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 as part of its autumn BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series. On November 24, Joel Eigen (above) of Franklin & Marshall College will be speaking on “Medical Testimony and the Dynamics of Forensic Diagnosis at the Old Bailey, 1760-1913.” Full details follow below.
The British Psychological Society History of Psychology Centre in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines
Location: UCL Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, London WC1E 7JG
Monday 24 November
Professor Joel Eigen (Franklin & Marshall College, Pennsylvania)
“Medical Testimony and the Dynamics of Forensic Diagnosis at the Old Bailey, 1760-1913”
With the enigmatic diagnosis of Homicidal Mania, forensic psychiatric witnesses in late Victorian insanity trials introduced a form of mental derangement that for the first time excluded cognitive impairment. How medical men constructed a disease out of distracted volition and the role played by an administrative change that brought doctor and prisoner before trial is the subject for this talk. The research is based on a study of courtroom testimony given in 1000 Old Bailey insanity trials.
Joel Eigen has written of the origins and evolution of forensic psychiatry in Witnessing Insanity, Madness and Mad-Doctors in the English Court (Yale, l993) and Unconscious Crime, Mental Absence and Criminal Responsibility in Victorian London (Johns Hopkins, 2003). He is currently working on the third and final book in this series, the subject of this seminar.
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