History of Science Society: Day 2

John BurnhamThe second full day of sessions at the History of Science Society (HSS) conference in Arlington VA saw a number of talks connected with the history of psychology. Top of the bill was John Burnham’s (Ohio St. U.) presentation on “accident-proneness” in Germany and America. This talk was the distinguished lecture of the Forum for the History of Human Science (FHHS), a special interest group of HSS. The FHHS also announced its 2007 award winners. For best article, Jefferson Pooley (Muhlenberg Coll., PA) won for “Fifteen Pages that Shook the Field: Personal Influence, Edward Shils and the Remembered History of Mass Communication Research,” published in Annals of the American Academy Political and Social Sciences (2006, 608, 130-156). The John C. Burnham Early Career Award went to Howard Hsueh-Hao Chiang (Princetion U.) for “Effecting Science, Affecting Medicine: Homosexuality, the Kinsey Reports, and the Contested Boundaries of Psychopathology in the United States, 1948-1965.”

There was also a session on asylum history, featuring talks by Jennifer Bazar (York U.) on post-mortem examination of patients at the old Toronto asylum, Eleanor Mayer (U. Penn.) on “Law and the Asylum in Pennsylvania 1900-1990,” and Elizabeth Williams (Oklahoma St. U.) on the use of diatetics as a treatment in 19th-century French asylums. Matt Reed (Keck Graduate Inst.) served as discussant for the session.

Other interesting presentations included Megan Glick’s (Yale U.) “White Chimpanzees: Primatology as Eugenic Practice in the Work of Robert Mearns Yerkes,” Michael Pettit’s (York U.) “The Unobserved But Observing Observer: The Psychologist as Deceptive Performer and the Search for Natural Responses,” and Naamah Akavia’s (UCLA) “Subjectivity in Motion: Hermann Rorschach’s Inkblot Test and the Motif of Movement in Psychiatry and Aesthetics.”

About Christopher Green

Professor of Psychology at York University (Toronto). Former editor of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Creator of the "Classics in the History of Psychology" website and of the "This Week in the History of Psychology" podcast series.