The Spring 2022 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is now online. Notably, the new spring issue of JHBS debuts a new feature – Perspectives. In this inaugural Perspectives section, authors draw back the curtain on historical practice, tackling the complexities, mysteries, and challenges of working in and with archives.
Titles, authors, and abstracts for pieces in the issue are provided below.
“Diagnosing the “master mechanism of the universe” in interwar and war-era America,” Heather Murray. Abstract:
Drawing on personal testimonials and questions addressed to psychiatric hospital officials, this article explores how patients and their loved ones engaged with the idea of diagnosis in interwar and war-era America. I argue that diagnosis had synergies with intellectual sensibilities of American modernity, among them an enthusiasm for science and newness, a modernist sense of time that could be both forward- and backward-looking, and a knowable, interpreted self. While self-understanding and the creation of life narratives were more often considered the bailiwick of psychoanalysis in this period, understanding subjectivity and self-interpretation were not solely expressed in its conceptual vocabulary. Patient and family dialogs with diagnosis and psychiatric authorities allow for an illumination of the interaction between domestic intuitions, common sense, and folk wisdom, on the one hand, and institutional taxonomy, categorization, and scientific terminology on the other, or more broadly, between dispositions that are ostensibly antimodern and more modern ideas. I suggest that the protean and wide-ranging intellectual origins of the discipline of psychiatry, along with the inherent ambiguity of psychiatric diagnosis during the early 20th century, allowed patients to participate in their own medicalization in the most capacious way possible: by combining biology with diagnostic narrative capacities, as well as broader perceptions of morality and character. In the concluding reflection, I speculate about why it is that late 20th-century American critics and activists have tended to view diagnosis and medicalization as coercive and threatening, in contrast to earlier 20th-century patients and their intimate observers.
“Kiær and the rebirth of the representative method: A case-study in controversy management at the International Statistical Institute (1895–1903),” Dominic Lusinchi. Abstract:
Anders N. Kiær (1838–1919), the director of Norway’s Central Bureau of Statistics between 1877 and 1913, was the foremost promoter, at the turn of the 20th century, of the rebirth of what came to be known as the “representative method” or sample survey. His advocacy of a methodology that had been abandoned at the beginning of the 19th century in favor of complete enumeration (the census) provoked a controversy at the International Statistical Institute (ISI) when he first presented it in 1895. Yet, it was “recommended” in fairly short order, by 1903. This was the result of a convergence of factors that prevented the dispute from degenerating into a full-blown conflict and facilitated continuing the discussion while preventing a potential break-up of the association. To understand how this came about, the paper examines (1) the role of the historical background from which the ISI emerged; (2) the epistemic beliefs that informed the ISI members in their daily professional practice; (3) the social structure of the ISI and its “ethos”; (4) the professional standing Kiær enjoyed within the international statistical community. This is a case-study in the sociology of how and why some scientific practices initially seen as “dangerous” gain acceptance and become part of science’s lore.
“Franz Joseph Gall on God and religion: “Dieu et Cerveau, rien que Dieu et cerveau!”
Paul Eling, Stanley Finger. Open access. Abstract:
Franz Joseph Gall’s (1758–1828) doctrine of many faculties of mind with corresponding cortical organs led him to be accused of materialism, fatalism, and even atheism. Yet little has been written about the specific charges he felt forced to respond to in Vienna, while visiting the German States, or in Paris, where he published his books. This article examines these accusations and Gall’s responses. It also looks at what Gall wrote about a cortical faculty for God and religion and seeing intelligent design in the functional organization of the brain. Additionally, it presents what can be gleaned about his private thoughts on God and organized religion. We conclude that Gall was sincere in his admiration for and belief in God the Creator, but that as an enlightened scientist was recognizing the need to separate metaphysics from the laws of nature when presenting his new science of man.
“Harry Harlow’s pit of despair: Depression in monkeys and men,” Lenny van Rosmalen, Maartje P. C. M. Luijk, Frank C. P. van der Horst. Open access. Abstract:
Major depressive disorder is the most common mood disorder in the United States today and the need for adequate treatment has been universally desired for over a century. Harry Harlow, famous for his research with rhesus monkeys, was heavily criticized when he undertook his controversial experiments trying to find a solution for depression in the 1960s–1970s. His research, however, did not just evolve gradually from his earlier research into learning and into love. Recently disclosed hand-written notes show, for the first time, the severity of Harlow’s depressions as he wrote in detail about his feelings and thoughts during his stay in a mental hospital in 1968. In these notes, Harlow repeatedly vowed to put every effort into finding a cure for depression. This may, for a large part, explain why he did not stop his rigorous animal experiments where critics argue he should have, and he eventually managed to book positive results.
“More questions than answers: Interrogating restricted access in the archives,” Kacie Lucchini Butcher. Abstract:
This study is a reflective piece that grew out of the Archival Kismet Conference in April of 2021. What happens when you find your “archival kismet”—the document that is essential to your research—and it is restricted? In conjunction with archival silences, how do these restrictions affect our ability to understand the past? I begin with these questions and use two case studies to challenge and complicate the practice of restricted access in archives. Using a dialogic approach, I provide a set of questions and considerations groups can use to begin to probe materials with archival restrictions. I urge a reflective and collaborative approach between archivists, public historians, and community to re-evaluate the practice of archival restrictions.
“On why history is never finished: Puységur, animal magnetism, and the importance of collective scholarship,” Adam Crabtree, Eberhard Bauer. No abstract provided.
“The Hirschfeld horoscope: Archival trails and urban subcultures,” Rachel Pitkin. Abstract:
This article explores what it means to work with decontextualized or mysterious archival traces within collections that already contain obscured provenance. In particular, it compels us to consider what a single object can tell us about the individual, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, and what it can teach us about the larger queer community from which it may have originated. Astrology, the occult, and new forms of spirituality proliferated in Weimar Germany, emerging from the late 19th century psy sciences and evolving within Berlin’s urban landscape. The extent to which these occult and alternative pathways held a queer dimension is unknown, but not improbable.
Frontier Struggles: Rollo May and the Little Band of Psychologists Who Saved Humanism James Schlett Series: Center for the History of Psychology. University of Akron Press, 2021. 228 pp. $59.95 (paper). ISBN 9781629221304; 9781629221311 (ebook)
A Joyfully Serious Man: The Life of Robert Bellah Matteo Bortolini Princeton University Press, 2021. 528 pp. $35.00 (cloth). ISBN 9780691204406; 9780691204390 (ebook)
Susan E. Henking
If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future Jill Lepore Liveright, 2020. 432 pp. $28.95 (cloth). ISBN-13: 978-1-63149-610-3; 978-1-324-09112-7 (paper)
Jamie L. Pietruska
Mentalizing and Epistemic Trust: The Work of Peter Fonagy and Colleagues at the Anna Freud Centre Robbie Duschinsky and Sarah Foster Oxford University Press, 2021. 304 pp. £50.00 (cloth & open access pdf). ISBN: 978-0-19887118-7
Frank C. P. van der Horst
Anti-semitism and analytical psychology: Jung, politics and culture Burston, Daniel Routledge, 2021. 140 pp. ISBN 9780367426736
Andrew S. Winston
How We Became Sensorimotor: Movement, Measurement, Sensation Mark Paterson University of Minnesota Press, 2021. 320 pp. $35.00 (paper). ISBN 978-1-5179-0999-4; 978-1-5179-1000-6 (cloth)
Response to Roger Smith
Development: The History of a Psychological Concept Christopher Goodey Cambridge University Press, 2021. 300 pp. £85.00 (cloth). ISBN 9781108833479
Making A Grade: Victorian Examinations and the Rise of Standardized Testing James Elwick University of Toronto Press, 2021. 234 pp. $70.00 (cloth). ISBN 9781487508937; 9781487539351 (ebook)
William J. Reese
Jim Crow Sociology: The Black and Southern Roots of American Sociology Earl Wright University of Cincinnati Press, 2020 250 pp. $50.00 (cloth). ISBN 9781947602571