New SHM: Asylum Photography, Educational Psychology, and More

The February 2021 issue of Social History of Medicine includes several articles that may interest AHP readers. Full details below.

“At the Margins of the Medical? Educational Psychology, Child Guidance and Therapy in Provincial England, c.1945–74,” Andrew Burchell. Abstract:

This article mobilises archival material from local authorities in England to assess the shifting role of psychologists within local school health services from the 1930s through to the reorganisation of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1974. It argues that psychologists were increasingly positioned between therapist, diagnostician and social worker, that this was bound together with a local discourse of children’s emotional well-being and that the increasing fluidity of the psychologist’s role emerged from local policies designed to stress the ‘educational’ nature of their role. In so doing, it extends work by John Stewart on child guidance and more long-standing histories of local, ‘municipal’ medical services. It suggests ways in which the older, localised provision of public health services in Britain persisted after the creation of the NHS and argues the need for a more flexible understanding of what was ‘medical’ about the local welfare state in this period.

“‘A Tortured Nation Gave Birth to a Lunatic’: The Construction of Insanity in the 1912 Terrorist Attack in Croatia,” Stella Fatovi?-Feren?i? and Martin Kuhar. Summary:

In spring 1912, 25-year-old lawyer Luka Juki? tried to assassinate the Croatian Ban and Royal Commissioner Slavko Cuvaj. This article focuses on several aspects of the trial against Juki?: first, on analysing the impact of Cesare Lombroso’s criminology in Croatia; second, on the testimony by forensic psychiatrist Ivo Žirov?i?, who controversially claimed that Juki? was sane; third, on unmasking the techniques and manipulations by the media, the regime and the opposition concerning the assassin’s alleged insanity; and finally, on identifying the ways in which the case influenced further political and revolutionary activities in the country. The discussion concerning Juki?’s accountability deepened the chasm between the supporters and opponents of Cuvaj’s regime, both in the political sphere and within the Croatian medical community.

“‘The Annexed Photos were Taken Today’: Photographing Patients in the Late-Nineteenth-century Asylum,” Katherine D B Rawling. Summary:

Photographing patients was a common practice in many asylums in the nineteenth century. Asylum casebooks contain thousands of patient photographs varying in style and content, but they have been paid relatively little attention by historians of medicine. When patient photographs have been considered, one type of photograph has been taken to represent all patient photography. Through a comparison of casebook photographs from two very different institutions, this article argues that photographic practices were fluid, ambiguous and diverse in the nineteenth century, and the camera was used in a variety of ways inside the asylum. Examining the visual patient record can enhance and even challenge established histories of mental illness and medico-psychiatric practices, as we consider the photographing of patients as a stage in the doctor–patient encounter, an important part of diagnosis and resulting treatment, and as a feature of patient experience.

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.