Mental Health in China and the Chinese Diaspora: Historical and Cultural Perspectives

A new book will interest AHP readers. Edited by Harry Minas, Mental Health in China and the Chinese Diaspora: Historical and Cultural Perspectives is described as follows:

Following on the previous volume, Mental Health in Asia and the Pacific, which was co-edited with Milton Lewis, this book explores historical and contemporary developments in mental health in China and Chinese immigrant populations. It presents the development of mental health policies and services from the 19th Century until the present time, offering a clear view of the antecedents of today’s policies and practice. Chapters focus on traditional Chinese conceptions of mental illness, the development of the Chinese mental health system through the massive political, social, cultural and economic transformations in China from the late 19th Century to the present, and the mental health of Chinese immigrants in several countries with large Chinese populations. China’s international political and economic influence and its capabilities in mental health science and innovation have grown rapidly in recent decades. So has China’s engagement in international institutions, and in global economic and health development activities. Chinese immigrant communities are to be found in almost all countries all around the world. Readers of this book will gain an understanding of how historical, cultural, economic, social, and political contexts have influenced the development of mental health law, policies and services in China and how these contexts in migrant receiving countries shape the mental health of Chinese immigrants. 

Call for Contributions: Special Issue on 70 years of the Inter-American Society of Psychology (SIP)

A call for submission for a special issue of the Interamerican Journal of Psychology (IJP)/Revista Interamericana de Psicología (RIP) celebrating the 70th anniversary of Interamerican Society of Psychology (ISP) has been issued.

Special Theme 2021: 70 years of the Inter-American Society of Psychology (SIP)

The Interamerican Journal of Psychology (IJP)/Revista Interamericana de Psicología (RIP) during 2021 calls the research community to send contributions related to the 70 years of the Interamerican Society of Psychology (ISP), created on December 17, 1951, in Mexico City. Papers can address various issues directly or indirectly related to the history of the Society, from a critical perspective, including regional and international contributions of the psychological work to our America.

Articles can be submitted in the four official languages of ISP (English, Spanish, Portuguese and French), from December 1, 2020 until July 31, 2021. For more information, see the guidelines for authors:

The works will be evaluated with speed and preference by the thematic editor Ana María Talak and the guest editors Erika Lourenço and David Robinson, and they will all be published during 2021, immediately upon acceptance, since the IJP/ RIP is a journal of continuous publication.

We look forward to your contributions!

Ana Maria Talak
Thematic Editor – History of Psychology
Revista Interamericana de Psicología / International Journal of Psychology

Erika Lourenço
Guest Editor – History of Psychology

David Robinson
Guest Editor – History of Psychology

Jennifer Bazar, PhD is the new Assistant Director of the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology

Congratulations to Jennifer Bazar (an AHP alum!) on her appointment as Assistant Director of the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology. As noted in the announcement of Bazar’s appointment: “Dr. Bazar’s experience and expertise will be a wonderful addition to the Center and to the greater campus community,” says the Center’s Executive Director, Dr. Cathy Faye. “We are pleased to welcome her to Akron.”

Collecting to understand: the art of children and the medical-pedagogical approach in twentieth-century Portugal

AHP readers may be interested in a new article in History of Psychiatry, “Collecting to understand: the art of children and the medical-pedagogical approach in twentieth-century Portugal,” by João Pedro Fróis. Abstract:

In this essay I look at the art of children as a tool in the medical-pedagogical approach, as proposed by the founder of child psychiatry in Portugal, Vítor Fontes (1893–1979). First, the topic of the art of children is introduced, and the second part focuses on the model of medical pedagogy as it was practised in Portugal. The third and fourth parts present Fontes’s own investigations on the drawings of children with intellectual disabilities under observation at the Instituto Médico-Pedagógico António Aurélio da Costa Ferreira (IAACF) in Lisbon. In the conclusion it is argued that Fontes contributed to the development of child psychiatry in Portugal by showing that children’s art can mirror their cognitive and emotional development.

“The Sleeping Beauty of the Brain”: Memory, MIT, Montreal, and the Origins of Neuroscience

An article in the most recent issue of Isis will be of interest to AHP readers: ““The Sleeping Beauty of the Brain”: Memory, MIT, Montreal, and the Origins of Neuroscience,” by Yvan Prkachin. Abstract:

This essay traces the simultaneous development of two distinct efforts to unify the brain sciences in the twentieth century—one originating at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) and the other at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Both efforts coalesced around investigations of memory but displayed profoundly different disciplinary styles. At the MNI, investigations of memory loss in surgical patients crystallized a form of brain research that eventually became the paradigm of interdisciplinarity for the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO). At MIT, meanwhile, the biophysicist Francis Schmitt aimed to transcend the different brain and mind sciences by discovering a “memory molecule” akin to DNA—this became the basis for his Neurosciences Research Program (NRP). While both organizations failed to achieve the unification they desired, IBRO and the NRP did achieve a social unification of the brain sciences in the 1960s. IBRO established much of the social capital for the Society for Neuroscience, and the NRP promoted the possibilities of a new transdisciplinary “neuroscience.” Beyond reframing the history of modern neuroscience, the story of the MNI/IBRO, the NRP, and the problem of memory can help us to examine different and contrasting approaches to “interdisciplinarity” in twentieth-century science.

Voices in the History of Madness: Personal and Professional Perspectives on Mental Health and Illness

The new edited volume, Voices in the History of Madness: Personal and Professional Perspectives on Mental Health and Illness, may interest AHP readers. Edited by Robert Ellis, Sarah Kendal, and Steven J. Taylor, the book is described as follows:

This book presents new perspectives on the multiplicity of voices in the histories of mental ill-health. In the thirty years since Roy Porter called on historians to lower their gaze so that they might better understand patient-doctor roles in the past, historians have sought to place the voices of previously silent, marginalised and disenfranchised individuals at the heart of their analyses. Today, the development of service-user groups and patient consultations have become an important feature of the debates and planning related to current approaches to prevention, care and treatment. This edited collection of interdisciplinary chapters offers new and innovative perspectives on mental health and illness in the past and covers a breadth of opinions, views, and interpretations from patients, practitioners, policy makers, family members and wider communities. Its chronology runs from the early modern period to the twenty-first century and includes international and transnational analyses from Europe, North America, Asia and Africa, drawing on a range of sources and methodologies including oral histories, material culture, and the built environment.

Interpreting Mach: Critical Essays

A new edited volume may interest AHP readers, Interpreting Mach: Critical Essays. Book description and table of contents follow below.

This volume presents new essays on the work and thought of physicist, psychologist, and philosopher Ernst Mach. Moving away from previous estimations of Mach as a pre-logical positivist, the essays reflect his rehabilitation as a thinker of direct relevance to debates in the contemporary philosophies of natural science, psychology, metaphysics, and mind. Topics covered include Mach’s work on acoustical psychophysics and physics; his ideas on analogy and the principle of conservation of energy; the correct interpretation of his scheme of ‘elements’ and its relationship to his ‘historical-critical’ method; the relationship of his thought to movements such as American pragmatism, realism, and neutral monism, as well as to contemporary figures such as Friedrich Nietzsche; and the reception and influence of his works in Germany and Austria, particularly by the Vienna Circle.

Table of Contents
Introduction: A New Mach for a New Millennium John Preston

  1. Ernst Mach’s Piano and the Making of a Psychophysical Imaginarium Alexandra Hui
  2. Mother’s Milk, and More: On the Role of Ernst Mach’s Relational Physics in the Development of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity Richard Staley
  3. Meaningful Work: Ernst Mach on Energy Conservation Daan Wegener
  4. Mach on Analogy in Science S. G. Sterrett
  5. Ernst Mach’s Enlightenment Pragmatism: History and Economy in Scientific Cognition Thomas Uebel
  6. On the Philosophical and Scientific Relationship between Ernst Mach and William James Alexander Klein
  7. Ernst Mach and Friedrich Nietzsche: On the Prejudices of Scientists Pietro Gori
  8. Abstraction, Pragmatism, and History in Mach’s Economy of Science Lydia Patton
  9. Holding the Hand of History: Mach on the History of Science, the Analysis of Sensations, and the Economy of Thought Luca Guzzardi
  10. Ernst Mach and the Vienna Circle: A Re-evaluation of the Reception and Influence of his Work Friedrich Stadler
  11. Narratives Divided: The Austrian and the German Mach Michael Stöltzner
  12. Phenomenalism, or Neutral Monism, in Mach’s Analysis of Sensations? John Preston
  13. The Case for Mach’s Neutral Monism Erik C. Banks.

From Melancholia to Depression: Disordered Mood in Nineteenth-Century Psychiatry

A new open access book, From Melancholia to Depression: Disordered Mood in Nineteenth-Century Psychiatry by Åsa Jansson, will interest AHP readers. The book is described as follows:

This open access book maps a crucial but neglected chapter in the history of psychiatry: how was melancholia transformed in the nineteenth century from traditional melancholy madness into a modern biomedical mood disorder, paving the way for the emergence of clinical depression as a psychiatric illness in the twentieth century? At a time when the prevalence of mood disorders and antidepressant consumption are at an all-time high, the need for a comprehensive historical understanding of how modern depressive illness came into being has never been more urgent. This book addresses a significant gap in existing scholarly literature on melancholia, depression, and mood disorders by offering a contextualised and critical perspective on the history of melancholia in the first decades of psychiatry, from the 1830s until the turn of the twentieth century

Nation on the Couch: Inside South Africa’s Mind

A new book from Wahbie Long may interest AHP readers, Nation on the Couch: Inside South Africa’s Mind. Description from the publisher:

Provocative, insightful and brilliantly written by Professor Wahbie Long, Nation on the Couch explores life in our beloved country through the lens of psychoanalysis. By focusing on the idea of a ‘political unconscious’, it argues that there is much to be learnt from excavating the inner life of South Africans, which can illuminate the external problems that beset us from all sides. It will challenge readers to rethink the way we see ourselves, why we do what we do and why we are who we are. 

Fanon’s Psychiatric Hospital as a Waystation to Freedom

A recent piece in Theory, Culture and Society may interest AHP readers: “Fanon’s Psychiatric Hospital as a Waystation to Freedom” by Nancy Luxon. Abstract:

What does it mean to develop psychiatric method in a colonial context? Specifically, if the aims of psychiatry have traditionally been couched in the language of ‘psychic integration’ and ‘healing’, then what does it mean to practice psychiatry within structures that organize and reinforce the exclusions of colonialism? With these questions, this article examines Frantz Fanon’s psychiatric practices in light of his radical political commitments. I argue that Fanon’s innovations with the institutional form of the psychiatric hospital serve to intervene differently in psychic conflict. Notably, these changes offer different ways to diagnose and respond to patients, along with different strategies for managing psychic disintegration in colonial contexts. The result is a rethinking of the relation between material and imagined worlds, and so the emergence of the hospital as a waystation between a colonial context and a political freedom yet to come.