Category Archives: Books

The Sense of Movement: An Intellectual History

A new book by Roger Smith may be of interest to AHP readers: The Sense of Movement: An Intellectual History. The book is available as both an e-book and print book. Details below:

The sense of movement, the feeling of one’s body or limbs in motion, has a rich history over the last three centuries. Differentiated from general touch, linked to intuition of agency, tied to the feel for reality, associated with the notion of force in natural philosophy, close to the sense of life, it has sometimes been called ‘the sixth sense’. Inquirers have re-described it as kinaesthesia, proprioception and haptic sense. Talk of sensed movement abounds in contemporary arts and performance, in the life of sport and walking, and in the sciences of cognition and motor control. This book is the first to place this talk in its full historical setting. It combines original history with philosophical elucidation of the concepts and arguments at work when people say sensing movement matters. The book is wide in range, synthesizing discussions otherwise separated by discipline boundaries between physiology, psychology, philosophy, cultural history and history of science. The writing combines the voice of a scholar with the voice of a participant in movement.

New Book: Psychological Studies of Science and Technology

Under the editorship of Kieran O’Doherty and Jeffrey Yen at the University of Guelph, Lisa Osbeck at the University of West Georgia, and Ernst Schraube at Roskilde University, a new volume of interest to our readership, Psychological Studies of Science and Technology. This book is intended to present “critical and situated approaches to the psychological study of science and technology;”
Demonstrate “how an expansion of dialogue between psychology and STS can contribute to the development of psychological theory, methodology, and practice;”
and focus “on a variety of issues relating to the psychological study of science and technology in our contemporary world.”

Here is an in-depth synopsis from Palgrave Macmillan:

This book provides a significant contribution to scholarship on the psychology of science and the psychology of technology by showcasing a range of theory and research distinguished as psychological studies of science and technology. Science and technology are central to almost all domains of human activity, for which reason they are the focus of subdisciplines such as philosophy of science, philosophy of technology, sociology of knowledge, and history of science and technology. To date, psychology has been marginal in this space and limited to relatively narrow epistemological orientations. By explicitly embracing pluralism and an international approach, this book offers new perspectives and directions for psychological contributions. 

The book brings together  leading theorists and researchers from around the world and spans scholarship across a variety of traditions that include theoretical psychology, critical psychology, feminist psychology and social constructionist approaches. Following a historical and conceptual introduction, the collection is divided into three sections: Scoping a New Psychology of Science and Technology, Applying Psychological Concepts to the Study of Science and Technology and Critical Perspectives on Psychology as a Science. The book will interest interdisciplinary scholars who work in the space of Science and Technology Studies and psychologists interested in the diverse human aspects of science and technology.

Follow this link to find out more

The Republic of Color: Science, Perception, and the Making of Modern America

AHP readers will be interested in a new book on the history of colour in America: The Republic of Color: Science, Perception, and the Making of Modern America by Michael Rossi. The book is described as follows:

The Republic of Color delves deep into the history of color science in the United States to unearth its origins and examine the scope of its influence on the industrial transformation of turn-of-the-century America.

For a nation in the grip of profound economic, cultural, and demographic crises, the standardization of color became a means of social reform—a way of sculpting the American population into one more amenable to the needs of the emerging industrial order. Delineating color was also a way to characterize the vagaries of human nature, and to create ideal structures through which those humans would act in a newly modern American republic. Michael Rossi’s compelling history goes far beyond the culture of the visual to show readers how the control and regulation of color shaped the social contours of modern America—and redefined the way we see the world.

Table of Contents

Introduction / Cloven Tongues of Fire

Chapter One / Modern Chromatics: Ogden Rood and the Wrong-Workings of the Eye

Chapter Two / From Chemistry to Phanerochemistry: Charles Sanders Peirce and the Semiotic of Color

Chapter Three / Pathologies of Perception: Benjamin Joy Jeffries and the Invention of Color Blindness

Chapter Four / Colors and Cultures: Evolution, Biology, and Society

Chapter Five / The Pragmatic Physiology of Color Vision: Christine Ladd-Franklin and the “Evolutionary Theory” of Color

Chapter Six / Small Lies for Big Truths: Standards, Values, and Color Terms

Chapter Seven / The Logical and the Genetic: Bodies, Work, and Formal Color Notations

Conclusion / Talking about Color

How the Brain Lost Its Mind: Sex, Hysteria, and the Riddle of Mental Illness

AHP readers may be interested in a new book, How the Brain Lost Its Mind: Sex, Hysteria, and the Riddle of Mental Illness, written by neurologist Allan H. Ropper and mathematician Brian David Burrell. As the publisher describes:

How the Brain Lost Its Mind tells the rich and compelling story of two confounding ailments, syphilis and hysteria, and the extraordinary efforts to confront their effects on mental life. How does the mind work? Where does madness lie, in the brain or in the mind? How should it be treated?

Throughout the nineteenth century, syphilis–a disease of mad poets, musicians, and artists–swept through the highest and lowest rungs of European society like a plague. Known as “the Great Imitator,” it could produce almost any form of mental or physical illness, and it would bring down a host of famous and infamous characters–among them Guy de Maupassant, Vincent van Gogh, the Marquis de Sade, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Al Capone. It was the first truly psychiatric disease and it filled asylums to overflowing. At the same time, an outbreak of bizarre behaviors resembling epilepsy, but with no identifiable source in the body, strained the diagnostic skills of the great neurologists. It was referred to as hysteria.

For more than a century, neurosyphilis stood out as the archetype of a brain-based mental illness, fully understood but largely forgotten, and today far from gone. Hysteria, under many different names, remains unexplained and epidemic. These two conditions stand at opposite poles of the current debate over the role of the brain in mental illness. Hysteria led Freud to insert sex into psychology. Neurosyphilis led to the proliferation of mental institutions. The problem of managing the inmates led to the abuse of lobotomy and electroshock therapy, and ultimately the overuse of psychotropic drugs.

Today we know that syphilitic madness was a destructive disease of the brain while hysteria and, more broadly, many varieties of mental illness reside solely in the mind. Or do they? Afflictions once written off as “hysterical” continue to elude explanation. Addiction, alcoholism, autism, ADHD, Tourette syndrome, depression, and sociopathy, though regarded as brain-based, have not been proven to be so.

In these pages, the authors raise a host of philosophical and practical questions. What is the difference between a sick mind and a sick brain? If we understood everything about the brain, would we understand ourselves? By delving into an overlooked history, this book shows how neuroscience and brain scans alone cannot account for a robust mental life, or a deeply disturbed one.

Gods of the Upper Air: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century

AHP readers may be interested in a new book on the history of cultural anthropology focused on Franz Boas and his women students. Gods of the Upper Air: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century is described by the publisher as follows:

A dazzling group portrait of Franz Boas, the founder of cultural anthropology, and his circle of women scientists, who upended American notions of race, gender, and sexuality in the 1920s and 1930s–a sweeping chronicle of how our society began to question the basic ways we understand other cultures and ourselves.

At the end of the 19th century, everyone knew that people were defined by their race and sex and were fated by birth and biology to be more or less intelligent, able, nurturing, or warlike. But one rogue researcher looked at the data and decided everyone was wrong. Franz Boas was the very image of a mad scientist: a wild-haired immigrant with a thick German accent. By the 1920s he was also the foundational thinker and public face of a new school of thought at Columbia University called cultural anthropology. He proposed that cultures did not exist on a continuum from primitive to advanced. Instead, every society solves the same basic problems–from childrearing to how to live well–with its own set of rules, beliefs, and taboos.

Boas’s students were some of the century’s intellectual stars: Margaret Mead, the outspoken field researcher whose Coming of Age in Samoa is one of the most widely read works of social science of all time; Ruth Benedict, the great love of Mead’s life, whose research shaped post-Second World War Japan; Ella Deloria, the Dakota Sioux activist who preserved the traditions of Native Americans of the Great Plains; and Zora Neale Hurston, whose studies under Boas fed directly into her now-classic novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Together, they mapped vanishing civilizations from the Arctic to the South Pacific and overturned the relationship between biology and behavior. Their work reshaped how we think of women and men, normalcy and deviance, and re-created our place in a world of many cultures and value systems.

Gods of the Upper Air is a page-turning narrative of radical ideas and adventurous lives, a history rich in scandal, romance, and rivalry, and a genesis story of the fluid conceptions of identity that define our present moment.