Category Archives: General

New Book: Rebel Genius: Warren S. McCulloch’s Transdisciplinary Life in Science

Tara Abraham‘s Rebel Genius: Warren S. McCulloch’s Transdisciplinary Life in Science is now available from MIT Press. Rebel Genius recounts the life and work of neurophysiologist and cybernetician Warren McCulloch. As described by the publisher,

Warren S. McCulloch (1898–1969) adopted many identities in his scientific life—among them philosopher, poet, neurologist, neurophysiologist, neuropsychiatrist, collaborator, theorist, cybernetician, mentor, engineer. He was, writes Tara Abraham in this account of McCulloch’s life and work, “an intellectual showman,” and performed this part throughout his career. While McCulloch claimed a common thread in his work was the problem of mind and its relationship to the brain, there was much more to him than that. In Rebel Genius, Abraham uses McCulloch’s life as a window on a past scientific age, showing the complex transformations that took place in American brain and mind science in the twentieth century—particularly those surrounding the cybernetics movement.

Abraham describes McCulloch’s early work in neuropsychiatry, and his emerging identity as a neurophysiologist. She explores his transformative years at the Illinois Neuropsychiatric Institute and his work with Walter Pitts—often seen as the first iteration of “artificial intelligence” but here described as stemming from the new tradition of mathematical treatments of biological problems. Abraham argues that McCulloch’s dual identities as neuropsychiatrist and cybernetician are inseparable. He used the authority he gained in traditional disciplinary roles as a basis for posing big questions about the brain and mind as a cybernetician. When McCulloch moved to the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT, new practices for studying the brain, grounded in mathematics, philosophy, and theoretical modeling, expanded the relevance and ramifications of his work. McCulloch’s transdisciplinary legacies anticipated today’s multidisciplinary field of cognitive science.

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New From HHS: Susan Isaacs’ Progressive Education, Information Overload, & More

Alejandro Lipschütz

The February 2017 issue of History of the Human Sciences is now online and includes a number of articles that may be of interest to AHP’s readers. Articles in this issue tackle: the relationship between Sigmund Freud and Chilean physiologist Alejandro Lipschütz, information overload in postwar America, Frédéric LePlay and scientific observation, the Susan Isaacs’ interwar work on progressive education and psychanalysis, and the patient-analyst relationship in psychoanalysis and telepathy-like experiences. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Sigmund Freud and Alejandro Lipschütz: Psychoanalysis and biology between Europe and Chile,” by Silvana Vetö and Marcelo Sánchez. The abstract reads,

This article deals with the relationship between the creator of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, and the Latvian-born Chilean professor of physiology – and endocrinologist and anthropologist – Alejandro (or Alexander) Lipschütz. Up till now, the historiography of psychoanalysis in Chile has ignored the existence of this relationship, that is to say, the fact that there exists an interesting exchange of correspondence as well as references to Lipschütz in some important works published by Freud and in Freud’s correspondence with the Hungarian psychoanalyst Sándor Ferenczi. There are also references to works on psychoanalysis carried out by Lipschütz in Chile. The Freud–Lipschütz relationship allows us to examine two interesting topics in contemporary historiographical approaches to psychoanalysis. First, it permits us to reflect on the connections that Freud and Ferenczi sought to establish between psychoanalysis and biology (endocrinology in particular) as a strategy to address criticism of the scientific foundations of psychoanalysis and, therefore, to help legitimize psychoanalysis in the field of science. Second, the relationship between Freud, working in a culturally influential city such as Vienna, and Lipschütz, working in a ‘peripheral’ country such as Chile, paves the way to reflect on the consequences of a history of psychoanalysis written from the perspective of the ‘margins’. This is a history that focuses not on regions where early industrialization and modernization processes, along with an important academic and scientific tradition, help explain the interest in and reception of psychoanalysis, but on regions where different sets of conditions have to be examined to explain appropriation and dissemination processes.

“The nature of the glut: Information overload in postwar America,” by Nick Levine. The abstract reads, Continue reading New From HHS: Susan Isaacs’ Progressive Education, Information Overload, & More

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Barbara Gittings, Gay Rights, and DSM Reform

Barbara Gittings, Frank Kameny, and John E. Fryer in disguise as Dr. H. Anonymous. Photo by Kay Tobin Lahusen

The Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health has just published a review of the recent book Barbara Gittings: Gay Pioneer. As Jack Drescher notes in his review Gittings, as part of a lifetime of LGBT activist efforts, pushed to remove homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Drescher notes,

Gittings, at Lahusen’s suggestion, sought an openly gay psychiatrist to present at a 1972 APA symposium entitled “Psychiatry: Friend or Foe to Homosexuals? A Dialogue.” Along with Gittings and [Frank]  Kameny, the panel included a gay-friendly heterosexual analyst, Judd Marmor. As none of the gay psychiatrists she knew would appear openly gay in public—at the time, one could lose one’s medical license because homosexuality was illegal in almost every U.S. state—Barbara Gittings convinced John Fryer to appear in disguise as Dr. H. Anonymous.

Fryer, wearing an oversized tuxedo, a rubber Richard Nixon Halloween mask, and a fright wig, explained to his fellow psychiatrists the pain of the professional closet. [Kay Tobin] Lahusen’s photograph of the masked Dr. H Anonymous, now gone viral on the Internet, is a chilling, yet humorous, iconic moment in the history of the LGBT civil rights movement. Further, the panel and the hard work of Gittings, Lahusen, Kameny, and Fryer led to the APA’s removing “homosexuality” from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-II) the following year.

More on Gittings and Tracy Baim’s biography can be found here.

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Call for Submissions: Early Career Researchers on “Thinking in Cases”

The editors of History of the Human Sciences have issued a call for submissions from early career researchers wishing to engage with John Forrester’s work “Thinking in Cases.” Short expressions of interest are due March 13th, 2017. Full details of the call for submissions follow below.

As part of our celebration of the work of the incomparable John Forrester, History of the Human Sciences (HHS) is hosting a review symposium around John’s final work: Thinking in Cases (Polity: 2017). The first essay in this collection ‘If p, then what? Thinking in cases’ was originally published in HHS back in 1996: (http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/095269519600900301)

As part of our efforts to showcase the work of new and emerging scholars, HHS invites expressions of interest from all early career researchers (a flexible definition) whose work bears in some way upon the work John started with ‘Thinking in Cases’. We welcome anyone who would like to contribute to such a dialogue with John’s work, and with each other.

If interested, please send a short expression of interest (max 200 words) to the email address below, outlining your strengths as candidate for inclusion in such a review symposium. Depending upon response, we anticipate final contributions of c.3,000 words.

Deadlines:

– Expressions of Interest: Monday 13th March, 2017.

– Submission of Contributions: 31st October, 2017.

– Publication in HHS: 2018.

If you have questions, please email Chris Millard: c[dot]millard[at]Sheffield[dot]ac[dot]uk

We look forward to hearing from you,

Felicity Callard (Editor-in-Chief) & Chris Millard (Reviews Editor)

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I Am Psyched! Pop-Up Exhibit National Tour Starts Now!

The I Am Psyched! exhibit, first launched as part of the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum Day Live in 2016, is hitting the road! The pop-up exhibit will be at Howard University tomorrow through Thursday, February 23rd, in celebration of both Howard University’s 150th anniversary and the American Psychological Association’s 125th anniversary. Kick off events tomorrow February 21st will be followed by three live interviews on APA’s Facebook page starting at1:15 PM (ET):

1:15 PM – Drs. Jessica Henderson Daniel and Shari Miles-Cohen will discuss Dr. Henderson Daniel’s storied career and how she made history by being elected as the first African American woman to lead the Association.

1:45 PM – Drs. Nicole Monteiro and Carlota Ocampo will discuss their research, what inspired them to go into psychology, and words of wisdom for the next generation of women of color psychologists.

2:15 PM – The winner and runners-up of the “I am Psyched” student poster session competition will discuss their winning posters and what has inspired them to pursue careers in psychology.

The exhibit is a collaboration between the APA’ Public Interest Directorate’s Women’s Programs Office, the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, and Psychology’s Feminist Voices. The exhibit is described as follows:

The I am Psyched! National Tour launches on Feb. 21, 2017 with a three-day installation at Howard University (HU) in Washington, D.C., celebrating both APA’s 125th anniversary and HU’s 150th anniversary. The opening includes remarks from APA President-elect Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD, ABPP, and members of HU’s senior administration, followed by round tables of women psychologists discussing how they have used psychology to make positive social change. Bringing full circle the past, present and future of women of color in psychology, the program will conclude with the grand opening of the I am Psyched! at Howard University exhibit and a juried poster session of empirical research by or about women of color conducted by HU graduate students. APA and HU are grateful to the National Black Employees Association and our other funders for helping to defray the cost of this event.

The second stop on the national tour is Drexel University, in Philedelphia from Feb. 27 through March 10. Dorothy Charbonnier, PhD, chair of the department of psychology, will host an opening reception with Drexel University President John Anderson Fry and other high level administrators, trustees and donors in attendance.

The I Am Psyched! exhibit will also be making the following stops on its national tour:

Tour Dates
Howard University, Washington, D.C. Feb, 21-23, 2017
Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pa. Feb, 27-March 10, 2017
St. John’s University, Queens, N.Y. March 14-17, 2017
Pace University, New York, N.Y. (tentative) March 20-21, 2017
University of Memphis, Memphis, Tenn. April 5-8, 2017
Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. April 28-30, 2017

Follow the full tour on Twitter with the hashtag 

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CFP: ESHHS Meeting in Bari, Italy July 12-14, 2017

The European Society for the History of the Human Sciences has issued a call for abstracts for their 2017 meeting. Submission are due March 17th, 2017 and the meeting will take place in Bari, Italy from July 12th through 14th. Full details can be found here.

FIRST CALL FOR ABSTRACTS
The European Society for the History of the Human Sciences (ESHHS) invites submissions to its conference to be held from July 12 to July 14, 2017, at the Seminar for the History of Science, University of Bari ‘Aldo Moro’, Italy.

Sessions, papers, workshops, round-tables and posters may deal with any aspect of the history of the human, behavioural and social sciences or with related historiographic and methodological issues. However, this year’s conference will pay particular attention to:
– history and new trends in historiography of human sciences
– circulation and popularization of scientific knowledge
– history of the body
– comparative studies and cultural hegemonies in history of science
– laboratory science and professionalization
– theories and practices in the historical development of human sciences

Submissions: must be received by March 17, 2017.
Please send your proposal electronically as attachment in MSWord (.doc/.docx) to each of the three members of the programme committee:
– Mariagrazia Proietto
– Annette Mülberger
– Jannes Eshuis

Only proposals connected with original research should be sent. Please indicate the submission type (session, paper, poster, workshop or round-table proposal). Any submission should include the name, email, and institutional address of the proponent.

Oral presentations: send a 500-600 word abstract in English plus a short bibliography. In case your communication will be in another language, please inform the committee in order to assist you in planning linguistic support, if necessary.
Posters: send a 300 word abstract.
Proposal for a session, workshop or round-table: send a 500-600 word rationale of the event (plus a short bibliography) as well as a short abstract for each paper or intervention.

Notification of acceptance will be sent by April 30, 2017.

A limited number of travel stipends will be available to students or scholars who present a paper or a poster and need economic support. Please indicate along with your submission if you wish to be considered for this arrangement.

For updates on the conference (registration and accommodation), check the following website www.eshhs.eu

Organization: Mariagrazia Proietto, Augusto Garuccio, Francesco Paolo de Ceglia

Eshhs and the Seminar for the History of Science welcome you to Bari!

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Special Issue History of Psychiatry: Histories of Asylums, Insanity and Psychiatry in Scotland

The March 2017 issue of History of Psychiatry is now online. Guest edited by Chris Philo and Jonathan Andrews, this special issue explores “Histories of asylums, insanity and psychiatry in Scotland.” Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Introduction: histories of asylums, insanity and psychiatry in Scotland,” by Chris Philo and Jonathan Andrews. The abstract reads,

This paper introduces a special issue on ‘Histories of asylums, insanity and psychiatry in Scotland’, situating the papers that follow in an outline historiography of work in this field. Using Allan Beveridge’s claims in 1993 about the relative lack of research on the history of psychiatry in Scotland, the paper reviews a range of contributions that have emerged since then, loosely distinguishing between ‘overviews’ – work addressing longer-term trends and broader periods and systems – and more detailed studies of particular ‘individuals and institutions’. There remains much still to do, but the present special issue signals what is currently being achieved, not least by a new generation of scholars in and on Scotland.

“A ‘Scottish Poor Law of Lunacy’? Poor Law, Lunacy Law and Scotland’s parochial asylums,” by Lauren Farquharson. The abstract reads,

Scotland’s parochial asylums are unfamiliar institutional spaces. Representing the concrete manifestation of the collision between two spheres of legislation, the Poor Law and the Lunacy Law, six such asylums were constructed in the latter half of the nineteenth century. These sites expressed the enduring mandate of the Scottish Poor Law 1845 over the domain of ‘madness’. They were institutions whose very existence was fashioned at the directive of the local arm of the Poor Law, the parochial board, and they constituted a continuing ‘Scottish Poor Law of Lunacy’. Their origins and operation significantly subverted the intentions and objectives of the Lunacy Act 1857, the aim of which had been to institute a public district asylum network with nationwide coverage.

“Liberty and the individual: The colony asylum in Scotland and England,” by Gillian Allmond. The abstract reads, Continue reading Special Issue History of Psychiatry: Histories of Asylums, Insanity and Psychiatry in Scotland

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New HoP: The Careers of Mowrer, Odum, & Puel, Digital History, & More

The February 2017 issue of History of Psychology is now online. Articles in this issue explore the work of O. Hobart Mowrer, Howard W. Odum, and Timothée Puel, respectively, Karl Menninger’s The Crime of Punishment, and  the changing relationship between psychology and philosophy through a digital analysis of journal content. In the news and notes section Chetan Sinha discusses the indigenization of psychology in India. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Preserving guilt in the “age of psychology”: The curious career of O. Hobart Mowrer,” by Corbin Page. The abstract reads,

O. Hobart Mowrer had one of the most productive and curious careers of any psychologist in the 20th century, despite struggling with severe mental illness and anxiety about his sexuality. Early in his career, he was one of the country’s leading experimental psychologists. During the mid-1940s, he became interested in religion and argued that anxiety was caused by repressed guilt that came from real wrongdoing. By the late 1950s, he had abandoned mainstream psychology, arguing that religion had been corrupted by its embrace of psychology and psychiatry. He claimed that sin was responsible for nearly all psychological problems and that ethical living and confession of wrongdoing could prevent mental illness. During his religious period, Mowrer received an astonishing amount of fawning press attention and was embraced by a public desirous of a path to mental health that did not require jettisoning traditional conceptions of sin, guilt, and human nature. This article examines Mowrer’s life and career and situates him among other mid-century skeptics of psychology and psychiatry. Other historians have argued that by the 1950s, the conflict between religion and psychiatry/psychology in the United States had largely abated, with both sides adapting to each other. Mowrer’s life and the reception of his work demonstrate that this narrative is overly simplistic; widespread conservative and religious distrust of psychology persisted even into the 1960s.

“Psychological keys in the study of African American religious folk songs in the early work of Howard W. Odum (1884–1954),” by Marcos José Bernal-Marcos, Jorge Castro-Tejerina, and José Carlos Loredo-Narciandi. The abstract reads, Continue reading New HoP: The Careers of Mowrer, Odum, & Puel, Digital History, & More

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UCL/BPS Talk Feb. 6: Silvana Vetö “Psychological Practices in ‘House of Juveniles of Santiago’, Chile 1929–1942′”

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 spring seminar series. On Monday February 6th Silvana Vetö will be speaking on ‘Psychological Practices in ‘House of Juveniles of Santiago’, Chile 1929–1942’.

Monday 6 February

Dr Silvana Vetö ( Universidad Andrés Bello at Santiago de Chile):
‘Psychological Practices in ‘House of Juveniles of Santiago’, Chile 1929–1942’

Location:

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

Time: 18:00-19:30
Tickets/registration: https://uclhistorytelling.eventbrite.co.uk

For more information please contact Professor Sonu Shamdasani at UCL (020 7679 8154)

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Mesmerism @ The British Library

The British Library has somewhat of a mesmeristic theme going on with their programming this season:

On their Untold Lives blog, Christopher Green (a different Chris Green than ours at York) writes about the career of Annie De Montford, a popular mesmerist who worked in the UK and the US in the 1880s. Read it here.

De Montford is also featured in the library’s ongoing exhibit Victorian Entertainments: There Will Be Fun, along with other historical figures who worked as magicians, pantomimes, and conjurors. The show is free, and on until March 12th. More information can be found here.

Not least, a talk will be given on March 6th by Wendy Moore titled The Mesmerist: Science vs Superstition in the Victorian era. From the flyer: ”

“…when mesmerism wafted over the Channel from France, physician John Elliotson was intrigued and resolved to harness its benefits for medicine. But his surgeon friend Thomas Wakley, editor of the influential Lancet, was disturbed and soon determined to expunge all trace of mesmerism from British shores.

Their battle throws into sharp focus fundamental questions about the fine dividing line between medicine and quackery, between science and superstition, in a Victorian society bedazzled by the magic of the music hall. And it poses questions – about hypnotism and other alternative therapies – for us today too.”

Further details with time and location can be found here. 

 

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