New Issue of History of Psychology

SokalA new issue of History of Psychology has just been published. The issue features three all new research articles.

The first article is authored by Kieran McNally, a post-doctoral student in the Theory and History of Psychology program at University College Dublin. The abstract to McNally’s article, “Eugene Bleuler’s As Four,” reads as follows:

One hundred years have passed since Eugene Bleuler first coined the term schizophrenia. In that time, a simple mnemonic, the Four As, has come to distort his complex descriptive pathology. However, at no stage did Bleuler give precedence to the Four As or describe them in such a fashion. The Four As are a caricatured representation of Bleuler’s schizophrenia that distorts the later conceptualization of schizophrenia. Despite historical attempts to signal this error, it remains virulent in the schizophrenia literature, masquerading as historical fact. This article corrects this distortion and clarifies the precise relationship of the Four As to Bleuler’s thinking. It discusses their emergence and persistence, and draws attention to Bleuler’s emphasis of other important symptoms—most notably splitting.

The second article, “Teaching psychology to jurists: Initiatives and reactions prior to World War I,” by Annette Mülberger, explores the relationship between psychology and criminal law in the early twentieth century. The abstract reads:

This article deals with the kind of psychology suggested for jurists that was thought to be necessary training for their work. An analysis of the content of two textbooks by Otto Lipmann and Karl Marbe reveals that such teaching activity involves two different levels of historical analysis. On the one hand, it relates to experimental research done by psychologists on law-related issues; on the other, it concerns the professional experience psychologists accumulated by acting as expert witnesses in court. The paper investigates how psychologists presented psychology to jurists, which methods and theories they suggested as being essential for juristic training and professional performance, and whether jurists appreciated these materials and efforts. These inquiries are embedded in the debate on the history of criminal psychology, taking into account the European, particularly the German, context. The author shows how specific historical developments led to an increased exchange between experimental psychology and criminal law during the first decades of the 20th century

Finally, the third article, “James McKeen Cattell, Nicholas Murray Butler, and academic freedom at Columbia University, 1902–1923,” explores academic freedom in early twentieth century America by examining James McKeen Cattell’s dismissal from Columbia University in 1917. Authored by Michael Sokal (pictured at left), this article adds to Sokal’s already expansive body of work on Cattell. The abstract reads:

Since James McKeen Cattell’s summary dismissal from Columbia University in 1917, scholars have portrayed him as a martyr to the cause of academic freedom. Contrarily, this article argues that, for many years, Cattell’s actions threatened and even undermined his colleagues’ academic freedom much more seriously than Columbia’s dismissal violated his. To support this historical thesis, this article—based on extensive archival research—presents a “thick description” of “the fine texture of the past”: specifically, a highly detailed narrative tracing both Cattell’s increasingly unpleasant and damaging interactions with his Columbia colleagues and many aspects of the aftermath of his dismissal. It further claims that this historical approach suits this episode especially well, as it was the accumulation of these many instances of Cattell’s continuing injurious behavior that actually led to his dismissal. This article also concludes that individual personalities were in this case among the major contingencies that help shaped the course of events at Columbia

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.