All posts by Shayna Fox Lee

ActiveHistory.ca on Women, Healthcare, Trauma & History

Beth Robertson (Carleton University), one of the editors over at ActiveHistory, has written from a Canadian perspective about the impact of the AHCA on American women. The post highlights the history of the pathologization of women’s bodies and health, in particular focused on experiences of rape and assault. Robertson touches on the works of Tardieu and Janet, and discusses the implications of the current medical status of such trauma in relation to the current changes in policy.

Read the post here.

roundup of articles from allied fields

A few new works on related topics from spring issues that may pique the interest of our readership:

In Signs, a piece by Myrna Perez Sheldon titled Wild at Heart: How Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology Helped Influence the Construction of Heterosexual Masculinity in American Evangelicalism

Its abstract reads:

During the 1990s, American evangelical texts contended that men have a stronger sex drive than women and that this natural sexual aggression makes men better suited to leadership roles in marriage, church, and society. Although this theology, called complementarianism, had earlier roots in conservative Protestantism, the connection that evangelicals made between male sexuality and male leadership was influenced by the scientific fields of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology during the 1980s and 1990s. These fields argue that maleness is a genetic evolutionary strategy characterized by social competition and a strong, even aggressive, sex drive. Evangelicals drew upon this scientific model in their efforts to combat second-wave feminism within their communities and in the broader culture. They turned to biology as a defense against the so-called cultural claims of feminism. Significantly, the model that evangelicals drew on from research in sociobiology and evolutionary psychology helped shape the articulations of “natural” masculine behavior in popular Christian self-help books, dating manuals, and theological texts. This article builds on the body of feminist scholarship that has critiqued the evidence, models, and popular influence of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology. But it also urges the importance of analyzing the role of religious practices in the circulation and legitimation of scientific depictions of gender and sexuality.

Read more here.

In Social History of Medicine, by Julie Powell, the article Shock Troupe: Medical Film and the Performance of ‘Shell Shock’ for the British Nation at War

Its abstract reads:

In 1917, physician Arthur F. Hurst began filming the peculiar tics and hysterical gaits of ‘shell-shocked’ soldiers under his care. Editions of Hurst’s films from 1918 and 1940 survive. Cultural products of their time, I argue, the films engaged with contemporary ideas of class, gender and nation. The 1918 version reinforced class-based notions of disease and degeneracy while validating personal and national trauma and bolstering conceptions of masculinity and the nation that were critical to wartime morale and recovery efforts. The 1940 re-edit of the film engaged with the memory of the First World War by constructing a restorative narrative and by erasing the troubled years of gender crisis, ‘shell shock’ culture and class struggle to reassert masculine virtue and martial strength, essential for the prosecution of the Second World War.

Read the full thing here.

And not least, in History of Psychiatry, an article by authors Lois P. Rudnick and Alison Heru titled The ‘secret’ source of ‘female hysteria’: the role that syphilis played in the construction of female sexuality and psychoanalysis in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

Here is its abstract

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the unspoken fear of syphilis played a significant role in the development of beliefs about female sexuality. Many women were afraid of sexual relationships with men because they feared contracting syphilis, which was, at that time, untreatable. Women also feared passing this disease on to their children. Women’s sexual aversion, or repression, became a focus for Freud and his colleagues, whose theory of psychosexual development was based on their treatment of women. This article examines the case of Dora, the memoirs of Mabel Dodge Luhan and other sources to argue that the fear of syphilis was a significant factor in upper- and middle-class women’s avoidance of heterosexual relationships. The fear of syphilis, in turn, became a significant factor in the psychoanalytic construction of female sexuality. The social suppression of the fear of syphilis has had a profound impact on theories of women’s development. The implication for psychiatry is that our models of psychological development occur within a sociocultural milieu and cannot escape suppressed aspects of our culture.

Find the piece here.

 

On the Passing of John Burnham

@APA 2009, a picture of “The Three JHBS Amigos,” as affectionately called by Chris Green. In addition to Raymond Fancher and John Burnham, their wives, Marjorie Burnham and Helena Fancher.

We’ve received sad notice that John Chynoweth Burnham passed away on May 12, 2017. With a doctorate in history from Stanford and a position at Ohio State from the early 60s through 2002 (and associations with numerous other institutions and organizations), Burnham was “a historian’s historian.” As a prolific author and editor, his historiographic interests varied broadly and were influential in a number of fields, but to us he is best known for his pioneering work in the history of psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and American health care. He served as president of the American Association for the History of Medicine from 1990-2, as editor of the Journal of the History of Behavioral Sciences from 1997-2000, and received Division 26’s Lifetime Achievement Award, among many other honours and awards throughout his career.

Read his full obituary here. A partial list of his full length publications can be found here.

March Lecture @ The New York Academy of Medicine on Mental & Microbial Health

On March 15th attend a talk given by Harriet Washington titled Infectious Madness, the Well Curve and the Microbial Roots of Mental Disturbance. Washington is a science writer, editor and ethicist who has been a Research Fellow in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School, Visiting Fellow at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, a visiting scholar at DePaul University College of Law and a senior research scholar at the National Center for Bioethics at Tuskegee University. She has also held fellowships at Stanford University. The lecture is based on her book Infectious Madness: The Surprising Science of How We “Catch” Mental Illness. The promotional abstract reads as follows:

From offended gods to broken taboos to schizophrenogenic mothers, mankind has long been enmeshed in what neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky calls the “primordial muck” of mental-illness etiology. Today, armed with clearer insights and better tools, we are undergoing a paradigm shift that acknowledges the key role of our microbial fellow passengers in forging our mental health.

The talk is 6:00-7:30 pm, at The New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029. Free for students, $15 for the public.

Register here.

Coverage of her book in The New York Times can be found here.