The Fall 2010 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences has just been released online. This issue includes articles on the development of the American Psychological Association’s code of ethics, as well as the relationship between the Rockefeller Foundation, child study initiatives, and race. Titles, authors and abstracts follow below.
“The science of ethics: Deception, the resilient self, and the APA code of ethics, 1966–1973” by Laura Stark. The abstract reads,
This paper has two aims. The first is to shed light on a remarkable archival source, namely survey responses from thousands of American psychologists during the 1960s in which they described their contemporary research practices and discussed whether the practices were “ethical.” The second aim is to examine the process through which the American Psychological Association (APA) used these survey responses to create principles on how psychologists should treat human subjects. The paper focuses on debates over whether “deception” research was acceptable. It documents how members of the committee that wrote the principles refereed what was, in fact, a disagreement between two contemporary research orientations. The paper argues that the ethics committee ultimately built the model of “the resilient self” into the APA’s 1973 ethics code. At the broadest level, the paper explores how prevailing understandings of human nature are written into seemingly universal and timeless codes of ethics.
“Local knowledge, state power, and the science of industrial labor relations: William Leiserson, David Saposs, and American labor economics in the interwar years” by Jessica Wang. The abstract reads,
Recent scholarship has frequently emphasized modern states’ use of social science to impose universalized conceptions of rationality and order upon diverse, highly localized settings. The New Deal era experiences of William M. Leiserson and David J. Saposs, however, provide an analytical alternative. As students of the pioneering labor economist John R. Commons, Leiserson and Saposs sought to create mechanisms for state oversight of industrial labor relations that recognized local practices and arrangements. Although their approach failed to take hold within the National Labor Relations Board, localized institutional and political contingencies, and not a hegemonic modernism, account best for their frustrated aspirations in the late 1930s.
“A special relationship: Race, child study, and Rockefeller philanthropy” by Katharine S. Milar. The abstract reads,
In 1928, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial granted funds to the University of Cincinnati to establish a child study and parent education program for African Americans. This paper traces the origin of the idea for this program to a special relationship between the family of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., and Spelman College, an African American women’s college in Atlanta, Georgia. This relationship embodied Rockefeller’s interest in women and children, in Baptist charities, in higher education (especially in the South), and race. The case study of this relationship addresses the larger question: To what purpose was the African American woman to be educated?