Milestone: 200 posts at AHP

Jeremy BurmanLast week, we reached a new milestone at AHP: 200 posts. Since my last note summarizing our continuing efforts, a number of things have changed. Indeed, the site has grown a lot since we launched it in May. But most important among these developments is the addition of our new contributor: Jenn Bazar, a fellow doctoral student who specializes in asylum history.

Several of Jenn’s contributions have been noticed by the larger community of bloggers. For example, her recent posting on the history of syphilis was linked to by the exemplary psychology blog Mind Hacks. And I have no doubt that her recent coverage of the ongoing discussion regarding the CIA’s influence on the history of psychology will garner similar attention.

I would also like to take a moment to thank my supervisor and collaborator, Chris Green, for his tireless efforts on the blog’s behalf. (In fact, Chris posted his 100th story a few days before I did!) Without his dedication to our experiment, I have no doubt that the site would not have become the resource it now is.

Before continuing on to provide the quantitative description of our recent activities, however, I would like to explain my choice of name. Friends, colleagues, and fellow bloggers have noted that the use of the term “Advances” is no longer de rigueur in history: it’s considered Whiggish, suggesting that every additional contribution somehow takes us closer to a “true” understanding of “what really happened.” That’s obviously not what I intended.

When I chose the name, I wanted to allude to the notion of “Vection.” (Change along a lineage given a particular context.) In this sense, we can indeed speak of progress in the doing of history: there is no predetermined goal, or final truth, toward which our efforts aspire. But there is discernible and consecutive change; movement, constrained by physical evidence (i.e., archival material, interviews, published texts, etc). And it is in this sense that AHP is intended to help advance history: by bringing together efforts from the various allied disciplines and collecting them into one place, from which further investigations can be launched. There is no finalism here, nor teleology; just continuous “progress from.” (More pragmatically, I also wanted an “a-name” so the site would appear at the top of other sites’ blogrolls.)

It is with this notion of “progress from” in mind that I report the following figures as a reflection of our own advances over the past few months.

The site has shown slow but almost continuous growth since the start of the academic year, accepting some inevitable variability due to visit frequency and excluding an anticipated drop in numbers over the holiday break. In short, AHP is now read every day by over 100 individual subscribers, peaking Saturday at an all-time high of 115. (Subscribe here by adding our free syndication feed to your RSS Reader.) The most popular posts among subscribers are:

  1. The role of history of Kuhn’s philosophy
  2. Alterations to DSM “unscientific and arbitrary”
  3. Repressed memory challenge is met

The site is also visited daily by 90+ non-subscribers. Our various annotated bibliographies remain popular with this group, several having been linked to from Wikipedia, but a large number of non-subscribers check in with recent material too. (The resources describing the scholarly histories of LSD, Cannabis, and Schizophrenia continue to attract large numbers of referrals, which then translate into page views across the entire site.)

Within the community of bloggers, the site has garnered roughly 100 responses, as tracked by Technorati. We are also starting to be linked-to by course websites (e.g., Ron Sheese‘s introductory course at York University), student groups (e.g., the History and Theory of Psychology Student Network), and scholarly societies (e.g., the Jean Piaget Society). This encouragement has once again reaffirmed our belief in the value of our experiment.

As always, we thank you for your continued support. Should you wish to comment on something we post, please feel free to do so using the textbox at the bottom of the page. (References to related material, with a short blurb describing the relevance of each piece to the topic, are particularly welcome.)

About Jeremy Burman

Jeremy Trevelyan Burman is a senior doctoral student in York University’s Department of Psychology, specializing in the history of developmental psychology and its theory (especially that pertaining to Jean Piaget). Prior to returning to academia, he was a producer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

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