Category Archives: Events

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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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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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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UCL/BPS Talk July 18th: Fabio de Sio on J. C. Eccles and the Dawn of Neuroscience in Britain

J. C. Eccles

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 the Summer term. On Monday July 18th Fabio de Sio will be speaking on “The title is misleading: J.C. Eccles, the Waynflete Lectures and the dawn of the neurosciences in Britain (1945–1954).” Full details follow below.

Monday 18th July
Dr Fabio de Sio (Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf): “The title is misleading: J.C. Eccles, the Waynflete Lectures and the dawn of the neurosciences in Britain (1945–1954).”

The history of the neurosciences is usually cast as a cumulative process of discovery and theoretical innovation, leading to a veritable cultural revolution. The latter is accounted for in terms of an unstoppable growth of the brain, at the expense of the mind (or the soul), and as a progressive obliteration of old and fuzzy problems and entities (free will, mind, soul), traditionally associated with the explanation of human action. As a consequence, the neurosciences have been widely marketed not simply as the new model of scientific rationality (incorporating and integrating the bio- and psycho-disciplines), but also as the most suitable candidate to the title of ‘next science of Man’. This is based on the conflation between the growth of specialised knowledge and its interpretation in a wholly materialistic, brain-centric framework. This paper points at a different interpretation of the neurosciences as a cultural programme, based not on scientific revolution, interdisciplinarity and brain-centrism, but rather on tradition, harmonic cooperation between distinct disciplines (physiology, philosophy, introspective psychology) and a strong, reductionistic focus on the neurone as the basic level of interpretation. Through an analysis of the scientific and cultural endeavours of the physiologist and Nobelist J.C. Eccles FRS (1903–1997), his 1952 Lectures, The Neurophysiological Bases of the Mind: the Principles of Neurophysiology, I show how the New Science of the Brain was criticised by Eccles as a materialistic heresy, rooted in cultural prejudices, rather than on sound experimentation and proper scientific method. In parallel, I will show how the special brand of neurosciences heralded by Eccles was almost universally ignored by its critics. Finally, I wish to point at a whole network of neuroscience-related specialists (physiologists, psychiatrists, psychologists) and engaged intellectuals, who took Eccles’ programme seriously, and tried to consolidate, in the following decades, an alternative science of the mind/brain.

Location: Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, University College London

Time: 6-7:30pm

Directions: From the Torrington Place entrance to UCL, enter the campus on Malet Place.  After fifty metres, you will find Foser Court on the right hand side. Turn right under the underpass, and enter via the second door on the right.  The common room is straight ahead.

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Oct. 6th: BPS’s 6th Annual Stories of Psychology Symposium “With Childhood in Mind”

On Thursday October 6th, 2016 the British Psychological Society‘s History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with the BPS History & Philosophy of Psychology Section, will be holding their sixth annual Stories of Psychology Symposium. The theme of this year’s symposium is “With Childhood in Mind” and registration for the event is required. Full details are provided on the Stories of Psychology Symposium flyer and also follow below.

With Childhood in Mind
A BPS Flagship Event

In conjunction with BPS History & Philosophy of Psychology Section

Thursday 6 October 2016, 10.30am–4.30pm

Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House
University of London
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU
Speakers:
Professor Matthew Smith (University of Strathclyde)
The Nervous and Allergic Child: Psychosomatic Understanding of Allergy in Mid-Century USA

Professor Mathew Thomson (University of Warwick)
Psychology and the Landscape of the Child in 20th-Century Britain: A Story of Lost Freedom?

Professor Ingrid Lunt (University of Oxford)
The Child’s Place in the World: Evolving Rights and Responsibilities

Professor Vasu Reddy (University of Portsmouth)
The Child as a Psychologist? – Shifting Assumptions and Changing Understandings

Plus a presentation of his PhD research by Andrew Burchell (University of Warwick)
Mental Health in the ‘blackboard jungle’: Psychology and youth violence in post-war Britain

Convenors:
Professor John Stewart (Glasgow Caledonian University)
Professor John Hall (Oxford Brookes University)

Cost: £15: including welcome refreshments and light buffet lunch

Register HERE (registration is essential)

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UCL/BPS Talk July 11th: Martyn Pickersgill “On Infrastructure and Ontology”

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 the Summer term. On Monday July 11th Martyn Pickersgill (right) will be speaking on ‘On infrastructure and ontology: Shifting dynamics of knowledge production and application in mental health.’ Details follow below.

Monday 11th July
Dr Martyn Pickersgill (Usher Institute for Population Health Studies and Informatics, Edinburgh Medical School): ‘On infrastructure and ontology: Shifting dynamics of knowledge production and application in mental health’

Infrastructures proliferate within mental health. Services are developed and instantiated both through and as particular socio-material configurations. These are underpinned by diverse kinds of infrastructure, as well as serving as the underpinning for therapeutic encounters. The knowledge drawn upon, ignored or un-encountered by psychological therapists is itself produced through a range of infrastructural arrangements, which are impacted and directed by research funders in varying ways. In this talk, I take considerations of infrastructure as a departure point for discussing two Wellcome Trust-funded projects on the sociology of mental health. The first represents an analysis of the social dimensions of initiatives to enhance access to psychological therapy in England and Scotland; the second is a new study interrogating innovation in psychiatric diagnosis across the US and the UK. I will discuss the forms of normativity that (are claimed to) structure both of the cases I explore, and consider the infrastructural arrangements my respondents imagine and enact in response to these. In turn, I want to reflect on what (drives to develop) infrastructures do to the ontologies of pathologies, patients and professionals working in mental health research and practice.

Location: Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, University College London

Time: 6-7:30pm

Directions: From the Torrington Place entrance to UCL, enter the campus on Malet Place.  After fifty metres, you will find Foser Court on the right hand side. Turn right under the underpass, and enter via the second door on the right.  The common room is straight ahead.

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UCL/BPS Talk June 14th: “Mediumistic Art and the Problems of Interpretation”

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 the Summer term. On Tuesday June 14th Marco Pasi will be speaking on “Mediumistic art and the problems of interpretation: The case of Georgina Houghton (1814–1884).” Full details, including abstract, follow below.

Date: Tuesday 14 June 2016
Location: Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, University
College London
Speaker: Dr Marco Pasi (University of Amsterdam)
Seminar title: Mediumistic art and the problems of interpretation: The case of Georgina Houghton (1814–1884)

In this talk, I take up the work of the British mediumistic artist Georgiana Houghton (1814–1884), whose works feature in a new exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery. Houghton became interested in spiritualism in the early 1860s and began to practise as a medium. A trained artist, she produced a series of drawings that she claimed were done under the direct influence of spiritual entities. These works were almost exclusively non-figurative and seem to anticipate abstraction by at least 40 years. Her story presents some similarities with the the Swedish painter Hilma af Klint (1862–1944), who also began to develop an abstract style of painting as a medium under the perceived guidance of spiritual entities, a few years before Wassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian. How should we understand Georgiana Houghton’s (and Hilma af Klint’s) art? The context in which mediumistic art was first appreciated was psychical research, especially in the works of F.W.H. Myers. Myers presented a psychological approach to the problem of artistic genius, referring to automatic drawing as an example of the ‘subliminal uprush’. For Myers, artistic genius manifested itself when an artist was able to combine the inspiration coming from the ‘subliminal uprush’ with their ‘supraliminal stream of thought’. Myers’s theories were significant for psychologists and artists who tried to make sense of the phenomenon of mediumistic art throughout the 20th century.

Location: Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, University College London

Time: 6-7:30pm

Directions: From the Torrington Place entrance to UCL, enter the campus on Malet Place.  After fifty metres, you wind Foser Court on the right hand side. Turn right under the underpass, and enter via the second door on the right.  The common room is straight ahead.

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UCL/BPS Talk May 31: “Psychiatrists, Psychiatry and the Colonial State in the first half of Twentieth Century India”

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 their 2016 seminar series. On Monday May 30th, Shilpi Rajpal will be speaking on “Psychiatrists, Psychiatry and the Colonial State in the first half of Twentieth Century India.” Full details follow below.

UCL/British Psychological Society History of the Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series

Monday 30 May 2016

Dr. Shilpi Rajpal (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali)

“Psychiatrists, Psychiatry and the Colonial State in the first half of Twentieth Century India” 

By the mid twentieth century some psychiatrists were performing important roles in transforming the nature of psychiatry in India. Wider exposure to international trends was an important feature of the twentieth century psychiatry in India as its enthusiastic practitioners not only travelled widely but also experimented with new methods of treatment. These efforts were frequently confined to individuals and cannot be generalized. The colonial state maintained an apathetic attitude towards the mentally ill and mental illness. Nonetheless, the concept of a specialist emerged in this period. Some of these specialists dedicated their lives to the cause of studying insanity and some of the central asylums became hubs for psychiatric deliberations. These deliberations were among these individuals and the colonial state. These negotiations were sometimes successful but at other times failed. What should be kept in mind is that innovation and interest depended entirely on the zeal of the superintendent-in-charge. His motivation was his own as the government did not have much stake in the process. The change also included bringing psychiatry in India in line with international developments in the field. These changes however should not be understood in terms of teleological growth. The paper attempts to analyze the novelties in terms of psychoanalysis and other international factors such as the mental hygiene movement.  It focuses on debates in the official circles, and juxtaposes these individual efforts to governmental attempts to revamp the psychiatric infrastructure.

Organiser: Professor Sonu Shamdasani (UCL)

Time: 6pm to 7.30 pm.

Location:  Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, University College London.

From the Torrington Place entrance to UCL, enter the campus on Malet Place. After fifty metres, you will find Foser court on the right hand side. Turn right under the underpass, and enter via the second door on the right. The common room is straight ahead.

UPDATE: The date of this talk has now changed to Tuesday 31st May. The time and place remain the same.

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