Tag Archives: culture

New JHBS: Mental Testing, Random Sampling, & More!

The Spring 2017 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is now online. Articles in the issue explore the promotion of the scientific status of polling, Robert H. Lowie and the concept of culture, the work of Lawrence Krader, and work on mental associations prior to mental testing. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“THE RHETORICAL USE OF RANDOM SAMPLING: CRAFTING AND COMMUNICATING THE PUBLIC IMAGE OF POLLS AS A SCIENCE (1935–1948),” by DOMINIC LUSINCHI. The abstract reads,

The scientific pollsters (Archibald Crossley, George H. Gallup, and Elmo Roper) emerged onto the American news media scene in 1935. Much of what they did in the following years (1935–1948) was to promote both the political and scientific legitimacy of their enterprise. They sought to be recognized as the sole legitimate producers of public opinion. In this essay I examine the, mostly overlooked, rhetorical work deployed by the pollsters to publicize the scientific credentials of their polling activities, and the central role the concept of sampling has had in that pursuit. First, they distanced themselves from the failed straw poll by claiming that their sampling methodology based on quotas was informed by science. Second, although in practice they did not use random sampling, they relied on it rhetorically to derive the symbolic benefits of being associated with the “laws of probability.”

“ANTHROPOLOGY AT WAR: ROBERT H. LOWIE AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE CULTURE CONCEPT, 1904 to 1954,” by STEFAN BARGHEER. The abstract reads, Continue reading New JHBS: Mental Testing, Random Sampling, & More!

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CfP: “Alcohol Flows Across Cultures: Drinking Cultures in Transnational & Comparative Perspective”

A call for papers has been issued for a research symposium on alcohol consumption across cultures that will take place at St. Anne’s College, Oxford at the end of June, 2016. Full details follow below.

Alcohol flows across cultures: Drinking cultures in transnational and comparative perspective

Wednesday 29 June 2016 – Thursday 30 June 2016
Location: St Anne’s College, Oxford

Details

International Research Symposium

Alcohol consumption is currently seen as a major public health hazard across the globe. The medicalisation of alcohol use has become a prominent discourse that guides policy makers and impacts public perceptions of alcohol and drinking. This symposium intends to map the historical and cultural dimension of these phenomena and to trace the development of changing attitudes to consumption and historical and contemporary representations of alcohol and drinking in different regions, from the pre-modern to the postcolonial period. Emphasis is on the connected histories of different regions and populations across the globe in terms of their consumption patterns, government policies, economics and representations of alcohol and drinking. This transnational perspective facilitates an understanding of the local, transnational and global factors that have had a bearing on alcohol consumption and legislation and on the emergence of particular styles of ‘drinking cultures’. A comparative approach helps identify similarities, differences and crossovers between particular regions and pinpoint the parameters that shape alcohol consumption, policies and perceptions. The exploration of plural drinking cultures within any one particular region, their association with particular social groups, and their continuities and changes in the wake of wider global, colonial and postcolonial economic, political and social constraints and exchanges will be important dimensions of analysis.

Compensation for travel expenditure and local hospitality during the conference is aimed at but cannot be guaranteed. The closing date for abstracts (300 words) is 10 January 2016. Please indicate the primary source base of your contribution in your abstract, and clearly state your research questions, aims and arguments.

Contact for submission of abstracts and for inquiries:
Professor Waltraud Ernst, wernst@brookes.ac.uk
Professor David Foxcroft, david.foxcroft@brookes.ac.uk

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Sept 26th Conference: “Psychiatry and Other Cultures: A Historical Perspective”

As part of Mental Health Week events in Reggio Emilia, Italy the Museum for the History of Psychiatry is holding a one-day conference on “Psychiatry and Other Cultures: A Historical Perspective.” The conference will take September 26th, 2015. The full program and registration details follow below.

“Psychiatry and other cultures: A historical perspective”
September 26th 2015
Museum for the history of psychiatry
Via Amendola, 2- Padiglione Lombroso
Reggio Emilia

Program
H 8.30 Participants registration

H 9.00
Welcome address Gaddomaria Grassi

H 9.30
Opening session Luigi Benevelli

H 10.00
The “Devereux case” in the history of ethnopsychiatry, Alessandra Cerea

Transcultural psychiatry, decolonization and nationalism: Comparisans between Nigeria and India, Matthew M. Heaton

Beyond colonial psychiatry? The indigenization of psychiatry of British India, 1900-1940, Waltraud Ernst

Psychiatry in the ltalian colanies of Africa, Marianna Scarfone

H 12.00 Conference conclusion
Epistemology of Cultural Psychiatry, German E. Berrios

H 13.00
Questions and discussions

For info and registration send an e-mail at: bombardieric@ausl.re.it

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HHS Special Issue: “Vygotsky in His, Our and Future Times”

The April 2015 issue of History of the Human Sciences is dedicated to “Vygotsky in His, Our and Future Times.” Guest edited by Gordana Jovanovic, the special issue includes a set of introductory reflections from Jerome Bruner on “The Uneasy Relation of Culture and Mind.” A further 10 articles explore various aspects of Vygotsky’s life and work, including the role of history in his work, an examination of the ban on his works in Russia, and his time as a theatre critic. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

Guest editorial: “Vygotsky in his, our and future times,” by Gordana Jovanovic. No abstract provided.

Introductory Reflections: “The uneasy relation of culture and mind,” by Jerome Bruner. No abstract provided.

“Vicissitudes of history in Vygotsky’s cultural-historical theory,” by Gordana Jovanovic. The abstract reads,

The aim of this article is to explore the ways and forms in which history is present, represented and used in Vygotsky’s theorizing. Given the fact that Vygotsky’s theory is usually described as a cultural-historical theory, the issue of history is necessarily implicated in the theory itself. However, there is still a gap between history as implicated in the theory and an explicit theorizing of history – both in Vygotsky’s writings and in Vygotskian scholarship. Therefore it is expected that it would be fruitful to shed light on some possible pathways that can bridge this gap. The prevailing theoretical role of history in Vygotsky’s theory is to serve as a general framework which provides tools for the development of higher psychic functions. Thus, history is recognized as a formative context of psychic life. Further, history appears in Vygotsky’s writings also as a projected better future. All these uses of history presuppose an idea of history as linear progress. But Vygotsky also argues for a stronger epistemological claim – that history is the most powerful explanatory principle. After conceptual and theoretical reflection on history, some limitations of Vygotsky’s historicizing of the history of psychic development will be pointed out and related to general epistemological problems of historicizing. Finally, Vygotsky’s cultural-historical theory, an edifice built up in the 1930s but relying on the rich philosophical and psychological legacy available up to that time, will be positioned against the pluralistic, postmodern and hermeneutic turn in contemporary social and human sciences.

“Mediation: An expansion of the socio-cultural gaze,” by Harry Daniels. The abstract reads, Continue reading HHS Special Issue: “Vygotsky in His, Our and Future Times”

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Special Issue: “Ordering the Social: History of the Human Sciences in Modern China”

The March 2015 issue of the journal History of Science is a special issue on “Ordering the Social: History of the Human Sciences in Modern China.” Guest edited by Howard Chiang (right), the issue includes several articles that may be of interest to AHP readers. Among these articles are ones on Pavlovianism during the Maoist era, the origins of zaolian (early love) as a form of juvenile delinquency, and debates over koro. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

Editorial: “Ordering the Social: History of the Human Sciences in Modern China,” by Howard Chiang. No abstract.

“Disciplining China with the scientific study of the state: Lu Zhengxiang and the Chinese Social and Political Science,” by John H. Feng. The abstract reads,

This paper discusses the Chinese Social and Political Science Association and its impact on China’s inclination to Wilsonianism. The CSPSA was founded in Beijing in 1915. Two primary supporters were Lu Zhengxiang (China’s Foreign Minister) and Paul S. Reinsch (American Minister to China during the Wilson administration). It chose English as its official language in order to have dialogues with American scholars. The CSPSA had strong interests in constitutionalism, international relations and international law. As it pondered how to discipline China, it demonstrated its inclination to the American scientific study of the state. Epistemologically, this led to the political converge between China and the US during the Great War.

“From palaeoanthropology in China to Chinese palaeoanthropology: Science, imperialism and nationalism in North China, 1920–1939,” by Hsiao-pei Yen. The abstract reads,

Before the establishment of the Cenozoic Research Laboratory (Xinshengdai yanjiushi) in 1929, paleoanthropological research in China was mainly in the hands of foreigners, individual explorers as well as organized teams. This paper describes the development of paleoanthropology in China in the 1920s and 1930s and its transformation from the international phase to an indigenized one. It focuses on the international elite scientist network in metropolitan Beijing whose activities and discoveries led to such transformation. The bond between members of the network was built on shared scientific devotion, joint field experience, and social activities. However, such scientific internationalism was not immune from imperialistic and nationalistic interests and competition as most members of the network also belonged to institutions of the dominant hegemonic powers, such as the French Paleontological Mission and the American Museum of Natural History, operating by the logic of international system of imperialism. While these foreign institutions enjoyed relatively unrestricted access to the Chinese frontier and Mongolia in the early 20th century to discover and collect for the establishment of what they saw as universal scientific knowledge, in the late 1920s rising Chinese and Mongolian nationalisms began to interpret these activities as violations to their national sovereignty. The idea of establishing a “Chinese” institute to carry out paleoanthropological research in China took shape in such milieu. This paper highlights the entanglement between scientific internationalism, imperialism, nationalism in China in the early 20th century and the complicated process of knowledge formation at various national and personal levels.

“Pavlovianism in China: Politics and differentiation across scientific disciplines in the Maoist era,” by Zhipeng Gao. The abstract reads, Continue reading Special Issue: “Ordering the Social: History of the Human Sciences in Modern China”

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History of the Human Sciences in Isis

The most recent issue of Isis, the journal of the History of Science Society, includes two articles on the history of the human sciences. Leila Zenderland explores the work of Max Weinreich (above) on culture and personality at the Yiddish Scientific Institute, while in the issue’s Focus section, Global Currents in National Histories of Science: The “Global Turn” and the History of Science in Latin America, Julia Rodriguez looks at the historiography of the human sciences in Latin America. Full titles, authors, and abstracts – along with human science related book reviews – follow below.

“Social Science as a “Weapon of the Weak”: Max Weinreich, the Yiddish Scientific Institute, and the Study of Culture, Personality, and Prejudice,” by Leila Zenderland. The abstract reads,

This essay examines Max Weinreich’s efforts to turn “culture and personality studies” into social and psychological weapons that could be used to combat the effects of prejudice. It focuses on language choice, audience, and purpose in the production of such knowledge by and for a Yiddish-speaking Eastern European population. During the 1930s, Weinreich led the Yiddish Scientific Institute, a research organization headquartered in Poland but affiliated with neither a state nor a university. He was profoundly influenced by a year spent at Yale and a trip through the American South visiting segregated African-American universities. In his 1935 study Der veg tsu undzer yugnt [The Way to Our Youth], Weinreich blended European, Soviet, American, and African-American research traditions to examine the effects of prejudice on child and adolescent development; he also considered the ways members of “despised minorities” could use such science. In 1940 he fled to New York and in 1946 published Hitler’s Professors, the first book analyzing the uses of the human sciences to advance Nazi state-sponsored antisemitism. In examining Weinreich’s Yiddish and English writings, this essay explores the broader relationship of social science not only to state power but also to statelessness and powerlessness.

“Beyond Prejudice and Pride: The Human Sciences in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Latin America,” by Julia Rodriguez. The abstract reads,

Grappling with problematics of status and hierarchy, recent literature on the history of the human sciences in Latin America has gone through three overlapping phases. First, the scholarship has reflected a dialogue between Latin American scientists and their European colleagues, characterized by the “center/periphery” model of scientific diffusion. Next, scholars drew on postcolonial theory to undermine the power of the “center” and to recover the role of local agents, including both elites and subalterns. In the wake of numerous studies embracing both models, the way has been cleared to look at multiple dimensions simultaneously. Histories of the human sciences in the complex multicultural societies of Latin America provide an unusually direct path to integration. Moreover, this dynamic and multilayered approach has the potential to address ambivalences about authority and power that have characterized previous analyses of the production and application of knowledge about the human condition.

Book Reviews
Peter Lamont. Extraordinary Beliefs: A Historical Approach to a Psychological Problem. Review by: Michael Pettit.

Nicolas Langlitz. Neuropsychedelia: The Revival of Hallucinogen Research since the Decade of the Brain. Review by: Chris Elcock

Melissa M. Littlefield; Jenell M. Johnson, eds. The Neuroscientific Turn: Transdisciplinarity in the Age of the Brain. Review by: Stephen Jacyna

Paul Wouters, Anne Beaulieu, Andrea Scharnhorst, & Sally Wyatt. (Eds.). Virtual Knowledge: Experimenting in the Humanities and the Social Sciences. Review by: Joshua W. Clegg.

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Special Issue: History of Psychology in Canada!

The May 2013 edition of Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne is a special issue dedicated to the history of psychology in Canada. Guested by Adrian Brock, the issue includes a number of articles exploring different facets of psychology’s development in the nation. Articles explore the history of the first generation of women in Canadian psychology, the relationship between the women’s movement and eugenics in Alberta, the role of culture in the history of psychology, and the life of the first Canadian-born president of the American Psychological Association, John Wallace Baird.  Full article titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

Full Disclosure: This special issue includes articles co-authored by AHP’s editor and faculty advisor, as well as two of AHP’s contributors.

“Introduction to the special issue on the history of psychology in Canada,” by Adrian C. Brock. The abstract reads,

This article begins by pointing out that history and theory of psychology is much stronger in Canada than it is elsewhere. However, the history of psychology in Canada itself tends to be neglected. This situation is linked to the dominance of American psychology and the movement to establish a distinctively Canadian psychology that differs from psychology in the United States. It is argued that this movement can help to encourage more interest in the history of psychology in Canada and vice versa. It is also suggested that addressing the neglect of the history of psychology in Canada will lead to more internationalization, not less.

“Reconstructing the experiences of first generation women in Canadian psychology,” Pelin Gul, Anastasia Korosteliov, Lori Caplan, Laura C. Ball, Jennifer L. Bazar, Elissa N. Rodkey, Jacy L. Young, Kate Sheese, and Alexandra Rutherford. The abstract reads,

To date, the historiography on women in Canadian psychology has been relatively sparse. Continue reading Special Issue: History of Psychology in Canada!

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Western Madnesses Displace Indigenous Kinds?

Ethan WattersThe New York Times has published an interesting essay by Ethan Watters claiming that the spread of Western psychiatry has paradoxically spread characteristically Western kinds of mental illness to other parts of the world where they were rarely seen before.

The essay is adapted from Watters forthcoming book, Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche.

According to Watters,

For more than a generation now, we in the West have aggressively spread our modern knowledge of mental illness around the world. We have done this in the name of science, believing that our approaches reveal the biological basis of psychic suffering and dispel prescientific myths and harmful stigma. There is now good evidence to suggest that in the process of teaching the rest of the world to think like us, we’ve been exporting our Western “symptom repertoire” as well. Continue reading Western Madnesses Displace Indigenous Kinds?

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Historiographic essay: “Whither history?”

In her presidential address to the American Historical Association, Gabrielle Spiegel (pictured right) equated the problematic ungroundedness of postmodern histories with the psychological impossibility of feeling grounded following the Holocaust:

Both for those who survived and for those who came after, the Holocaust appears to exceed the representational capacity of language, and thus to cast suspicion on the ability of words to convey reality. And for the second generation [those who inherited the wound but did not experience its infliction], the question is not even how to speak but, more profoundly, if one has a right to speak, a delegitimation of the speaking self that, turned outward, interrogates the authority, the privilege of all speech. (Spiegel, 2009, p. 7)

It is for this reason, Spiegel suggests, that the historians who came of age in the 1970s and 1980s became suspicious of their ability to represent truth. Not only were the events of the Holocaust fundamentally indescribable to any adequate degree, but the language itself seemed stricken to silence. There were simply no words to describe the reality. Only grammars — conjugations of understood essences — retained their capacity to convey; to construct meaning.

Pretensions of intellectual objectivity died at Auschwitz. Or rather, argues Spiegel, they died following innumerable failed attempts to describe what it was like to have been there. And this had a fundamental impact on what it meant to do history.

the emergence of poststructuralism under the sign of the linguistic turn bespoke the end of the confident, optimistic era of European Enlightenment with its faith in the continual progress of human history under the aegis of scientific learning and methods and, not least among them, scientific history. (Spiegel, 2009, p. 8 )

A new call was thus raised; rather than celebrating individual events or actors, context became king. For thirty years, social and cultural histories reigned.

But there has recently been some disgruntlement.  Analyses of language and its constructions are beginning to sound hollow. Continue reading Historiographic essay: “Whither history?”

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