Category Archives: General

Publication Announcement: The Wiley Handbook of Theoretical & Philosophical Psychology

1118748336This month saw the publication of a collaborative text on theoretical and philosophical psychology, edited by Jack Martin, Jeff Sugarman, and Kathleen Slaney out of Simon Fraser University.

The volume is comprised of sections on: philosophical/conceptual approaches, historical approaches, narrative and social psychological approaches, and theoretical studies of scientific, professional, and life practices.

Chapters of particular interest to our readership include:

  • Theory for and as Social Practice of Realizing the Future: Implications from a Transformative Activist Stance, by Anna Stetsenko
  • Historical Thinking as a Tool for Theoretical Psychology: On Objectivity by Thomas Teo
  • The History of Psychological Objects by Adrian Brock
  • Historical Ontology, by Jeff Sugarman
  • Historiometry, by Dean Keith Simonton
  • Statistical Thinking in Psychological Research: In Quest of Clarity through Historical Inquiry and Conceptual Analysis, by James T. Lamiell
  • Allies in Interdisciplinary Spaces: Theoretical and Science Studies, by Kareen R. Malone and Lisa M. Osbeck
  • Feminism and Theoretical Psychology, by Alexandra Rutherford, Kate Sheese, and Nora Ruck

The book can be purchased here.

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Interactive History of Psych Resource: Investigating Psychology

A new interactive history of psychology resource, Investigating Psychology, is now freely available online via The Open University. The tool was created by Rose Capdevila (The Open University), Eleni Androuli (The Open University), and Katherine Hubbard (University of Surrey).  As described in the announcement of the tool’s launch,

Our aims in developing this was to generate a tool to enable people to explore the development of psychological thinking not only across time, but also within the context of social, conceptual and historical changes. It includes: people, contexts, perspectives and methods as well as the ‘narratives’ feature. We’ve especially tried to generate a greater feeling of investigation and discovery throughout the feature and so it encourages interaction. Its also possible to ‘share’ star fields and information generated in the resource.

Its a completely open resource, thanks to Open Learn, and so absolutely anyone can use it. It was recently launched at the annual BPS conference and so it ready to be used as a useful tool for anyone teaching or learning CHIP. It can also be continually updated – just see the ’email us’ link at the bottom to make any suggested inclusions to the tool.

Explore the Investigating Psychology tool online here and don’t forget to email in suggested additions to the resource!

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Nordic Network for Madness Studies

madness studies cropContinuing the theme of the history of madness that has organically cropped up in our posts as of late, the Finnish University of Oulu‘s  Department of the History of Science and Ideas has launched a new forum for scholars of madness as a substantive topic with a geographic focus on the Nordic region specifically, Europe at large, but with a global scope.

Their mission statement is as follows:

The main purpose of Madness Studies is to provide a useful platform for communication, cooperation and collaboration across national borders and disciplinary boundaries. At this early stage, the primary goal is to compile data about scholars, doctoral students and research groups involved in research activities, as well as inform about conferences, journals, books and primary sources. Potential future forms of activities include a founding of a society and organization of meetings devoted to the multidisciplinary aspects of madness.

Current projects include: modern depression and contemporary culture in Finland,  a history of the life and conditions of Danish children and adults who were taken into public care during the period 1945–1980,  mental health, medicine and social engineering in 20th century Finland, and perspectives on current forms of social vulnerabilities in contemporary Finnish society.

Current scholars range from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK, and Spain in Europe, to Canada, the US, Argentina, and Australia.

Find further details here. Apply to join the network here!

 

 

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The Anatomist, The Alienist, The Artist & changing expressions of madness in Victorian Britain

JHN physiognomy comparison article
Left: Bell’s ‘The Maniac,’ 1806. Right: detail of Dadd’s ‘Agony– Raving Madness,’ 1854. Depictions contrasted in the article.

The Journal of the History of the Neurosciences has published an article online by S. Huddleston and G. A. Russell (out of the Department of Humanities in Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine) on the 19th century case of painter and murderer Richard Dadd.

The authors employ examples of Dadd’s art (the majority of which created during his incarceration at Bethlem and Broadmoor hospitals) as a lens to explore the shifting social politics of theories of physiognomy in clinical practice and public perception.  The idiosyncratic and atypical subjects of Dadd’s works defied both the early and over-determined categories of mad facial features championed by the renowned anatomist Charles Bell, and the nondistinctive challenge thereto by alienist Alexander Morison. In doing so, the authors argue, Dadd’s interpretation forshadowed more modern approaches to physiognomic diagnostics.

Find the abstract and full text here.

 

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Mediating Shell Shock: The 1918 Film ‘War Neuroses’ as Clinical Controversy

sgt-bissettBPS’ May volume of The Psychologist includes an insightful historical piece by Edgar Jones (out of the Institute for Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience at King’s College London). His article, Filming Trauma, assesses the influence and controversy in Britain surrounding the clinical research of Arthur Hurst on treatment of shell shock as a medical emergency within their military forces.

Jones identifies Hurst’s provocative footage of disordered movement as having lasting historical impact on our comprehension of how shell shock presented itself and was understood by contemporaries of the first World War; he then asserts the film was a non-representative and highly mediated rendition of the condition as experienced by the soldiers in that context. Jones goes on to elucidate the skeptical response of other psychiatric professionals to Hurst’s methods and claims to unprecedented and outstanding therapeutic efficacy, for which Hurst provided little explanation or followup.

An engaging read! Find it as pdf, or post.

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TPR: Andrew Scull’s “Madness and meaning: Depictions of insanity through history”

The Paris Review currently features a beautifully illustrated piece from historian Andrew Scull. In “Madness and Meaning” Scull discusses the many depictions of mental illness – religious, medical, pharmaceutical – produced through history. Read the full piece, and see all the evocative images, online here.

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Issues in Open Scholarship: ‘If Data Sharing is the Answer, What is the Question?’

coverThe European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics‘ publication ERCIM NEWS put out a special issue on ‘scientific data sharing and re-use.’ In it Christine Borgman (out of UCLA’s department of Information Studies) touches in brief on some of the topics covered in her new volume Big Data, Little Data, No Data: Scholarship in the Networked World (2015, MIT Press).

In her book, Borgman locates data as only meaningful within borgmaninfrastructures or ecologies of knowledge, and discusses the management and exploitation of data as particular kinds of investments in the future of scholarship. Her take on the history of big data and the growing enthusiasm for data sharing, which she asserts often obscures the challenges and complexities of data stewardship, is relevant to historians of the social sciences. An excerpt:

Data practices are local, varying from field to field, individual to individual, and country to country. Studying data is a means to observe how rapidly the landscape of scholarly work in the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities is changing. Inside the black box of data is a plethora of research, technology, and policy issues. Data are best understood as representations of observations, objects, or other entities used as evidence of phenomena for the purposes of research or scholarship. Rarely do they stand alone, separable from software, protocols, lab and field conditions, and other context. The lack of agreement on what constitutes data underlies the difficulties in sharing, releasing, or reusing research data.  Continue reading Issues in Open Scholarship: ‘If Data Sharing is the Answer, What is the Question?’

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Why was Wundt’s journal titled *Philosophical* Studies?

Wilhelm Wundt is best known as the founder of first laboratory dedicated specifically to experimental psychology. But he titled the journal that published his famous laboratory’s research Philosophische Studien (Philosophical Studies). Why was that? If his aim was to distinguish between the old philosophical psychology and the new experimental psychology, why confuse the matter by associating himself so closely with philosophy?

First, Wundt was not opposed to philosophical psychology. He just thought that philosophy could be enhanced by adding experimental methods to its toolbox. His Leipzig professorship was, after all, in philosophy, and he wrote a number of treatises on philosophical problems far removed from his experimental work. But still, why didn’t he title his journal something like Psychologische Studien (Psychological Studies), since it reported the psychological research of his students and himself?

The answer is that there was already a journal in Germany entitled Psychische Studien (Psychical Studies) that published work on spiritualism and paranormal phenomena. Wundt regarded this as unscholarly nonsense, and he did not want his own work to be confused with it in the public mind, so he went with the “Queen of the Sciences” instead: philosophy.

Andreas Sommer has just retweeted an excellent little 2013 article on that “other” journal at his blog, “Forbidden Histories.” You can read it here.

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BBC Radio Free Thinking Series: Madness in Civilisation

free thinking

The March 17 2015 episode of BBC 3’s Free Thinking with Matthew Sweet featured authors Andrew Scull and Lisa Appignanesi, who discussed the history of madness within Western contexts–the reflexive relations between how it has been conceptualized and experienced, philosophical and theoretical changes in how it has been studied academically and professionally, and the shifting social politics of how it is apprehended and engaged with by the publics at large.

Listen to the full piece here.

Works cited in the interview:                                                                                                                 Andrew Scull, (April, 2015) Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity, from the Bible to Freud, from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine.                                                                          Lisa Appignanesi, (2009) Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the Present.

 

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New Book: The Classification of Sex, Alfred Kinsey and the Organization of Knowledge

the-classification-of-sexBy Donna J. Drucker, guest professor at Technische Universität Darmstadt. Published by the University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014. The back cover reads:

Alfred C. Kinsey’s revolutionary studies of human sexual behavior are world-renowned. His meticulous methods of data collection, from comprehensive entomological assemblies to personal sex history interviews, raised the bar for empirical evidence to an entirely new level. In The Classification of Sex, Donna J. Drucker presents an original analysis of Kinsey’s scientific career in order to uncover the roots of his research methods. Continue reading New Book: The Classification of Sex, Alfred Kinsey and the Organization of Knowledge

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