All posts by Jacy Young

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.

Nadine Weidman in Psyche: Do humans really have a killer instinct or is that just manly fancy?

1952 illustration of Australopithecus africanus by Zdenek Burian. Photo by STR/AFP via Getty via Psyche.

A recent article in Psyche by Nadine Weidman may interest AHP readers: “Do humans really have a killer instinct or is that just manly fancy?” Weidman writes,

In the 1960s, alongside prevailing psychological and neuroscientific theories of human aggression, a new claim appeared, that aggression was a human instinct. Relying on the sciences of evolution and animal behaviour, this ‘instinct theory’ held that human aggression was a legacy of our deep ancestral past and an inbuilt tendency shared with many other animal species. One important novelty of this theory was its assertion that human aggression was not wholly destructive, but had a positive, even constructive side. Its proponents were talented writers who readily adopted literary devices.

Read the full piece here.

Administrations of Lunacy: Racism and the Haunting of American Psychiatry at the Milledgeville Asylum

AHP readers may be interested in a new book, Administrations of Lunacy: Racism and the Haunting of American Psychiatry at the Milledgeville Asylum by Mab Segrest. The book is described as follows,

“The situation approaches Nazi concentration camp standards . . . unbelievable this side of Dante’s Inferno.”
—April 1949 issue of Ebony magazine, describing the situation for black patients at the Milledgeville asylum

Today, 90 percent of psychiatric beds are located in jails and prisons across the United States, institutions that confine disproportionate numbers of African Americans. After more than a decade of research, the celebrated scholar and activist Mab Segrest locates the deep historical roots of this startling fact, turning her sights on a long-forgotten cauldron of racial ideology: the state mental asylum system in which psychiatry was born and whose influences extend into our troubled present.

In December 1841, the Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum was founded. A hundred years later, it had become the largest insane asylum in the world with over ten thousand patients. Administrations of Lunacy tells the story of this iconic and infamous southern institution, a history that was all but erased from popular memory and within the psychiatric profession.

Through riveting accounts of historical characters, Segrest reveals how modern psychiatric practice was forged in the traumas of slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow. Deftly connecting this history to the modern era, Segrest then shows how a single asylum helped set the stage for the eugenics theories of the twentieth century and the persistent racial ideologies of our own times. She also traces the connections to today’s dissident psychiatric practices that offer sanity and create justice.

A landmark of scholarship, Administrations of Lunacy restores a vital thread between past and present, revealing the tangled racial roots of psychiatry in America.

Call for Papers: Psychology from the Margins

AHP readers may find a call for papers from Psychology from the Margins of interest. Please note this call is for contributions from students. Details below.

Call for Papers: Psychology from the Margins

Exploring untold stories of social justice and traditionally underrepresented groups in psychology.

Submissions Deadline: November 1, 2020

Mission statement:

Psychology from the Margins is a peer reviewed, student-led, student-edited journal that provides an outlet for articles addressing the history of research, practice, and advocacy in psychology. The journal highlights stories that have been unrepresented or underrepresented by other historical narratives. It features scholarly work addressing the history of psychology especially in areas related to social justice, social issues, and social change.

We encourage contributions that draw attention to the impact of traditionally marginalized groups on the development of psychological research, practice, and advocacy. This includes narratives, biographies, commentary, and reviews related to traditionally marginalized groups and social justice issues throughout the history of psychology. Manuscripts should be between 20 to 40 pages in length (not including references). Additionally, issue three is welcoming articles that address the broad question “A look back, lessons learned, what can historical research tell us about contemporary problems.”

Example topics may include:

  • biographies of psychologists from underrepresented groups
  • historical contributions of marginalized psychologists
  • social justice and advocacy endeavors in the history of psychology
  • analyses of the impact of historical and contextual oppression on the development of psychology
  • explorations of the work of underrepresented groups in shaping psychology

Submission Guidelines: Interested authors are welcome to submit an abstract for feedback from the editorial board regarding the topic’s fit and focus for this issue. The editorial team welcomes questions and correspondence, which may be directed to Nuha Alshabani, M.A., ( and Samsara Soto M.A., ( Completed manuscripts should be submitted through the Psychology from the Margins portal found at

Beyond the asylum and before the ‘care in the community’ model: exploring an overlooked early NHS mental health facility

Fair Mile Hospital (via Wikipedia)

AHP readers may be interested in a piece now in press at History of Psychiatry: “Beyond the asylum and before the ‘care in the community’ model: exploring an overlooked early NHS mental health facility” by Christina Malathouni. Abstract:

This article discusses the Admission and Treatment Unit at Fair Mile Hospital, in Cholsey, near Wallingford, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire). This was the first new hospital to be completed in England following the launch of the National Health Service. The building was designed by Powell and Moya, one of the most important post-war English architectural practices, and was completed in 1956, but demolished in 2003. The article relates the commission of the building to landmark policy changes and argues for its historic significance in the context of the NHS and of the evolution of mental health care models and policies. It also argues for the need for further study of those early NHS facilities in view of current developments in mental health provision.

First Issue! Awry, Journal of Critical Psychology

AHP readers may be interested in a new journal that has just released its first issue: Awry, Journal of Critical Psychology. Awry is an “open-access, peer reviewed academic journal that provides an interdisciplinary forum for critical scholars dedicated to interrogating the economic, social, political, and environmental dimensions of psychological research and practice.” Details below.

“Critical Psychology in an Age of Uncertainty,” Michael Arfken.

“Psychology Through Critical Auto-Ethnography: Instituting Education,” Ian Parker.

“Disrupting Androcentrism in Social Psychology Textbooks : A Call for Critical Reflexivity,” Meghan George, Susannah Mulvale, Tal Davidson, Jacy Young, Alexandra Rutherford.

“The Reproduction of Compliant Labour Power Through (Re)Constitution of the Child and Adult Subject: Critical Knowledge-Work,” David Fryer, Charles Marley, Rose Stambe.

“Understanding and Theorizing the Pursuit of Intersubjective Recognition,” Peiwei Li, Tyler Banks.

“The Influence of Critical Consciousness-Based Education on Identity Content and Perceptions of Sexism,” Nia Phillips.

“What Do Young Brazilian Students Think About Socialism? Class-Consciousness Past, Present and Future,” Antonio Euzébios Filho, Raquel Souza Lobo Guzzo.

Reviews: “Psychology Through Critical Auto-Ethnography: Academic Discipline, Professional Practice and Reflexive History by Ian Parker,” Emese Ilyes.

Position Opening: Assistant Director, Cummings Center for the History of Psychology

The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, located in Akron Ohio, is accepting applications for an Assistant Director. Working with the Director, the Assistant Director: helps to manage and supervise the daily operations of the Center; works with Center staff in collections development and management; leads and contributes to grant-writing, exhibit curation, teaching, and educational and community outreach efforts; serves as the resident “expert” on the history of psychology and related human sciences; and serves as a liaison to the larger history of the human sciences community.  

Required Qualifications: Master’s degree in the history of psychology or related field; experience with archival research or management; record of successful engagement with the history of psychology or related human sciences community; Ph.D. preferred.

Full details and the application are available at:

(Job ID: 12395)

Review of applications will begin September 3 and will continue until the position is filled.

About the Center

The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology is an archives, museum, and research center that cares for, provides access to, and interprets the historical record of psychology and related human sciences. It is comprised of the Archives of the History of American Psychology, the National Museum of Psychology, and the Institute for Human Science and Culture. The vision of the Cummings Center is to promote and explore the understanding of what it means to be human.

The goals of the Center are:

  • To generate awareness and understanding of the history of psychology and related human sciences
  • To collect, preserve, and provide access to the historical record of the human sciences
  • To promote the use of primary source materials in the examination of the history of psychology and related human sciences, and the role of contextual factors in that history
  • To develop the Center as a resource where past and present intersect
  • To offer public lectures, workshops, conferences and interactive exhibits that promote teaching and learning
  • To promote the care of archival materials and special collections.

Visit the website at  for further information about the Center.

PsychSessions: Invisible Pioneers: Adding Forgotten Psychologists to Psychology Course Content with Leslie Cramblet Alvarez and Nikki Jones

AHP readers may be interested in a recent episode of the PsychSession podcast, “Invisible Pioneers: Adding Forgotten Psychologists to Psychology Course Content with Leslie Cramblet Alvarez and Nikki Jones.”

In this SoTL PsychSessions episode, Anna Ropp interviews Leslie Cramblet Alvarez from the University of Denver and Nikki Jones from Colorado Mesa University about their content analysis of History of Psychology textbooks, including who is missing from these texts. Nikki and Leslie also give tips on how to incorporate these invisible pioneers into all psychology courses. A link to their journal article can be found at

The unexpected American origins of sexology and sexual science: Elizabeth Osgood Goodrich Willard, Orson Squire Fowler, and the scientification of sex

AHP readers will be interested in a forthcoming piece in History of the Human Sciences, now available online: “The unexpected American origins of sexology and sexual science: Elizabeth Osgood Goodrich Willard, Orson Squire Fowler, and the scientification of sex,” Benjamin Kahan. Abstract:

In spite of the fact that the term ‘sexology’ was popularized in the United States by Elizabeth Osgood Goodrich Willard and that the term ‘sexual science’—which is usually attributed to Iwan Bloch as ‘Sexualwissenschaft’—was actually coined by the American phrenologist Orson Squire Fowler in 1852, the archives of American sexology have received scant attention in the period prior to Alfred Kinsey. In my article, I explore the role of Transcendentalism and phrenology in the production and development of American sexology and sexual science. In particular, I argue that shifting the origins of sexology and sexual science away from Karl Heinrich Ulrichs and Karl-Maria Kertbeny and the more familiar narratives of the German invention of sexuality furnishes a radically different account of early sexology and sexual science. Rather than the unevenly homophilic sympathies of early German activists, their American counterparts promote marital, reproductive, loving sex and vilify prostitution, polygamy, masturbation, contraception, sex for pleasure, and, if they think to mention it, sodomy. In addition to this less progressive story, however, I argue that early American sexologists provide the first theories of gender and help to provide a fuller description of the politics of sexology and sexual science.

New History of Science: Race Science, the Sexological Research Questionnaire

Two pieces in the September 2020 issue of History of Science may interest AHP readers. Details below.

“William Frédéric Edwards and the study of human races in France, from the Restoration to the July Monarchy,” Ian B. Stewart. Abstract:

Scholars of the nineteenth-century race sciences have tended to identify the period from c.1820–c.1850 as a phase of transition from philologically to physically focused study. In France, the physiologist William Frédéric Edwards (1776–1842) is normally placed near the center of this transformation. A reconsideration of Edwards’ oeuvre in the context of his larger biography shows that it is impossible to see a clear-cut philological to physical “paradigm shift.” Although he has been remembered almost solely for his principle of the permanency of physical “types,” Edwards was also committed to what he recognized as the new science of “linguistique” and proposed a new branch of comparative philology based on pronunciation. Bearing Edwards’ attention to linguistics in mind, this article reconstructs his racial theories in their intellectual contexts and suggests that at a time of emergent disciplinary specialization, Edwards tried to hold discrete fields together and mold them into a new “natural history of man.”

“The evolution of the questionnaire in German sexual science: A methodological narrative,” Douglas Pretsell. Abstract:

The sexological research questionnaire, which became a central research tool in twentieth-century sexology, has a methodological-developmental history stretching back into mid-nineteenth century Germany. It was the product of a prolonged, disruptive encounter between sexual scientists constructing sexual case studies along with newly assertive homosexual men supplying self-penned sexual autobiographies. Homosexual autobiographies were intensely interesting to these men of science but lacked the brevity, structure, and discipline of a formal clinical case study. In the closing decades of the century, efforts to harness and regularize this self-penned material resulted in a series of methodological adaptations. By the turn of the century this process had resulted in the first use of a formal sexual research questionnaire.

Social sciences, modernization, and late colonialism: The Centro de Estudos da Guiné Portuguesa

AHP readers may be interested in a forthcoming piece in the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences: “Social sciences, modernization, and late colonialism: The Centro de Estudos da Guiné Portuguesa,” Frederico Ágoas. Abstract:

In Portugal, studies of transformations since the mid?1950s in colonial social research have focused on the colonial school in Lisbon or other bodies directly under the supervision of the metropolitan administration. Nonmetropolitan initiatives have been neglected and the social?scientific undertakings of the Centro de Estudos da Guiné Portuguesa (CEGP), in particular, have been only marginally dealt with. This article maps CEGP’s creation in Bissau, in 1945, and its social?scientific activity not only to establish its precedence but also to highlight local colonial enterprise and to specify its imprint upon developments in the metropole. It addresses CEGP’s immediate context and main actors, institutional setting, research activities, publications, and other scientific outlets, to then put forward some concluding remarks regarding the epistemic reach of overseas governmental measures and the practical effects, in metropolitan colonial policies and scientific research, of peripheral imperial bureaucratic knowledge.