New JHBS: mid-20th c. popularization of psychoanalysis, influence of psychoanalysis on Religion and Human Evolution, and more

The Winter 2020 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is now online. The issue includes a number of book reviews, as well as the following articles:

“Franz Joseph Gall’s non?cortical faculties and their organs,” Paul Eling and Stanley Finger. Abstract:

Franz Joseph Gall (1758–1828) is remembered for his claims that behavior results from a large number of independent mental faculties, and that these faculties are associated with cortical organs. Apart from the 26 faculties he localized in the cerebrum, he also recognized one faculty (reproductive drive) in the cerebellum. This picture, however, is based on Gall’s presentations in his well?known later works, his four volume Anatomie et Physiologie. These books reflect the outcomes of Gall’s thinking. They were steered by the observations and feedback he received in Vienna and while presenting his theories in the German states and neighboring countries between 1805 and 1807. Examining his lists before what he published in Paris shows how his faculties were changing. Notably, and as shown here, he had previously included several faculties associated with brainstem structures, in addition to the cerebellum, which he would continue to associate with some reproductive behaviors.

“The return of the repressed. On Robert N. Bellah, Norman O. Brown, and religion in human evolution,” Matteo Bortolini. Abstract:

As much as Robert Bellah’s final work, Religion in Human Evolution, has been studied and dissected, no critic underlined the importance of psychoanalysis for its main argument and its theoretical framework. The paper shows the influence exerted by a controversial interpreter of Freud, Norman O. Brown, on Bellah’s ideas, intellectual profile, and writing style in the late?1960s and early 1970s. While in search for a new intellectual voice, Bellah was struck by Brown’s work and began to make intensive use of his book, Love’s Body, both in his teaching and in his research of the early 1970s, during his so?called “symbolic realism” period. While Bellah abandoned Brown’s ideas and style in the mid?1970s, some of the basic intuitions he had during that period still survived as one of the major theoretical intuitions of Religion and Human Evolution.

“Bishop Fulton J. Sheen: America’s public critic of psychoanalysis, 1947–1957,” Paul M. Dennis. Abstract:

This paper examines the role of Bishop Fulton Sheen in the popularization of Freudian psychoanalysis in the United States during the 1940s and 50s. Social historians argue that Freudian ideas were pervasive in American culture during this period. While their claim speaks mainly to the impact of psychoanalysis on the cultural elite and college educated, they also suggest that Freudian ideas affected ordinary men and women. In the former case, the group impacted is small and not representative of the population as a whole; in the latter, the evidence is sparse and impressionistic. Neglected in their consideration is the influence of Fulton Sheen whose opinions on Freud reached an audience of 30,000,000 during the height of the popularity of his TV show, Life is Worth Living. Sheen’s audience was more inclusive and representative of mainstream America. The negative and highly cautionary view of psychoanalysis he presented to many Americans was contrary to that which was promoted to and embraced by many of the college educated and likely shaped both their views of Freud and psychoanalytic therapy.

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.