Last month saw the publication of a special issue of the journal History of the Human Sciences on ‘Psychology and its Publics,’ which was guest edited by AHP editor Jacy Young and Michael Pettit. To accompany the issue, the executive editor of HHS, Felicity Callard (also director of the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research), interviewed Young on the theme. In her first response, Young expounds:
Too often conversations about psychology and the public presume a passive public simply receiving whatever messaging the discipline happens to disseminate. And, the public as an entity is often under-theorized in these discussions. The term is employed but never defined with respect to its parameters and characteristics, its ontology remaining un- or at least under-addressed… Exploring the nexus of the human sciences and the public implicated in much of this work is a rich and wide-ranging landscape for the historian of the human sciences.
The interview goes on to discuss the value of interdisciplinarity in the historiography of psychology, and the ways that engagement between historians and scholars in a range of allied fields (such as science and technology studies, and studies in public engagement/public understanding of science) has influenced new directions in how the spatial and temporal geographies and timelines of psychology are written.