Seeking double personality: Nakamura Kokyo’s work in abnormal psychology in early 20th?century Japan

AHP readers will be interested in a forthcoming piece in Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences now available online: “Seeking double personality: Nakamura Kokyo’s work in abnormal psychology in early 20th?century Japan,” by Yu?chuan Wu. Abstract:

This paper examines Nakamura Koky?’s study of a woman with a split personality who lived in his home as a maid from 1917 until her death in 1940. She was his indispensable muse and assistant in his efforts to promote abnormal psychology and psychotherapy. This paper first explores the central position of multiple personality in Nakamura’s theory of the subconscious, which was largely based on the model of dissociation. It then examines how it became a central issue in Nakamura’s disputes with religions including the element of spirit possession, which invoked Western psychical research to modernize their doctrines. While both were concerned with the subconscious and alterations in personality, Nakamura’s psychological view was distinguished from those spiritual understandings by his emphasis on individual memories, particularly those that were traumatic, and hysteria. The remaining sections of the paper will examine Nakamura’s views on memory and hysteria, which conflicted with both the academic mainstream and the established cultural beliefs. This conflict may partly explain the limited success of Nakamura’s academic and social campaigns.

April 2020 HHS: Critique of Psychometrics, Review Symposium on Leys’s The Ascent of Affect, and More

The April 2020 issue of History of the Human Sciences is now online. Full details below.

“The fashionable scientific fraud: Collingwood’s critique of psychometrics,” Joel Michell. Abstract:

In his review of Charles Spearman’s The Nature of ‘Intelligence’ (1923), R. G. Collingwood launched an attack upon psychometrics that was expanded in his Essay on Metaphysics (1940). Although underrated by friend and foe alike, Collingwood’s critique identified a number of defects in the thinking of psychometricians that subsequently became entrenched. However, his main complaint was that psychology generally (and, by implication, psychometrics) was a ‘fashionable scientific fraud’. This charge was inspired by his more general views on logic and metaphysics, which, however, as I argue, are logically unsustainable. Ironically, other elements of his philosophy – his ‘fallacy of calculation’ and concept of ‘scale of forms’ – are relevant to psychometrics and tip the scales in favour of his otherwise unwarranted charge.

“‘Polynesians’ in the Brazilian hinterland? Sociohistorical perspectives on skulls, genomics, identity, and nationhood,” Ricardo Ventura Santos, Bronwen Douglas. Abstract:

In 1876, Brazilian physical anthropologists De Lacerda and Peixoto published findings of detailed anatomical and osteometric investigation of the new human skull collection of Rio de Janeiro’s Museu Nacional. They argued not only that the Indigenous ‘Botocudo’ in Brazil might be autochthonous to the New World, but also that they shared analogic proximity to other geographically very distant human groups – the New Caledonians and Australians – equally attributed limited cranial capacity and resultant inferior intellect. Described by Blumenbach and Morton, ‘Botocudo’ skulls were highly valued scientific specimens in 19th-century physical anthropology. A recent genomic study has again related ‘the Botocudo’ to Indigenous populations from the other side of the world by identifying ‘Polynesian ancestry’ in two of 14 Botocudo skulls held at the Museu Nacional. This article places the production of scientific knowledge in multidisciplinary, multiregional historical perspectives. We contextualize modern narratives in the biological sciences relating ‘Botocudo’ skulls and other cranial material from lowland South America to Polynesia, Melanesia, and Australia. With disturbing irony, such studies often unthinkingly reinscribe essentialized historic racial categories such as ‘the Botocudos’, ‘the Polynesians’, and ‘the Australo-Melanesians’. We conclude that the fertile alliance of intersecting sciences that is revolutionizing understandings of deep human pasts must be informed by sensitivity to the deep histories of terms, classification schemes, and the disciplines themselves.

“Ethics of security: A genealogical introduction,” Andrea Rossi. Abstract:

This article analyses the set of ethical questions underlying the emergence of the modern politics of security, as articulated, in particular, in the work of Thomas Hobbes. An ethic is here understood – in line with its ancient philosophical use and the interpretation advanced by authors such as Michel Foucault and Pierre Hadot – as a domain of reflections and practices related to the cultivation and conversion of the self (ask?sis, metanoia). The article aims to demonstrate that, besides attending to the physical safety of the state and its citizens, modern apparatuses of security are also crucially implicated in the formation of their subjects as ethical and autonomous individuals. To substantiate this thesis, the article first illustrates how, since the first appearance of the term in the vocabulary of Western thought – and in Seneca’s work in particular – theories of security have been intimately tied to the cultivation of the self. It thus interprets Hobbes’s reflections on the subject as the upshot of a substantive, if implicit, re-articulation of Seneca’s ethic of security, by focusing on the two authors’ respective understandings of (a) autonomy, (b) the world, (c) ascesis, and (d) politics. Overall, it is suggested that the differences between the two authors testify to a wider political-historical shift: in modern regimes of governmentality, the ethical dimension of security no longer defines the rightful exercise of political power, but rather appears as an object of social and economic governance.

“Natural law as early social thought: The recovery of natural law for sociology,” Angela Leahy. Abstract:

Natural law contains much social thought that predates sociology and related disciplines, and can be seen as part of the prehistory of the human sciences. Key concerns of natural law thinkers include the achievement of social life and society, and the individual’s place therein. However, there is an enduring tendency within sociology to dismiss the ahistoricism and universalism of natural law, and therefore to reject natural law thought in its entirety. This article proposes an approach that rescues the sociological relevance of natural law. It draws on the respective methods of Chris Thornhill and Gary Wickham, who each seek to recover the importance of natural law for sociology. Thornhill treats natural law as a valid sociological object by focusing on its functions within society rather than engaging with its ahistorical concepts. His focus on the external functions of natural law, however, leads to a neglect of the internal conceptualisations of the social world in natural law thought. This in turn leads to a misinterpretation of Hobbes and voluntarist natural law. Wickham, on the other hand, explores in detail Hobbesian conceptions of society and the individual that Wickham argues can be utilised within contemporary sociology. This article revises Thornhill’s methodological framework in order to secure a space for the recovery of natural law as social thought. This approach allows for the recognition of natural law as an important piece of the epistemological background against which contemporary understandings of the human and society emerged.

“What was fair in actuarial fairness?,” Antonio J. Heras, Pierre-Charles Pradier, David Teira. Abstract:

In actuarial parlance, the price of an insurance policy is considered fair if customers bearing the same risk are charged the same price. The estimate of this fair amount hinges on the expected value obtained by weighting the different claims by their probability. We argue that, historically, this concept of actuarial fairness originates in an Aristotelian principle of justice in exchange (equality in risk). We will examine how this principle was formalized in the 16th century and shaped in life insurance during the following two hundred years, in two different interpretations. The Domatian account of actuarial fairness relied on subjective uncertainty: An agreement on risk was fair if both parties were equally ignorant about the chances of an uncertain event. The objectivist version grounded any agreement on an objective risk estimate drawn from a mortality table. We will show how the objectivist approach collapsed in the market for life annuities during the 18th century, leaving open the question of why we still speak of actuarial fairness as if it were an objective expected value.

Review Symposium on Ruth Leys’s The Ascent of Affect
“Must we mean what we do? – Review Symposium on Leys’s The Ascent of Affect,” Clive Barnett.

“From the ashes, a fertile opportunity for historicism – Review Symposium on Leys’s The Ascent of Affect,” Rob Boddice.

“Affect theory’s alternative genealogies – Review Symposium on Leys’s The Ascent of Affect,”
Carolyn Pedwell.


“Affect, genealogy, history – Review Symposium on Ruth Leys’s The Ascent of Affect,” Elizabeth A. Wilson.

“Reply to my commentators – Review Symposium on Leys’s The Ascent of Affect,” Ruth Leys.

Unsung Psychology Pioneers: A Content Analysis of Who Makes History (and Who Doesn’t)

A new piece in the summer 2020 issue of the American Journal of Psychology may interest AHP readers: “Unsung Psychology Pioneers: A Content Analysis of Who Makes History (and Who Doesn’t),” by Leslie D. Cramblet Alvarez, Jonah L. Leach, Jerome L. Rodriguez and K. Nicole Jones. Abstract:

Considerable evidence points to women’s absence in historical accounts of psychology. To examine current representations of women and people of color in commonly used history of psychology textbooks, a content analysis was conducted. Five textbooks were examined for the frequency of mentions of psychology pioneers in both the tables of contents and the body of the text. Coverage dedicated to men, particularly White men, outnumbered women and psychologists of color exponentially. Of the pioneers of interest examined, women received 7.1% of all mentions by name. Texts were also examined for key terms including woman, women, female/s, men, man, and male/s and coded for substantive mentions. Substantive mentions were defined as the context surrounding the term indicating a meaningful scientific contribution. Findings indicated a higher percentage of substantive mentions for man/men than woman/women and the reverse for male/s and female/s. The power of the textbook in shaping the curriculum and the importance of our curricular materials reflecting our changing student demographics are considered.

Madness in the City of Magnificent Intentions: A History of Race and Mental Illness in the Nation’s Capital

AHP readers will be interested in a recent book on the history of Washington, DC’s Saint Elizabeths Hospital: Madness in the City of Magnificent Intentions: A History of Race and Mental Illness in the Nation’s Capital by Martin Summers. The book is described as follows:

From the mid-nineteenth to the late twentieth centuries, Saint Elizabeths Hospital was one of the United States’ most important institutions for the care and treatment of the mentally ill. Founded in 1855 to treat insane soldiers and sailors as well as civilian residents in the nation’s capital, the institution became one of the country’s preeminent research and teaching psychiatric hospitals. From the beginning of its operation, Saint Elizabeths admitted black patients, making it one of the few American asylums to do so. This book is a history of the hospital and its relationship to Washington, DC’s African American community. It charts the history of Saint Elizabeths from its founding to the late-1980s, when the hospital’s mission and capabilities changed as a result of deinstitutionalization, and its transfer from the federal government to the District of Columbia. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, including patient case files, the book demonstrates how race was central to virtually every aspect of the hospital’s existence, from the ways in which psychiatrists understood mental illness and employed therapies to treat it to the ways that black patients experienced their institutionalization. The book argues that assumptions about the existence of distinctive black and white psyches shaped the therapeutic and diagnostic regimes in the hospital and left a legacy of poor treatment of African American patients, even after psychiatrists had begun to reject racialist conceptions of the psyche. Yet black patients and their communities asserted their own agency and exhibited a “rights consciousness” in large and small ways, from agitating for more equal treatment to attempting to manage the therapeutic experience.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: “Humanity Requires All the Relief Which Can Be Afforded”: The Birth of the Federal Asylum
  • Chapter 2: The Paradox of Enlightened Care: Saint Elizabeths in the Era of Moral Treatment, 1855-1877
  • Chapter 3: “From Slave to Citizen”: Race, Insanity, and Institutionalization in Post-Reconstruction Washington, DC, 1877-1900
  • Chapter 4: Care and the Color Line: Race, Rights, and the Therapeutic Experience, 1877-1900
  • Chapter 5: “Mechanisms of the Negro Mind”: Race and Dynamic Psychiatry at Saint Elizabeths, 1903-1937
  • Chapter 6: “He Is Psychotic and Always Will Be”: Racial Ambivalence and the Limits of Therapeutic Optimism, 1903-1937
  • Chapter 7: Mental Hygiene and the Limits of Reform: Saint Elizabeths in the Community, 1903-1937
  • Chapter 8: “An Example for the Rest of the Nation”: Challenging Racial Injustice at Saint Elizabeths, 1910-1955
  • Chapter 9: Whither the Negro Psyche: Integration and Its Aftermath, 1945-1970
  • Chapter 10: From Model to Emblem: Community Mental Health and Deinstitutionalization, 1963-1987
  • Conclusion

Beyond intersubjectivity in olfactory psychophysics

A set of two articles in the most recent issue of Social Studies of Science may interest AHP readers:

Beyond intersubjectivity in olfactory psychophysics I: Troubles with the Subject,” by Morana Ala?. Abstract:

This article provides an experience-oriented relational account that goes beyond a human control of the world. Rather than working with the notion of intersubjectivity (commonly evoked in sensory STS, and still conserving the subject/object opposition), the article reports on how the sense of smell affords a rethinking of our relationship with the world. It does so by challenging the assumption of olfactory ineffability as it turns to a place whose inhabitants speak about smell as a part of their everyday affairs: a laboratory of olfactory psychophysics. There, we attend to a multimodal, embodied language that participates in preparing, running and analyzing scientific experiments. While Western languages are short on specialized vocabulary for expressing olfactory qualities and it feels difficult to talk about smell, laboratory events manifest smell language in its enmeshing with the sensory realm and the world. Noticing these ties destabilizes the idea of agential subject, highlighting instead our pre-intentional sensibility, in its connection with the world. A sister article on ‘troubles with the Object’ (Ala?, 2020) continues to argue that the notion of intersubjectivity is overly narrow, highlighting our immersion in the world (rather than assuming our dominance of it).

Beyond intersubjectivity in olfactory psychophysics II: Troubles with the Object,” by Morana Ala?. Abstract:

This article takes advantage of the sense of smell’s peculiar spatiality to reflect on how we may render our engagement with the world other than through manipulating well-defined objects. The lived spatiality associated with olfaction is not reducible to the known parameters of ‘distant observation’ and ‘reaching toward’, familiar from the visual and tactile modalities. Instead, olfactory spatiality is one of immersion: Odors ask us to give up our dominance while we continue to be involved. The article attends to this immersive quality of the sense of smell by tracing multimodal, embodied qualities of mundane events in a laboratory of olfactory psychophysics, also considering the spatial organization of laboratory chambers, and how researchers fashion their bodies while they recognize the frailty of their enterprise. To engage these complexities, the article illustrates an exercise in experimenting with re-production, re-enactment and re-experiencing. While the exercise functions as a reflection on how to orient a laboratory study to non-ocular dimensions of science, the article, in parallel, enquires into semiotic articulations of smell experiences. By pointing out how smell language, rather than being ‘mute’, speaks the spatial quality of our olfactory experiences, it concludes the argument against the olfactory ineffability, initiated in the sister essay on ‘troubles with the Subject’.

Chinese philosophy has long known that mental health is communal

AHP readers may be interested in a recent piece in Psyche: “Chinese philosophy has long known that mental health is communal.” Alexus McLeod writes

…an emphasis on the individual can lead us to neglect communal approaches to treatment. Often overlooked are the ways in which social norms, cultural beliefs and communal attitudes contribute to mental illness. Ancient Chinese scholars understood this well.

These thinkers recognised a number of mental and behavioural disorders as illnesses (bing), which were categorised and discussed in the earliest-known medical text in China, the Huangdi Neijing Lingshu Jing (the oldest parts of which date to the 4th century BCE). This text describes a number of mental illnesses, most prominently dian, marked by ‘unhappiness, headache, red eyes and a troubled mind’, and kuang, marked by ‘manic forgetfulness, flying into rages’ and ‘wild activity’, among other symptoms. Early Chinese medical scholars understood such mental illnesses to have a number of contributing causes, including overabundance of emotion, failure to control desires, the depletion of ‘vital energy’ from the organs – and the community to which one belongs.

“Most Unusual” Beauty Contests: Nordic Photographic Competitions and the Construction of a Public for German Race Science, 1926–1935

AHP readers will be interested in a recent piece in the latest issue of Isis: ““Most Unusual” Beauty Contests: Nordic Photographic Competitions and the Construction of a Public for German Race Science, 1926–1935,” by Andrew D. Evans. Abstract:

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, professional anthropologists and prominent race scientists in Germany served as judges in a series of mail-in photographic competitions designed to identify the most representative examples of the so-called Nordic race. This essay examines the interactions between judges and audience in three of these contests. Race scientists and entrants collaborated to construct a vision of the Nordic race as primarily male and middle and upper class. More important, the contests served to configure the very categories of “science” and “lay public” for the new discipline of race science (Rassenkunde), setting them in an unequal relationship to each other. Race scientists portrayed their audience as the entire German people, or Volk, which they represented as desperately in need of racial knowledge that only experts in Rassenkunde could provide. Rather than breaking down divisions between race scientists and the public, the collaborative process of the contests served to construct those very categories.

Special Issue: Measurement, Self-tracking and the History of Science

A special issue of History of Science dedicated to “Measurement, Self-tracking and the History of Science” will be of interest to AHP readers. Full details below.

“Measurement, self-tracking and the history of science: An introduction,” Fenneke Sysling. Abstract:

This article introduces the papers contained in this special issue and explores a new field of interest in the history of science: that of measurement and self-making. In this special issue, we aim to show that a focus on self-tracking and individualized measurement provides insight into the ways technologies of quantification, when applied to individual bodies and selves, have introduced new notions of autonomy, responsibility, citizenship, and the possibility of self-improvement and life-course decisions. This introduction is an exploratory history of measurement and self-making, and it provides a discussion of self-tracking in the past as part of the genealogy of present-day digital self-tracking technologies. It concludes that a focus on measurement and self-making highlights the relationship between measurement and morality, the making of the ideal of an autonomous self, capable of improvement, and the relationship between autonomy and surveillance.

“Monitoring the self: François-Marc-Louis Naville and his moral tables,” Harro Maas. Abstract:

This paper examines the self-measurement and self-tracking practices of a turn-of-the-nineteenth-century Genevese pastor and pedagogical innovator, François-Marc-Louis Naville, who extensively used Benjamin Franklin’s tools of moral calculation and a lesser known tool, Marc-Antoine Jullien’s moral thermometer, to set a direction to his life and to monitor and improve his moral character. My contribution sheds light on how technologies of quantification molded notions of personal responsibility and character within an emerging utilitarian context. I situate Naville’s use of these tools within his work as a pastor in a parish of the (then occupied) Republic of Geneva and within the Genevese and Swiss pedagogical reform movement of the early nineteenth century. I provide a detailed examination of how Naville used and adapted Franklin’s and Jullien’s tools of moral accounting for his own moral and religious purposes. Time, God’s most precious gift to man, served Naville as the ultimate measure of his moral worth.

““Why do we measure mankind?” Marketing anthropometry in late-Victorian Britain,” Elise Smith. Abstract:

In the late nineteenth century, British anthropometrists attempted to normalize the practice of measuring bodies as they sought to collate data about the health and racial makeup of their fellow citizens. As the country’s leading anthropometrists, Francis Galton and Charles Roberts worked to overcome suspicion about their motives and tried to establish the value of recording physical dimensions from their subjects’ perspective. For Galton, the father of the eugenics movement, the attainment of objective self-knowledge figured alongside the ranking of one’s physique and faculties against established norms. The competitive tests at Galton’s anthropometric laboratory were meant to help subjects identify their strengths and weaknesses, ultimately revealing their level of eugenic fitness. Roberts, on the other hand, saw the particular value of anthropometric data in informing economic and social policy, but capitalized on parents’ interest in their children’s growth rates to encourage regular monitoring of their physical development. While both Galton and Roberts hoped that individuals would ultimately furnish experts with their anthropometric data to analyze, they both understood that the public would need to have explained the practical purposes of such studies and to familiarize themselves with their methods. This article argues that while anthropometry did not become a fully domestic practice in this period, it became a more visible one, paving the way for individuals to take an interest in metrical evaluations of their bodies in the coming years.

“Biometrics and citizenship: Measuring diabetes in the United States in the interwar years,” Arleen Marcia Tuchman. Abstract:

In 1936, the journalist Hannah Lees published “Two Million Tightrope Walkers,” drawing attention to the significant number of people in the United States estimated to have diabetes. Focusing on how people with diabetes should live, she emphasized the importance of recording the exact values of everything they ate and avoiding all “riotous living” lest they be unable to keep careful measurements of calories, insulin, and sleep. Employing two meanings of measured – as counted and as moderate – Lees was doing more than communicating how someone might control their disease; she was also calling for a “controlled and self-reliant citizenry.” Indeed, Lees insisted that diabetics who followed a regime of measurement “make a good deal better citizens than the average.” Drawing on the writings of Lees and other social commentators, I explore the link between biometrics, citizenship, and diabetes in the United States in the interwar years. In particular, I look at how this disease came to symbolize both the regimes of discipline thought to be necessary in a society moving to consumption as its economic motor, and the fears of what could happen if consumption ran amok. Biometrics, I argue, offered clinicians and patients a potent tool for measuring deviance and, potentially, for restoring a person to the “norm.”

“Guidance counseling in the mid-twentieth century United States: Measurement, grouping, and the making of the intelligent self,” Jim Wynter Porter. Abstract:

This article investigates National Defense Education Act and National Defense Education Act-related calls in the late 1950s for the training of guidance counselors, an emergent profession that was to play an instrumental role in both the measuring and placement of students in schools by “intelligence” or academic “ability”. In analyzing this mid-century push for more guidance counseling in schools, this article will first explore a foundational argument for the fairness of intelligence testing made by Educational Testing Service psychometrician William Turnbull in 1951, and then later taken up and employed by other National Defense Education Act-era advocates of testing and grouping. Secondly, this analysis will proceed to National Defense Education Act expert testimony, examining here assertions of the necessity of guidance counseling in schools, and an emergent and shared vision articulating the role guidance counseling was supposed to play in school life. A pattern or structure to this vision emerges here. According to its advocates, guidance counseling would not only inform the self-understanding of the measured individual, but it would also work to condition the ideology of individual intelligence across numerous layers of social life around the student: through peer group, through teachers and school administrators, and finally through home, family, and the wider community.

“Weighing on us all? Quantification and cultural responses to obesity in NHS Britain,” Roberta Bivins. Abstract:

How do cultures of self-quantification intersect with the modern state, particularly in relation to medical provision and health promotion? Here I explore the ways in which British practices and representations of body weight and weight management ignored or interacted with the National Health Service between 1948 and 2004. Through the lens of overweight, I examine health citizenship in the context of universal health provision funded from general taxation, and track attitudes toward “overweight” once its health implications and medical costs affected a public service as well as individual bodies and households. Looking at professional and popular discourses of overweight and obesity, I map the persistence of a highly individual culture of dietary and weight self-management in postwar Britain, and assess the degree to which it was challenged by a new measure of “obesity” – the body mass index – and by visions of an NHS burdened and even threatened by the increasing overweight of the citizens it was created to serve.

Folded Files, Unfolding Narratives: Psycho-Pedagogical Observation in the Belgian Juvenile Reformatories, 1912–1945

AHP readers may be interested in a recent piece in History of Education: “Folded Files, Unfolding Narratives: Psycho-Pedagogical Observation in the Belgian Juvenile Reformatories, 1912–1945,” by Sarah Van Ruyskensvelde & Laura Nys. Abstract:

The establishment of the Central Observation Institute in Mol in 1913 marks the introduction of scientific expertise in Belgium’s youth delinquency policy. The child at risk was subjected to a series of observations, resulting in an observation report (‘waarnemingsverslag’) that contained the psychological, moral and physical characteristics of the delinquent child, and suggested strategies for its re-education. This article focuses foremost on the technologies of observation in the first half of the twentieth century. In contrast to earlier research, the observation report is not used as a ‘key to the past’ but the article aims to historicise the observation report in its own right. Using M’charek’s concept of ‘folded object’, the process of truth being created in the observation report is discussed, paying attention to the various actors at work in the reformatory and examining the dynamic relationships between the observation institution and the juvenile reformatories in the production and use of observation files.