History of Psychiatry: Extra-Institutional Psychiatry, the Rockefeller Foundation, & More

The December 2018 issue of History of Psychiatry is now available online. Full titles, authors, and abstracts below.

“Creating a new psychiatry: on the origins of non-institutional psychiatry in the USA, 1900–50,” by Andrew Scull. Abstract:

This paper examines the early origins of the shift away from institutional psychiatry in the USA. It focuses on the period between 1900 and 1950. Attention is paid to the role of neurologists and disaffected asylum doctors in the early emergence of extra-institutional practice; to the impact of the National Committee for Mental Hygiene and Thomas Salmon; to the limited role of psychoanalysis during most of this period; and to the influence of the Rockefeller Foundation’s decision to focus most of its effort in the medical sciences on psychiatry.

“Mental disorders in commentaries by the late medieval theologians Richard of Middleton, John Duns Scotus, William Ockham and Gabriel Biel on Peter Lombard’s Sentences,” by Vesa Hirvonen. Abstract:

In their commentaries on the Sentences, Richard of Middleton, John Duns Scotus, William Ockham and Gabriel Biel reflect whether mentally-disturbed people can receive the sacraments (Baptism, Eucharist, confession, marriage) and fulfil juridical actions (make a will or take an oath). They consider that the main problem in ‘madmen’ in relation to the sacraments and legal actions is their lack of the use of reason. Scotus and Ockham especially are interested in the causes of mental disorders and the phenomena which happen in madmen’s minds and bodies. In considering mental disorders mostly as naturally caused psycho-physical phenomena, Scotus and Ockham join the rationalistic mental disorder tradition, which was to become dominant in the early modern era and later.

“‘Pinel of Istanbul’: Dr Luigi Mongeri (1815–82) and the birth of modern psychiatry in the Ottoman Empire,” by Fatih Artvinli. Abstract:

Italian physician/alienist Dr Luigi Mongeri (1815–82), who graduated from the School of Medicine in Pavia and worked as chief physician at Süleymaniye and Topta?? Lunatic Asylums, introduced important reforms that shaped modern psychiatry in the Ottoman Empire. Because of his projects and practices he was likened to Philippe Pinel (1745–1826), and was called the ‘Pinel of Istanbul’ or ‘Pinel of the Turks’. This article aims to examine the birth of modern psychiatry in the Ottoman Empire, through the biography of Luigi Mongeri and his writings on insanity.

“Stanley Cobb, the Rockefeller Foundation and the evolution of American psychiatry,” by S Robert Snodgrass. Abstract:

Stanley Cobb founded the Harvard Departments of Neurology (1925) and Psychiatry (1934) with Rockefeller Foundation funding. Cobb was an important transitional figure in both neurology and psychiatry. He and his friend Alan Gregg were the most visible parts of the Rockefeller Foundation psychiatry project, which prepared American psychiatry for the rapid growth of psychiatric research after World War II. Edward Shorter called him the founder of American biological psychiatry, but this misunderstands Cobb and the Hegelian evolution of twentieth-century American psychiatry. I review the major role of the Rockefeller Foundation in the evolution of American academic psychiatry and the disappearance of Cobb’s teaching and that of his mentor Adolf Meyer, a founding father of American academic psychiatry.

“A History of the Mind and Mental Health in Classical Greek Medical Thought,” by Chiara Thumiger. Abstract:

This book on ancient medicine offers a unique resource for historians of medicine, historians of psychology, and classicists – and also cultural historians and historians of art. The Hippocratic texts and other contemporary medical sources have often been overlooked when it comes to their approaches to psychology, which are considered more mechanical and less elaborated than contemporary poetic and philosophical representations, but also than later medical works, notably Galenic. This book aims to do justice to early medical accounts by illustrating their richness and sophistication, their links with contemporary cultural products, and the indebtedness of later medicine to their observations. The ancient sources are read not only as archaeological documents, but also in the light of methodological discussions that are fundamental in the history of psychiatry and the history of psychology.

“The views of Wilhelm Griesinger (1817–68) on suicidality or ‘self-murder’,” by Mareike Gnoth, Heide Glaesmer, Holger Steinberg. Abstract:

To date, little attention has been paid to the fact that a whole section in Wilhelm Griesinger’s textbook is devoted to suicidality. Griesinger perceived suicide as a distinct entity. In his opinion, only one-third of all suicides were committed by people suffering from mental disorders; heredity and brain anomalies could also be involved. Therapeutically, Griesinger recommended removing all potential means for suicide and admitting people at risk to a psychiatric hospital. Since his textbook was a standard work, his views reveal what young doctors could have learned about suicidality in German psychiatry of the second half of the nineteenth century.

Classic Text No. 116: “From Evolutive Paranoia, by August Wimmer (1902),” by German E Berrios, Johan Schioldann, Johan Schioldann. Abstract:

Literature on the history of ‘paranoia’ (as a clinical concept) is large and confusing. This is partly explained by the fact that over the centuries the word ‘paranoia’ has been made to participate in several convergences (clinical constructs), and hence it has named different forms of behaviour and been linked to different explanatory concepts. The Classic Text that follows provides information on the internal clinical evolution of the last convergence in which ‘paranoia’ was made to participate. August Wimmer maps the historical changes of ‘Verrücktheit’ as it happened within the main European psychiatric traditions since the early 19th century. After World War II, that clinical profile was to become reified and renamed as ‘delusional disorder’.

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.