The annual conference of the History of Science Society (HSS) got underway Thursday night in Arlington, VA, and held its first full day of sessions on Friday. Of interest to historians of psychology were presentations by Michael Sokal (Worcester Polytechnic Inst.) and James Capshew (Indiana U.) on the writing of scientific biography, and its relation to more contextual kinds of history. Sokal discussed his work on James McKeen Cattell, and Capshew outlined the history of biographies of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. Sokal was the founding editor of the journal History of Psychology. Capshew is the current editor. Another presentation relevant the history of psychology was Susan Groppi’s (U. California, Berkeley) paper on the rise of comparative psychology courses in the American west between 1880 and 1910. According to Groppi, animal work caught on in the state universities of the mid- and far west — California, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and the like — earlier than they did in the elite school of the eastern seaboard.
The complete set of conference abstracts can be found here.