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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.
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.Share on Facebook
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,
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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”
• Michael A. Finn, “Possibilities and Problems with the Growing Archive”
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 email@example.com
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:
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Surrey UK
For questions about the Young Scholar Award or general organizational issues, contact
David K. Robinson, Cheiron Executive Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org
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”Share on Facebook
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.Share on Facebook
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.Share on Facebook
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.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2016
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
The August 2016 issue of Feminism & Psychology features a special focus section looking back at Stephanie Shield’s seminal “Functionalism, Darwinism, and the Psychology of Women” some 40 years on. Full details on the pieces that make up this special section follow below.
Special Focus: “Functionalism, Darwinism, and the psychology of women” forty years on: reflections, implications and empirical work
I. Special Focus: Revisiting “the woman question”
Lisa Lazard, Hale Bolak Boratav, and Helen Clegg
II. “Functionalism, Darwinism, and the Psychology of Women” as critical feminist history of psychology: Discourse communities and citation practices
Shayna Fox Lee, Alexandra Rutherford, and Michael Pettit
III. Historical significance of Shields’ 1975 essay: A brief commentary on four major contributions
Rhoda Unger and Andrea L Dottolo
This article argues that Shields’ work demonstrated that it is impossible to practice value-free science. And, despite the efforts of many feminist psychologists who have argued that the question of sex differences is someone else’s question, biological theories about the differences between women and men are still popular and influential today. This paper will call attention to four areas of scholarship produced by second-wave feminist psychologists who were inspired by Shields’ work: (1) rediscovery of the work of first-wave feminist psychologists, (2) discussion of the impossibility of value-free research on sex differences, (3) introduction of new categories of analysis such as “gender” and reframing research based on these new categories, and (4) addition of more value-laden categories to sex such as race, social class, and sexuality and using intersectionality theory to design new avenues of research.
IV. Has the psychology of women stopped playing handmaiden to social values?
Alice H Eagly Continue reading Reflecting on “Functionalism, Darwinism, and the Psychology of Women” 40 Years Later
As we recently reported on AHP a new book on the infamous case study of H.M. has subjected this work to increasing scrutiny, especially with respect to the actions of psychologist Suzanne Corkin, chief H.M. researcher who also served as gatekeeper of other researchers’ access to H.M. Corkin died in May of this year, while H.M. (now known to be Henry Molaison) died in 2008.
Backlash against Luke Dittrich and his book, Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets, has been growing since a lengthy piece adapted from the book appeared in the New York Times Magazine last week. (Further pieces on Dittrich’s book can be found on Psychology Today and the NYTMag’s Science of Us, among many other sources.) Particularly controversial have been three points: (1) reports that Corkin destroyed the records related to H.M.; (2) claims that Corkin suppressed reports of an additional lesion in H.M.’s brain; and (3) questions regarding the appropriateness of appointing a a non-relative as H.M.’s conservator.
Dr. James DiCarlo, head of the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, has written a letter to the New York Times disputing these claims. Additionally, reports are circulating that a group of roughly 200 neuroscientists have written to the Times claiming that Dittrich’s work “contains important errors, misinterpretations of scientific disputes, and unfair characterizations of an MIT neuroscientist who did groundbreaking research on human memory” (from here; also see here and here for more). The letter signed by this group can be read in full here.
In response to DiCarlo’s claims Dittrich has written a post for Medium outlining his position and evidence regarding each claim. Included in Dittrich’s post is a 7-minute audio clip from an interview he conducted with Corkin wherein she can be heard asserting that records concerning H.M. were destroyed. The audio can be heard here.