “The commotion of the social”

• Maurizio Meloni, “The Social as the Non-Biological: Genealogy and Perspectives”

• Jessica Hendy, “Molecular Archives of Human History: Moving Beyond Text-Based Sources”

• Michael A. Finn, “Possibilities and Problems with the Growing Archive”

• Peter Mandler, “The Language of Social Science in Everyday Life: What it Does, How it Circulates, How to Track it”

• Amanda Rees “Biocultural Evolution Then and Now: The Brain in Environmental Context OR Counterfactualising the History of Biology and Sociology”

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Call for Submissions Cheiron 2017, Deadline January 15, 2017

Cheiron, the International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences, has issued a call for submissions for their 49th Annual Meeting to be held June 22, 25. Full details follow below.


Call for Papers: 49th Annual Meeting of Cheiron: The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Conference Date: June 22-25, 2017
Conference Location: Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS
Submission Due Date: January 15, 2017, 5pm EST

Papers, posters, symposia/panels, or workshops are invited for the 49th annual meeting of Cheiron: The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences. The conference will be held at Mississippi State University, Starkville (two hours/160 miles from Memphis, TN), with Courtney Thompson as local co-host, assisted by Alexandra Hui and Alan Marcus. Starkville’s local Golden Triangle Regional Airport, with service from Atlanta, provides free shuttle service to Starkville, including the MSU campus. The meeting will take place Thursday, June 22, to Sunday, June 25, 2017.

Submissions may deal with any aspect of the history of the human, behavioral, and social sciences or related historiographical and methodological issues. For this year’s meeting in Mississippi we particularly encourage submissions of all formats (papers, posters, symposia/panels, and workshops) which explore issues related to LGBTQ+, as well as gender, race/ethnicity, and other marginalized communities. All submissions should conform to the guidelines listed below.

All submissions must be received by 5pm EST, January 15, 2017. Please email your proposals to the 2017 Program Chair, Jacy Young at


All papers, posters, and proposed symposia/panels should focus on new and original work, i.e. the main part of the work should not have been published or presented previously at other conferences.

To facilitate the peer review and planning process, please provide a separate page that includes: a) title; b) author’s name and affiliation; c) author’s mail and email address and phone number; d) audio/visual needs. In all types of proposals below, names of authors/presenters should not be indicated anywhere but on the separate cover page for the submission.

Papers: Submit a 700-800 word abstract plus references that contains the major sources that inform your work. Presentations should be 20-25 minutes in length.

Posters: Submit a 300-400 word abstract plus references that contains the major sources that inform your work.

Symposia/Panels: Organizer should submit a 250-300 word abstract describing the symposium as a whole and a list of the names and affiliations of the participants. Each participant should submit a 300-600 word abstract plus references that contains the major sources that inform your work.
Workshops: Organizer should submit a 250-300 word abstract describing the workshop and, if applicable, a list of the names and affiliations of those participating.

Travel Stipends & Young Scholar Award

Travel Stipends: Cheiron will make funds available to help defray travel expenses for students, as well as other scholars facing financial hardship, who present at the conference. We encourage everyone to apply for support from their home institutions. The Travel Stipend is limited to $100 to $300 per accepted submission; co-authored presentations must be divided among the presenters. If you wish to be considered for the Stipend, please apply by sending the Program Chair a separate email message, explaining your status, at the same time that you submit your proposal.

Young Scholar Award: Since 2008, Cheiron has awarded a prize for the best paper or symposium presentation by a young scholar. To be eligible for consideration, the young scholar must be the sole or first author on the paper and must be responsible for the bulk of the work of the paper. The young scholar must be a student currently or must have completed doctoral work (or other final degree) not more than 5 years prior to the meeting. Past winners of this award are no longer eligible.

About three weeks after the meeting, applicants for this award will submit a copy of the presented paper (rather than the abstract); it may include further, minor changes and bibliography. Submissions go to the Cheiron Executive Officer, who sets the exact deadline and determines eligibility, and the entries will be judged by select members of the Program Committee and the Review Committee. The winner will be announced by early autumn following the Cheiron meeting, will receive a certificate, and will be asked to submit the paper to the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences within a reasonable period of time. The Award winner may ask Cheiron for assistance in preparing the paper for submission to JHBS. If the paper is accepted by JHBS for publication, the winner will receive a $500 honorarium from the publisher, Wiley-Blackwell, in recognition of the Cheiron Young Scholar Award. Please note that the award committee may choose not to grant an award in any given year and that the honorarium depends on publication in JHBS, in addition to winning the Award.



Concerning meeting program, contact 2017 Program Chair:
Jacy Young
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Surrey UK

For questions about the Young Scholar Award or general organizational issues, contact
David K. Robinson, Cheiron Executive Officer:

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CBHM/BCHM Special Issue: “Probing the Limits of Method in the Neurosciences”

A special issue of the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin canadien d’histoire de la médecine dedicated to “Probing the Limits of Method in the Neurosciences” is now online. The issue includes articles that explore the work of Wilder Penfield, the discovery of mirror neurons, the formation of a global community of neuroscientists in the twentieth century, and much more. Titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Probing the Limits of Method in the Neurosciences,”by Frank W. Stahnisch.

“Between Clinic and Experiment: Wilder Penfield’s Stimulation Reports and the Search for Mind, 1929–55,” by Katja Guenther. The abstract reads,

In medicine, the realm of the clinic and the realm of experimentation often overlap and conflict, and physicians have to develop practices to negotiate their differences. The work of Canadian neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield (1891–1976) is a case in point. Engaging closely with the nearly 5,000 pages of unpublished and hitherto unconsidered reports of electrical cortical stimulation that Penfield compiled between 1929 and 1955, I trace how Penfield’s interest shifted from the production of hospital-based records designed to help him navigate the brains of individual patients to the construction of universal brain maps to aid his search for an ever-elusive “mind.” Reading the developments of Penfield’s operation records over time, I examine the particular ways in which Penfield straddled the individual and the universal while attempting to align his clinical and scientific interests, thereby exposing his techniques to standardize and normalize his brain maps.

Souvent en médecine, les domaines de la clinique et de l’expérimentation coïncident et s’opposent simultanément, obligeant les médecins à développer des pratiques pour négocier leurs différences. Le travail du neurochirurgien canadien Wilder Penfield (1891–1976) en est un bon exemple. En analysant soigneusement les quelque 5000 pages de protocoles de stimulations corticales électriques non publiés (et jusqu’ici non considérés) que Penfield a compilés entre 1929 et 1955, j’explique comment son intérêt s’est transformé ; de la production de comptes rendus d’opération et de graphiques l’aidant à naviguer dans les cerveaux des patients individuels, à la construction de cartes cérébrales universelles et à la recherche d’un « esprit » insaisissable. En lisant les développements des comptes rendus d’opération au fils du temps, je montre comment Penfield a conçu les techniques pour standardiser et normaliser ses cartes de cerveau, et j’examine la manière particulière avec laquelle il a réconcilié l’individuel et l’universel tout en essayant de mettre en accord ses intérêts cliniques et scientifiques.

“The Currency of Consciousness: Neurology, Specialization, and the Global Practices of Medicine,” by Stephen T. Casper. The abstract reads, Continue reading CBHM/BCHM Special Issue: “Probing the Limits of Method in the Neurosciences”

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Laura Stark’s Review of Patient H.M. in Science

As part of our continuing coverage of the controversy that has erupted over Luke Dittrich’s recently released Patient H.M., we bring to your attention a just released review of the book in Science. In her review, Laura Stark provides a welcome perspective on Dittrich’s work, especially in relation to his portrayal of Suzanne Corkin. As Stark writes,

It seems inevitable that the book will be compared to the patient biography The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. But, while Dittrich is an exceptional writer, he focuses his talents in the last half of his book on a takedown of rival author Suzanne Corkin, missing opportunities to turn his own family story into one of more universal scope….

Dittrich only reveals at the end that Corkin was writing her own book on H.M., which recasts his story up to that point in a new light. It helps make sense of his eagerness to see her actions as personal slights, character flaws, and bad science rather than symptoms of broken systems. It is a pity, because his sense of personal grievance narrows him into a story about a uniquely menacing scientist rather than a universal story of the legal and institutional ties that bind even well-intentioned people.

The review is out from behind Science‘s paywall and can be read in full here.

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Psychobook is Perfect for Your Coffee Table

A soon to be published book from Princeton Architectural Press may be just what every psychologist and historian of psychology has been waiting for to  adorn their coffee table. Psychobook is a lavishly  illustrated volume documenting the history of psychological testing.

As a recent piece in The New Yorker puts it,

“Psychobook” comprises an eclectic assortment of tests from the early twentieth century to the present, along with new artworks and whimsical questionnaires inspired by the originals. These materials are interlaced with vintage and contemporary photographs, portraits, collages, and film stills of psychologists analyzing patients or staring incisively into space, sometimes in idiosyncratically decorated Manhattan offices. It’s not immediately clear why this book exists, but it would probably look great in a therapist’s waiting room.

Put it on your wish list now.

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History of Human Science Talks at HHS, Atlanta, Nov. 3-6, 2016

As a followup to yesterday’s post on the Forum for History of Human Science (FHHS) sponsored session at the History of Science Society (HSS) meeting, November 3rd through 6th in Atlanta, we’ve rounded up all the history of human science content on the program.

Still to be announced are the FHHS business meeting and invited speaker.

1:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Session 1. Between the Natural and Human Sciences: Historical Lessons from the Study of [Our] Brains and Behaviors
Chair(s): Tara Abraham, University of Guelph
Organizer(s): Tara Abraham, University of Guelph

Neurohistology and the ‘Radical’ Surgical Treatment of Epilepsy in the 1920s and 30s. Delia Gavrus, University of Winnipeg

Radical to Some Yet to Others, Ho-Hum: Adolf Meyer’s Biological Theory of Mind, 1895- 1925. Susan Lamb, University of Ottawa

The Sciences of Brain and Mind in American Medical Education: The Case of Harvard’s Medical School, 1900-1945. Tara Abraham, University of Guelph

Epigenetics as Trending Science. Michael Pettit, York University

Thursday, November 3
3:45 PM – 5:45 PM

Session 11. Collecting, Colonialism, and Material Culture in the 18th and 19th Centuries
Materials of the Mind: Phrenology and the Making of a Global Science, 1815-1920. James Poskett, University of Cambridge

Session 16. Reforming the Everyday: Scientific Expertise and its Publics
The Psycho-Technocratic Society: Psychological Expertise and Everyday Life in Progressive Era America. Jeremy Blatter, New York University

Session 19. The Fake and the False: Science, Law, and Trickery
Counterfeiting Madness: The Problem of Imposture in Nineteenth-Century Insanity Trials. Susanna Blumenthal, University of Minnesota

Friday, November 4
9:00 AM – 11:45 AM

Session 21. Binaries, Scales, and Other Modes of Classification in the Social and Life Sciences
Left, Right, Mixed, or Scaled? Dexterity Questionnaires and Genetic Theories of Handedness in Britain, 1967–1979. Tabea Cornel, University of Pennsylvania Continue reading History of Human Science Talks at HHS, Atlanta, Nov. 3-6, 2016

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