The May 2017 issue of History of Psychology is now online. Articles in this issue explore neurohistory, the influence of Titchener’s Oxford years on his thought, and gender and psychoanalysis in 1940s Britain. The issue also features a special section devoted to “Debating the New History of Psychology.” Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“Historiography, affect, and the neurosciences,” by Larry S. McGrath. Abstract:
Recent historiography has put to rest debates over whether to address the neurosciences. The question is how? In this article, I stage a dialogue between neurohistory and the history of the emotions. My primary goal is to survey these two clusters and clarify their conceptual commitments. Both center on the role of affect in embodied subjectivity; but their accounts widely diverge. Whereas neurohistorians tend to treat affects as automatic bodily processes, historians of the emotions generally emphasize that affects are meaningful and volitional activities. This divergence entails contrasting understandings of selfhood, embodiment, and historical change. More importantly, I argue, it reflects a broader realm of disputes within the neurosciences. The divisions among methodologies and commitments testify to the importance of historians’ selection of evidence as well as the critical perspectives they can bring to scientific debates. The neurosciences do not offer readymade theories. Secondarily, I take stock of the shared limitations of neurohistory and the history of the emotions. Both conceptualize the biological bases of affection as a universal ground for historical inquiry. By reexamining this transhistorical approach to neuroscientific evidence, I suggest that historiography might widen the horizon of interdisciplinary scholarship beyond the present options.
“Margaret F. Washburn in The American Journal of Psychology: A Cognitive Precursor?,” by José T. Boyano. The abstract reads,
In the early 20th century, Margaret F. Washburn (1871–1939) produced numerous studies on perception, affective value of stimulus, memory, emotions, and consciousness. This experimental work was published in The American Journal of Psychology. The purpose of this article is to analyze the temporal evolution of these kinds of experiments and relate them to Washburn’s theoretical production. Contrary to other views, Washburn’s experimental evolution follows a logical sequence and has a strong inner coherence. Among other reasons, the lack of a scientific and social framework to the study of the mind has tended to overshadow large areas of Washburn’s thought. However, both the work published in AJP and the methods used in experiments provide reasons to consider Washburn one of the precursors of contemporary cognitive psychology.
Claude Lévi-Strauss — the French structuralist anthropologist who was a leading light of the 1950s and 1960s — has passed away at the age of 100. Here are obituaries by Le Monde and by the New York Times.
According to the Times, “Levi-Strauss was widely regarded as having reshaped the field of anthropology, introducing new concepts concerning common patterns of behavior and thought, especially myths, in primitive and modern societies. During his 6-decade-long career, he authored many literary and anthropological classics, including ”Tristes Tropiques” (1955), ”The Savage Mind” (1963) and ”The Raw and the Cooked” (1964).
Claude Lévi-Strauss turned 100 years old yesterday. The French thinker revolutionized anthropology in the 1950s by bringing to it the tools of Ferdinand de Saussure‘s structural linguistics. His most famous studies were of family kinship patterns and of symbolic meanings in myth. In the 1960s, Lévi-Strauss, Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, and Jacques Lacan formed the most famous grouping of French intellectuals in the world, celebrated in the 1967 cartoon by Maurice Henry below. They were seen as successors to (and, in some ways, opponents of) the equally famous earlier grouping of Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Continue reading Lévi-Strauss Turns 100→