Monthly Archives: April 2011

Historical Films Online from Wellcome Trust

I noticed via several Twitter announcements today that the Wellcome Trust has posted 218 of their historical films online on the Internet Archive website. AHP has previously posted about the Wellcome film collection when we highlighted their 1930 Pavlovian conditioning film that was available through their catalog. This is the only film among the 218 on Internet Archive listed under the keyword “Psychology” but is certainly not the only film in the set related to the history of psychology. A few of the highlights that caught my attention: Continue reading

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AHP & FieldNotes @ Utica’s “Old Main”

This is a special post co-authored by Jeremy Burman and Jennifer Bazar. It is co-hosted at both the Advances in the History of Psychology (AHP) and FieldNotes blogs.

On Thursday we were given a unique opportunity to tour the interior of the building that was originally opened as the New York State Lunatic Asylum in Utica, NY. Built in 1843 to house the state’s so-called insane, the building remains an imposing example of Greek Revival architecture complete with six 48′ tall limestone columns flanking the main entrance.

We began the day in the contemporary institution on the property, the Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center. Within the building is displayed a number of historical photographs and furniture (including a decorative fireplace!) from the original building. Among this collection was a large painting of Amariah Brigham, the institution’s first medical superintendent, which had been commissioned by some of the patients. Brigham was extremely influential in asylum history: he was one of the founders of the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions (precursor to American Psychiatric Association), launched the American Journal of Insanity (precursor to the American Journal of Psychiatry), and created several unique items including a phrenological hat and the Utica crib. Continue reading

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Social Media & the History of Psychology

Advances in the History of Psychology has taken the leap into social media and joined both Facebook and Twitter. You can now follow us via our Facebook page and our Twitter feed for even more on the latest developments in the history of psychology.

Those interested in even more history of psychology via social media may also want to check out the Facebook pages of the Society for the History of Psychology, Division 26 of the American Psychological Association, and the Center for the History of Psychology. Both post regularly and are great sources for unique finds in the history of psychology. The Center for the History of Psychology’s Facebook page is particularly interesting for its regular posts of archival material from its Archives of the History of American Psychology. For instance, today’s Archival Gem o’ the Day, as posted on their facebook page, is a psychoanalysis comic from 1955 (right). According to their post,

The inside cover reads: “Through the medium of comic format, we will attempt to portray, graphically and dramatically, the manner in which people find peace of mind through the science of psychoanalysis.” (Published by “Entertaining Comics.” Provenance unknown.)

Check in with their Facebook page regularly for even more archival gems. And, of course, don’t forget to follow AHP on Facebook and Twitter!

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BPS Symposium: Stories of Psychology

The British Psychological Society‘s History of Psychology Centre is hosting a free history of psychology symposium on October 11, 2011. The symposium, Stories of Psychology: Archives, Histories and What They Tell Us, has been organized by prominent historians of psychology Alan Collins (right) and Geoff Bunn and will take place at the Wellcome Collection Conference Centre in London. Full symposium details can be found on the History of Psychology Centre’s website and are listed below.



History of Psychology Symposium
Tuesday 11 October 2011 at the Wellcome Collection Conference Centre, Euston Road, London NW1 2BE
Stories of Psychology: Archives, Histories and What They Tell Us
1.45pm-5.30pm

Convened by Dr Alan Collins (University of Lancaster) and Dr Geoff Bunn (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Speakers:

Professor Richard Bentall (University of Liverpool)
How we have changed the way we think about madness

Professor Michael Billig (Loughborough University)
Archival knowledge versus personal reminiscence: The case of the social psychologist Henri Tajfel

Dr Rhodri Hayward (Queen Mary, University of London)
Psychological knowledge and the making of the modern state

Graham Richards (Independent scholar and former Director of the History of Psychology Centre)
The psychology of archives – especially archives of psychology

Professor Sally Shuttleworth (St Anne’s College, Oxford)
Studying the child in the nineteenth century

The symposium will be followed by a reception in the Wellcome Library Reading Room to celebrate the collaboration between the Wellcome Library and the British Psychological Society and to mark the transfer to the Library of the main BPS archives.

Advance free registration is essential – register here

For more information, e-mail hopc@bps.org.uk or call Peter Dillon Hooper on 0116 252 9528.

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Hoffmann’s Potion

HoffmannAs many AHP readers might know, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) hosts a free online screening room with nearly 1500 film clips, documentaries, animations, experimental films, and fictional films. A colleague recently directed me to a 2002 film by Canadian filmmaker Connie Littlefield that may be of interest to some AHP readers. Hoffmann’s Potion is a 56 minute film covering the early years of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) research by Swiss scientist Albert Hoffmann. Unlike similar documentaries by the BBC (also this 1997 film), Hoffmann’s Potion is not centered around American activist Timothy Leary. Instead, it looks at the spread of LSD research from Hoffmann’s lab in 1938 to psychiatric facilities in Canada, Czechoslovakia, Great Britain, and the United States in the 1940s and 50s.

The NFB offers this synopsis:

This documentary offers a compassionate, open-minded look at LSD and how it fits into our world. Long before Timothy Leary urged a generation to “tune in, turn on and drop out,” the drug was hailed as a way to treat forms of addiction and mental illness. At the same time, it was being touted as a powerful tool for mental exploration and self-understanding. Featuring interviews with LSD pioneers, beautiful music and stunning cinematography, this is much more than a simple chronicle of LSD’s early days. It’s an alternative way of looking at the drug… and our world.

Littlefield alternates between original documentary footage from the laboratories and new interviews with LSD researchers including: American psychiatrist Myron J. Stolaroff, Czechoslovakian transpersonal psychologist Stanislav Grof, and British psychiatrist Humphry Osmond. Osmond worked at the now demolished Weyburn Mental Hospital in Weyburn Saskatchewan. His work with Canadian schizophrenia specialist Abram Hoffer applied LSD both to better understand the lives of schizophrenics, and to treat addiction.

See these previous AHP posts for a Bibliography of Psychoactive Drug Use in Psychology, and a Bibliography of LSD and Psychiatry.

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New Issue: History of the Human Sciences

The April 2011 issue of History of the Human Sciences has just been released online. Included in this issue are eight all new articles as well as three book reviews. Among the topics addressed in these articles are the history of qualitative research in the social sciences, character types and space in early statistical writings, a history of bedwetting and its regulation, a history of therapeutic work, Quakerism and the Tavistock Clinic’s development, alienation theory, the work of Hannah Arendt, and the con man origins of Erving Goffman’s (left) dramaturgical self. Full title, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Toward a social history of qualitative research,” by Gordana Jovanovic. The abstract reads,

There are plausible academic as well as social indicators that qualitative research has become an indispensable part of the methodological repertoire of the social sciences. Relying upon the tenets of the qualitative approach which require a priority of subject matter over method and a necessary socio-historical contextualization, I reconstruct some aspects of a social history that have shaped the quantitative—qualitative dichotomy and the quantitative imperative; these include modern individualism, monological rationality, manufacture operating on the grounds of common human labour, mechanics as the first science, quantification as a technology of distanced objectivity and a search for certainty realized at the expense of qualitative attributes. The so-called renaissance of the qualitative approach starting in 1960s, understood as a kind of a return of repressed qualities, is also socio-culturally contextualized. Both anthropogenetic and sociogenetic reconstructions as well as a microgenetic analysis of the research process demonstrate that choices of subject matter and of methodology are socially and culturally embedded and necessarily linked to broader interests and beliefs. Continue reading

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New Issue: J. of the History of the Neurosciences

A new issue of the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences has just been released online. Among the topics addressed in the articles featured in this issue are the work of Swedish neurologist Salomon Henschen (right) to establish an international neurological academy in the late 1920s, taraexin theory of schizophrenia, Robert Bentley Todd’s work on nerve cells, and Franz Joseph Gall’s visit to the Netherlands during his 1805 cranioscopic tour. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Salomon Henschen’s Short-Lived Project of an ‘Academia Neurologica Internationalis’ (1929) For the Revival of the International Brain Commission: Documents from the Cécile and Oskar Vogt Archives,” by Bernd Holdorff. The abstract reads,

In 1929, at the age of 82, the Swedish neurologist Salomon Henschen (1847-1930) planned an Academia Neurologica Internationalis. The exchanged letters with Ceacutecile and Oskar Vogt suggest that there was a great number of neuroscientists internationally who approved of the project. However, during three months of preparation, the initial skepticism increased and, although the invitation to the conference had already been printed, it had to be revoked. The endeavors to revive the Brain Commission failed. Two other projects nonetheless did take shape: the founding of one of the largest and most modern brain research institutes in 1931 by the Vogts and the first International Neurological Congress in Berne that same year. For decades, the Brain Commission remained without successors until the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) was founded in 1961. Continue reading

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Adler’s Remains Found!

In 1937 psychoanalyst Alfred Adler passed away in Aberdeen, Scotland while on a lecture tour at the university. Adler had been a member of Freud’s inner circle in Vienna until they split in 1911 and is remembered for his development of the theory of the inferiority complex.

His passing came at a time when Europe was on the brink of the Second World War and his family lost track of his remains. Seventy-four years later, The Guardian has reported that Adler’s ashes have been sitting in a crematorium in Edinburgh all this time. They were discovered by John Clifford, the honorary Austrian consul to Scotland, who had been asked to find them by the Society for Individual Psychology, a group originally founded by Adler himself.

Later this month, Adler’s ashes will be returned to Vienna through a civic ceremony.

**Thanks to Kelli Vaughn for bringing this story to the attention of AHP**

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Podcast: Discussions in the History of Psychology

Fans of the This Week in the History of Psychology (TWITHOP) podcast series will be pleased to learn that another podcast in this vein has been made available online. Discussions on the History of Psychology is a new venture by TWITHOP producer Christopher Green. In the inaugural episode, recorded during last year’s Cheiron conference in Syracuse, Vincent (Vinny) Hevern of Le Moyne College, Robert (Bob) Kugelmann of the University of Dallas, and Henderikus (Hank) Stam of the University of Calgary sat down with with Chris Green to discuss the history of humanistic psychology.

The podcast discussion runs about 45 minutes in length and addresses the contributions of such seminal figures within humanistic psychology as Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. This discussion of humanistic psychology may be of interest not only to historians of psychology, but also those who teach on the topic and their students. The full podcast can be heard online here.

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History of Russian Science & Psychology Blog

Those interested in the history of Russian science and psychology will be interested in the blog, History of Science & Psychology. This blog is a moderated community blog where a number of users post about topics and issues in the history of science and psychology, focused particularly on science and psychology in Russia. The aim of the blog is to provide information on:

  1. Problems of the history of science, specifically, psychology
  2. Publication of archival materials
  3. Info about new publications, upcoming conferences, and other related events, etc.

Posts to the blog are written in either Russian or English, or sometimes in both languages. Unfortunately, my Russian language skills are non-existent. While google translate can provide a first approximation of what has been posted to the blog, the images posted to the site, such as the one included here, need no such translation to be appreciated.

If you are interested in previous posts to the blog on specific topics visit the post ‘tags’ page here.

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