Tag Archives: material culture

CfP: Material Cultures of Psychiatry (Workshop), Hamburg, 3-4 May 2018

CfP: Material Cultures of Psychiatry (Workshop)

Date: 3-4 May 2018, Hamburg

Organisers: Dr Monika Ankele (Department for History and Ethics of Medicine at the University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf) and Prof. Benoît Majerus (Centre for Contemporary and Digital History, University of Luxembourg)
Deadline: 15 December 2017
Languages: German, English

In the past, our ideas of psychiatric hospitals and their history have been shaped by objects like straitjackets, cribs and binding belts. These powerful objects are often used as a synonym for psychiatry and the way psychiatric patients are treated. But what do we really know about the social life (see Majerus 2011) of psychiatric patients and the stories of less spectacular objects in the everyday life of psychiatric institutions? What do we know about the material cultures of these places in general?

The workshop will use the term “material cultures” very broadly and in the plural. This term refers not only to medical objects, objects of therapy and objects of care, but also to everyday cultural objects. The latter are subject to change when they enter the realm of psychiatry, where they become part of the specific cultural praxis of psychiatric institutions: a bed clearly changes its meaning in a psychiatric hospital, but so do flowers, a mirror and a blanket. The term “material cultures” also includes phenomena that have a material dimension like air, light, colours and sound (see Kalthoff et al. 2016). The use of the term in the plural should make us aware of the different, often competing cultural practices that emerge when we focus on the application and appropriation of objects and materials by patients, doctors and nursing staff. It also raises the question of the extent to which material cultures influence both therapeutic treatment and the production of knowledge.

Objects as agents

Objects can be described as agents since they have a stabilising, destabilising and transforming impact on the practice of psychiatry; they organise social relationships, influence or predetermine the practice of psychiatry, have an impact on power relations and create specific self-relations and relationships with others. Presentations should analyse objects from the history of psychiatry as agents and explore their fields of action.

Means of appropriation and expropriation

The (artistic) works of patients, as found in historical collections such as the Prinzhorn Collection in Heidelberg and the Morgenthaler Collection in Bern, are impressive testimonies of the manifold ways that patients appropriated the different materials of psychiatric hospitals, including remnants, clippings, bedsprings and much more. They are part of a material culture of psychiatry and bear its traces. In parallel, patients’ works as well as personal belongings were subject to expropriation, interpreted as symptoms of a disease or used for the implementation of new (power) relations. Appropriation concerned not only materials but also therapeutic objects or objects of care that had to be appropriated by patients, doctors and nursing staff.

Scenography of things Continue reading CfP: Material Cultures of Psychiatry (Workshop), Hamburg, 3-4 May 2018

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Medical History Special Issue on Material History of the Mind Sciences

A special issue of Medical History devoted to “Soul Catchers – A Material History of the Mind Sciences” is now available. The issue includes a number of articles – on drawing as an instrument, soul photography, and more – that may interest AHP readers.

Editorial: “Soul Catchers: The Material Culture of the Mind Sciences,” by Katja Guenther and Volker Hess.

“Brain Ways: Meynert, Bachelard and the Material Imagination of the Inner Life,” by Scott Phelps. The abstract reads,

The Austrian psychiatrist Theodor Meynert’s anatomical theories of the brain and nerves are laden with metaphorical imagery, ranging from the colonies of empire to the tentacles of jellyfish. This paper analyses among Meynert’s earliest works a different set of less obvious metaphors, namely, the fibres, threads, branches and paths used to elaborate the brain’s interior. I argue that these metaphors of material, or what the philosopher Gaston Bachelard called ‘material images’, helped Meynert not only to imaginatively extend the tracts of fibrous tissue inside the brain but to insinuate their function as pathways co-extensive with the mind. Above all, with reference to Bachelard’s study of the material imagination, I argue that Meynert helped entrench the historical intuition that the mind, whatever it was, consisted of some interiority – one which came to be increasingly articulated through the fibrous confines of the brain.

“Drawing as Instrument, Drawings as Evidence: Capturing Mental Processes with Pencil and Paper,” by Alicia Puglionesi. The abstract reads, Continue reading Medical History Special Issue on Material History of the Mind Sciences

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Call for Papers: 4S Open Panel on STS, Technology & Psychology

denver-skyline

CfP: Open Panel @ the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S)

November 11-14, 2015. Denver, CO.

STS Open Panel call for papers deadline: March 22, 2015.

An open panel is being hosted at the 4S AGM on “STS & Technologies/ Techniques in the Psychological Sciences.” The panel organizers welcome submissions from a wide range of disciplines, including those from the humanities, STS, anthropology, psychology, statistics, psychiatry, etc. They are particularly interested in interdisciplinary work that combines historical and contemporary sites of analysis to address the following questions:

What can STS theories and methodologies contribute to the study of the
psychological sciences?

What perspectives from psychology and the behavioral sciences might be
beneficial to STS?

How do psychological sciences and technologies create power and knowledge,
across diverse societal spheres?

How might we best identify and address aporias in existing research on the
psy sciences, including discussions of race/gender/sexuality, new models of
subjectivity, and new technologies, projects, and processes of
subjectivization?

Submissions should be made directly to the conference (find detailed instructions here).         Please also forward a copy of your abstract to the panel organizers:

 Marisa Brandt, UCSD (mrbrandt@ucsd.edu)                                                                                          Beth Semel, MIT (bsemel@mit.edu)                                                                                                              Luke Stark, NYU (luke.stark@nyu.edu)

Further conceptual elucidation after the jump:  Continue reading Call for Papers: 4S Open Panel on STS, Technology & Psychology

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Bibliography: Laboratories, Instruments, and the Material Culture of Psychology

Harvard Psychological Laboratory, 1892. via the Virtual Laboratory.

For anyone interested in exploring the history of laboratories, instruments, and the material culture of psychology more generally, I have put together the following bibliography. Sources have been organized into the following categories: Laboratories, Instruments, Online Resources, Instrument Collections, and Introductory Material Culture Readings. For the purposes of this bibliography, “material culture” has been interpreted quite broadly. Rather than focus solely on writings narrowly confined to this field, a variety of sources that touch on the history of material objects – especially those related to the history of science – have been included here. Other items included in the bibliography also look at unconventional instruments, including paper tools, tests, and organisms as instruments. A number of reference works, photographic collections, and online resources are also provided. The bibliography is by no means complete and suggested additions are welcome and appreciated. And don’t forget to check out the full list of our bibliographies on our Resources page. Happy reading!

Update: The post now includes a section of sources, provided by Ryan Tweney, on instruments, experiments, and replication. Additional readings suggested by Rodrigo Miranda – including many in French, Portuguese, and Spanish – have also been added, as has a reading suggested by Gabriel Ruiz. Our thanks to them all.

Bibliography: Laboratories, Instruments, and the Material Culture of Psychology

Laboratories 

General Discussion

Benjamin, Jr., L. T. (2000). The psychology laboratory at the turn of the 20th century. American Psychologist, 55(3), 318–321. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.55.3.318

Capshew, J. H. (1992). Psychologists on site: A reconnaissance of the historiography of the laboratory. American Psychologist, 47(2), 132–142. doi: 10.1037//0003-066X.47.2.132

Garvey, C. R. (1929). List of American psychology laboratories. Psychological Bulletin, 26, 652-660. doi:10.1037/h0075811

Specific Laboratories

Brooks, J. I. (1993). Philosophy and psychology at the Sorbonne, 1885–1913. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 29(2), 123–145. doi:10.1002/1520-6696(199304)29:2<123::AID-JHBS2300290204>3.0.CO;2-C

Cirino, S. D., Miranda, R. L., & da Cruz, R. N. (2012). The beginnings of behavior analysis laboratories in Brazil: A pedagogical view. History of Psychology, 15(3), 263–272. doi: 10.1037/a0026306

Green, C. D. (2010). Scientific objectivity and E. B. Titchener’s experimental psychology. Isis, 101(4), 697–721. doi:10.1086/657473

Koutstaal, W. (1992). Skirting the abyss: A history of experimental explorations of automatic writing in psychology. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 28(1), 5–27. doi:10.1002/1520-6696(199201)28:1<5::AID-JHBS2300280102>3.0.CO;2-X

Lachapelle, S. (2008). From the stage to the laboratory: Magicians, psychologists, and the science of illusion. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 44(4), 319–334. doi:10.1002/jhbs.20327 Continue reading Bibliography: Laboratories, Instruments, and the Material Culture of Psychology

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