Category Archives: General

September 2020 issue of History of Psychiatry

AHP readers may be interested in the newly released September 2020 issue of History of Psychiatry. Full details below.

“Alteration of consciousness in Ancient Greece: divine mania,” Yulia Ustinova. Abstract:

Ancient Greece was unique in its attitude to alteration of consciousness. Various altered states of consciousness were commonly known: initiates experienced them during mystery rites; sacred officials and enquirers attained them in the major oracular centres; possession by various deities was recognized; and some sages and philosophers practised manipulation of consciousness. From the perspective of individual and public freedom, the prominent position of mania in Greek society reflects its openness and acceptance of the inborn human proclivity to experience alterations of consciousness, which were interpreted in positive terms as god-sent. These mental states were treated with cautious respect, but never suppressed or pushed to the cultural and social periphery, in contrast to many other complex societies, ancient and modern.

“History of the opposition between psychogenesis and organogenesis in classic psychiatry: Part 2,” Yorgos Dimitriadis. Abstract:

This paper is the second of two to explore historical concepts of causation in psychiatry. Psychogenesis (as opposed to organogenesis) is superficially attractive but ambiguous, as it can apply either to something that is produced by the psyche or alternatively to the effect on the psyche from external factors. The term endogenous may be contrasted to exogenous or reactive, but the meanings of each have become blurred and ambiguous. Difficulty also arises when contrasting the process versus comprehensibility of mental disorders, as the limits of what may be understood are imprecise. A fourth comparison is between temperament and constitution against types of reaction, and again there is a tendency to circularity. Finally, a way forward is suggested using the notion of psychosomatic brain diseases.

“Freud and Albert Moll: how kindred spirits became bitter foes,” Harry Oosterhuis. Abstract:

This article explores the antagonism between Sigmund Freud and the German neurologist and sexologist Albert Moll. When Moll, in 1908, published a book about the sexuality of children, Freud, without any grounds, accused him of plagiarism. In fact, Moll had reason to suspect Freud of plagiarism since there are many parallels between Freud’s Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie and Moll’s Untersuchungen über die Libido sexualis. Freud had read this book carefully, but hardly paid tribute to Moll’s innovative thinking about sexuality. A comparison between the two works casts doubt on Freud’s claim that his work was a revolutionary breakthrough. Freud’s course of action raises questions about his integrity. The article also critically addresses earlier evaluations of the clash.

“The electroshock triangle: disputes about the ECT apparatus prototype and its display in the 1960s,” Elisabetta Sirgiovanni, Alessandro Aruta. Abstract:

In the early 1960s, a climate of public condemnation of electroconvulsive therapy was emerging in the USA and Europe. In spite of this, the electroshock apparatus prototype, introduced in Rome in 1938, was becoming hotly contended. This article explores the disputes around the display of the electroshock apparatus prototype in the summer of 1964 and sheds new light on the triangle of personalities that shaped its future: Karl and William Menninger, two key figures of American psychiatry in Topeka; their competitor, Adalberto Pazzini, the founder of the Sapienza Museum of the History of Medicine in Rome; and, between them, Lucio Bini, one of the original inventors of ECT, who died unexpectedly that summer.

“Malaria therapy in Spain: 100 years after its introduction as a treatment for the general paralysis of the insane,” Olga Villasante. Abstract:

This article addresses the implementation of malaria fever therapy in Spain. Neuropsychiatrist Rodríguez-Lafora first used it in 1924, but Vallejo-Nágera was the main advocate for the technique. He had learned the method from Wagner von Jauregg himself, and he worked in the Military Psychiatric Clinic and the San José Mental Hospital, both in Ciempozuelos (Madrid). Vallejo-Nágera worked with the parasitologist Zozaya, who had travelled to England with a Rockefeller Foundation grant in order to learn from British malariologist, Sydney Price James. This article details the results of the uneven implementation of this treatment in Spanish psychiatric institutions. Although syphilologists and internists used fever therapy for the treatment of general paralysis of the insane, they were much less enthusiastic than psychiatrists.

“Patients behind the front lines: the exchange of mentally-ill patients in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War,” Daniel Argo, Vladislav Fainstein, Edgar Jones, Moshe Z Abramowitz. Abstract:

The British Mandate in Palestine ended abruptly in 1948. The British departure engendered a complex situation which affected all areas of life, and the country’s health system was no exception. Gradual transition of the infrastructure was almost impossible owing to the ineffectiveness of the committee appointed by the United Nations. The situation was further complicated by the outbreak of the Arab–Israeli War. We relate for the first time the story of 75 Jewish patients who were left in a former British mental hospital in Bethlehem – deep behind the front lines. Despite the hostilities, there were complex negotiations about relocating those patients. This episode sheds light on the Jewish and Arab relationship as it pertained to mental institutions during and immediately after the British Mandate.

“Foucault’s Folie et déraison: its influence and its contemporary relevance,” Andrew Scull. Abstract:

Michel Foucault remains one of the most influential intellectuals in the early twenty-first century world. This paper examines the origins and impact of his first major work, Folie et déraison, on the history of psychiatry, particularly though not exclusively in the world of Anglo-American scholarship. The impact and limits of Foucault’s work on the author’s own contributions to the history of psychiatry are examined, as is the larger influence of Madness and Civilization (as it is known to most Anglophones) on the nascent social history of psychiatry. The paper concludes with an assessment of the sources of the appeal of Foucault’s work among some scholars, and notes his declining influence on contemporary scholars working on the history of psychiatry.

“Naum Efimovich Ischlondsky: a forgotten protagonist of the concept of reflexology,” Birk Engmann. Abstract:

The present article reports on the life and work of a protagonist of the concept of reflexology. While the concept itself has its roots in Russia, in Ivan Petrovich Pavlov’s research on conditioned reflexes, and was then shaped to a large extent by Vladimir Mikhailovich Bekhterev, the contributions of Naum Efimovich Ischlondsky (Ishlondsky) have been largely forgotten. Moreover, he developed this concept throughout his life up to the 1960s, by which time he was living in the USA. In contrast, in the Soviet Union, the concepts of reflexology based on the work of Bechterev and his followers had already been abandoned by the 1930s for largely political reasons.

The Participant: A Century of Participation in Four Stories

AHP readers may be interested in Christopher Kelty’s recent The Participant: A Century of Participation in Four Stories. The book is described as,

Participation is everywhere today. It has been formalized, measured, standardized, scaled up, network-enabled, and sent around the world. Platforms, algorithms, and software offer to make participation easier, but new technologies have had the opposite effect. We find ourselves suspicious of how participation extracts our data or monetizes our emotions, and the more procedural participation becomes, the more it seems to recede from our grasp.

In this book, Christopher M. Kelty traces four stories of participation across the twentieth century, showing how they are part of a much longer-term problem in relation to the individual and collective experience of representative democracy. Kelty argues that in the last century or so, the power of participation has dwindled; over time, it has been formatted in ways that cramp and dwarf it, even as the drive to participate has spread to nearly every kind of human endeavor, all around the world. The Participant is a historical ethnography of the concept of participation, investigating how the concept has evolved into the form it takes today. It is a book that asks, “Why do we participate?” And sometimes, “Why do we refuse?”

Newborn Imitation: The Stakes of a Controversy

Just released as part of the series Elements in Histories of Emotions and the Senses is a piece that may interest AHP readers: “Newborn Imitation: The Stakes of a Controversy.” Written by Ruth Leys, the piece is free to access from now until July 21, 2020. Abstract:

Newborn imitation has recently become the focus of a major controversy in the human sciences. New studies have reexamined the evidence and found it wanting. Imitation has been regarded as a crucial capability of neonates ever since 1977, when two American psychologists first published experiments appearing to demonstrate that babies at birth are able to copy a variety of facial movements. The findings overturned decades of assumptions about the competence of newborns. But what if claims for newborn imitation are not true? Influential theories about the mechanisms underlying imitation, the role of mirror neurons, the nature of the self and of infant mental states, will all have to be modified or abandoned if it turns out that babies cannot imitate at birth. This Element offers a critical assessment of those theories and the stakes involved.

Forthcoming in HHS: Revisiting John Forrester and the Case

A number of articles destined for a forthcoming special issue of History of the Human Sciences – dedicated to John Forrester’s work on thinking in cases – are now available online. Full details below (including, full disclosure, a piece from myself, as well as one from AHP founding editor Jeremy Trevelyan Burman).

Periodical amnesia and dédoublement in case-reasoning: Writing psychological cases in late 19th-century France,” Kim M. Hajek. Abstract:

The psychoanalytical case history was in many ways the pivot point of John Forrester’s reflections on case-based reasoning. Yet the Freudian case is not without its own textual forebears. This article closely analyses texts from two earlier case-writing traditions in order to elucidate some of the negotiations by which the case history as a textual form came to articulate the mode of reasoning that we now call ‘thinking in cases’. It reads Eugène Azam’s 1876 observation of Félida X and her ‘double personality’—the case that brought both Azam and Félida to prominence in late 19th-century French science—against a medico-surgical case penned by the Bordeaux physician in the same decade. While the stylistics of Azam’s medical case mirror its epistemic underpinnings in the ‘vertical’ logics of positivist science, the multiple narratives interwoven in Félida’s case grant both Azam and his patient the role of knowledge-making actors in the text. This narrative transformation chimes with the way Azam reasons ‘horizontally’ from particulars to Félida’s singular condition, but sits in tension with his choice to structure the observation along a ‘vertical’ axis. Between the two, we glimpse the emergence of the psychological observation as a mode of writing and thus of thinking in cases.

Proving nothing and illustrating much: The case of Michael Balint,” Shaul Bar-Haim. Abstract:

John Forrester’s book Thinking in Cases does not provide one ultimate definition of what it means to ‘think in cases’, but rather several alternatives: a ‘style of reasoning’ (Hacking), ‘paradigms’ or ‘exemplars’ (Kuhn), and ‘language games’ (Wittgenstein), to mention only a few. But for Forrester, the stories behind each of the figures who suggested these different models for thinking (in cases) are as important as the models themselves. In other words, the question for Forrester is not only what ‘thinking in cases’ is, but also who might be considered a ‘thinker in cases’. Who could serve as a case study for such a thinker? The major candidates that Forrester considers in his book to be ‘thinkers in cases’ are Kuhn, Foucault, Freud, and Winnicott. In what follows, I will argue that one name is missing from this list, as well as from Forrester’s book more generally: Michael Balint. This name is missing not only because Balint was a great ‘thinker in cases’, but also because we have some reasons to believe that Forrester himself thought so and wished to add him to the list. Forrester, I will argue, found in Balint an exemplar for a thinker in cases that combined elements from Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theory and Foucault’s philosophy of the case-based sciences.

The case history in the colonies,” Erik Linstrum. Abstract:

The case history in the colonial context was a hybrid form, caught between bureaucratic pressures toward racialization, aggregation, and generalization, on the one hand, and the individualistic bias of the genre, on the other. This tension posed a problem for colonial rulers. In their drive to harvest neat, ideologically reliable knowledge about the minds of colonial subjects, officials and researchers in the 20th-century British Empire read case histories in selective ways, pared them down to simplistic fables, and ultimately bypassed them whenever they could. In other words, although they worked mightily to bend the case history to their purposes, they never fully succeeded. The authority granted to personal testimony and the capaciousness of the detail in case histories always contained a subversive potential. As a result, the politics of the colonial case history were underdetermined, overflowing the categories and resisting the generalizations that colonial rulers sought to impose.

‘If p? Then What?’ Thinking within, with, and from cases,” Mary S. Morgan. Abstract:

The provocative paper by John Forrester ‘If p, Then What? Thinking in Cases’ (1996) opened up the question of case thinking as a separate mode of reasoning in the sciences. Case-based reasoning is certainly endemic across a number of sciences, but it has looked different according to where it has been found. This article investigates this mode of science – namely thinking in cases – by questioning the different interpretations of ‘If p?’ and exploring the different interpretative responses of what follows in ‘Then What?’. The aim is to characterize how ‘reasoning in, within, with, and from cases’ forms a mode of scientific investigation for single cases, for runs of cases, and for comparative cases, drawing on materials from a range of different fields in which case-based reasoning appears.

Thinking in multitudes: Questionnaires and composite cases in early American psychology,” Jacy L. Young. Abstract:

In the late 19th century, the questionnaire was one means of taking the case study into the multitudes. This article engages with Forrester’s idea of thinking in cases as a means of interrogating questionnaire-based research in early American psychology. Questionnaire research was explicitly framed by psychologists as a practice involving both natural historical and statistical forms of scientific reasoning. At the same time, questionnaire projects failed to successfully enact the latter aspiration in terms of synthesizing masses of collected data into a coherent whole. Difficulties in managing the scores of descriptive information questionnaires generated ensured the continuing presence of individuals in the results of this research, as the individual case was excerpted and discussed alongside a cast of others. As a consequence, questionnaire research embodied an amalgam of case, natural historical, and statistical thinking. Ultimately, large-scale data collection undertaken with questionnaires failed in its aim to construct composite exemplars or ‘types’ of particular kinds of individuals; to produce the singular from the multitudes.

The case as a travelling genre,” Maria Böhmer. Abstract:

This contribution explores how Forrester’s work on cases has opened up an arena that might be called ‘the medical case as a travelling genre’. Although usually focused on the course of disease in an individual patient and authored mostly by one medical author, medical case histories have a social dimension: Once published, they often circulate in networks of scholars. Moreover, scholars of the history of literature have shown that numerous medical cases seem to travel easily beyond the context of medical science into the realm of popular literature and journalism. After tracing the idea of cases travelling in Forrester’s Thinking in Cases, I discuss several contributions by authors who, in the wake of interdisciplinary research on cases in the past two decades, have dealt in different ways with this idea. In the third section, I present my own research on a case of self-crucifixion that was widely discussed in 19th-century Europe. I suggest that understanding the case as a ‘traveling genre’ – an expression borrowed from literary genre theory – highlights the role of readers and publication formats as constitutive for cases, and enables us to see more clearly what cases do for scientists and writers who work with them.

Confusing cases: Forrester, Stoller, Agnes, woman,” Julie Walsh. Abstract:

This article pursues the hypothesis that there is a structural affinity between the case study as a genre of writing and the question of gendered subjectivity. With John Forrester’s chapter ‘Inventing Gender Identity: The Case of Agnes’ as my starting point, I ask how the case of ‘Agnes’ continues to inform our understanding of different disciplinary approaches (sociological and psychoanalytic) to theorizing gender. I establish a conversation between distinct, psychoanalytically informed feminisms (Simone de Beauvoir, Juliet Mitchell, Judith Butler, and Denise Riley) to move from the mid-20th century to contemporary cultural debate.

On Kuhn’s case, and Piaget’s: A critical two-sited hauntology (or, On impact without reference),” Jeremy Trevelyan Burman. Abstract:

Picking up on John Forrester’s (1949–2015) disclosure that he felt ‘haunted’ by the suspicion that Thomas Kuhn’s (1922–96) interests had become his own, this essay complexifies our understanding of both of their legacies by presenting two sites for that haunting. The first is located by engaging Forrester’s argument that the connection between Kuhn and psychoanalysis was direct. (This was the supposed source of his historiographical method: ‘climbing into other people’s heads’.) However, recent archival discoveries suggest that that is incorrect. Instead, Kuhn’s influence in this regard was Jean Piaget (1896–1980). And it is Piaget’s thinking that was influenced directly by psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis then haunts Kuhn’s thinking through Piaget, and thus Piaget haunts Forrester through Kuhn. To better understand this second site of the haunting—which is ultimately the more important one, given the intent of this special issue—Piaget’s early psychoanalytic ideas are uncovered through their interaction with his early biology and subsequent turn to philosophy. But several layers of conflicting contemporary misunderstandings are first excavated. The method of hauntology is also developed, taking advantage of its origins as a critical response to the psychoanalytic discourse. As a result of adopting this approach, a larger than usual number of primary sources have been unearthed and presented as evidence (including new translations from French originals). Where those influences have continued to have an impact, but their sources forgotten, they have thus been returned. They can then all be considered together in deriving new perspectives of Forrester’s cases/Kuhn’s exemplars/Piaget’s stages.

Joint Cheiron and ESHHS Virtual Mini-Meeting, July 9-11, 2020

AHP readers may be interested in attending a virtual mini-meeting of Cheiron (the International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences) and ESHHS (European Society for the History of the Human Sciences), taking place in lieu of a planned in-person joint meeting of the societies. A series of talks and virtual sessions will take place July 9th through 11th on Zoom. The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology has generously supplied a conference website, whereon conference materials and zoom links to live sessions can be found. Registration for the mini-meeting is free but required in order to access the meeting site.

Seeking double personality: Nakamura Kokyo’s work in abnormal psychology in early 20th?century Japan

AHP readers will be interested in a forthcoming piece in Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences now available online: “Seeking double personality: Nakamura Kokyo’s work in abnormal psychology in early 20th?century Japan,” by Yu?chuan Wu. Abstract:

This paper examines Nakamura Koky?’s study of a woman with a split personality who lived in his home as a maid from 1917 until her death in 1940. She was his indispensable muse and assistant in his efforts to promote abnormal psychology and psychotherapy. This paper first explores the central position of multiple personality in Nakamura’s theory of the subconscious, which was largely based on the model of dissociation. It then examines how it became a central issue in Nakamura’s disputes with religions including the element of spirit possession, which invoked Western psychical research to modernize their doctrines. While both were concerned with the subconscious and alterations in personality, Nakamura’s psychological view was distinguished from those spiritual understandings by his emphasis on individual memories, particularly those that were traumatic, and hysteria. The remaining sections of the paper will examine Nakamura’s views on memory and hysteria, which conflicted with both the academic mainstream and the established cultural beliefs. This conflict may partly explain the limited success of Nakamura’s academic and social campaigns.

April 2020 HHS: Critique of Psychometrics, Review Symposium on Leys’s The Ascent of Affect, and More

The April 2020 issue of History of the Human Sciences is now online. Full details below.

“The fashionable scientific fraud: Collingwood’s critique of psychometrics,” Joel Michell. Abstract:

In his review of Charles Spearman’s The Nature of ‘Intelligence’ (1923), R. G. Collingwood launched an attack upon psychometrics that was expanded in his Essay on Metaphysics (1940). Although underrated by friend and foe alike, Collingwood’s critique identified a number of defects in the thinking of psychometricians that subsequently became entrenched. However, his main complaint was that psychology generally (and, by implication, psychometrics) was a ‘fashionable scientific fraud’. This charge was inspired by his more general views on logic and metaphysics, which, however, as I argue, are logically unsustainable. Ironically, other elements of his philosophy – his ‘fallacy of calculation’ and concept of ‘scale of forms’ – are relevant to psychometrics and tip the scales in favour of his otherwise unwarranted charge.

“‘Polynesians’ in the Brazilian hinterland? Sociohistorical perspectives on skulls, genomics, identity, and nationhood,” Ricardo Ventura Santos, Bronwen Douglas. Abstract:

In 1876, Brazilian physical anthropologists De Lacerda and Peixoto published findings of detailed anatomical and osteometric investigation of the new human skull collection of Rio de Janeiro’s Museu Nacional. They argued not only that the Indigenous ‘Botocudo’ in Brazil might be autochthonous to the New World, but also that they shared analogic proximity to other geographically very distant human groups – the New Caledonians and Australians – equally attributed limited cranial capacity and resultant inferior intellect. Described by Blumenbach and Morton, ‘Botocudo’ skulls were highly valued scientific specimens in 19th-century physical anthropology. A recent genomic study has again related ‘the Botocudo’ to Indigenous populations from the other side of the world by identifying ‘Polynesian ancestry’ in two of 14 Botocudo skulls held at the Museu Nacional. This article places the production of scientific knowledge in multidisciplinary, multiregional historical perspectives. We contextualize modern narratives in the biological sciences relating ‘Botocudo’ skulls and other cranial material from lowland South America to Polynesia, Melanesia, and Australia. With disturbing irony, such studies often unthinkingly reinscribe essentialized historic racial categories such as ‘the Botocudos’, ‘the Polynesians’, and ‘the Australo-Melanesians’. We conclude that the fertile alliance of intersecting sciences that is revolutionizing understandings of deep human pasts must be informed by sensitivity to the deep histories of terms, classification schemes, and the disciplines themselves.

“Ethics of security: A genealogical introduction,” Andrea Rossi. Abstract:

This article analyses the set of ethical questions underlying the emergence of the modern politics of security, as articulated, in particular, in the work of Thomas Hobbes. An ethic is here understood – in line with its ancient philosophical use and the interpretation advanced by authors such as Michel Foucault and Pierre Hadot – as a domain of reflections and practices related to the cultivation and conversion of the self (ask?sis, metanoia). The article aims to demonstrate that, besides attending to the physical safety of the state and its citizens, modern apparatuses of security are also crucially implicated in the formation of their subjects as ethical and autonomous individuals. To substantiate this thesis, the article first illustrates how, since the first appearance of the term in the vocabulary of Western thought – and in Seneca’s work in particular – theories of security have been intimately tied to the cultivation of the self. It thus interprets Hobbes’s reflections on the subject as the upshot of a substantive, if implicit, re-articulation of Seneca’s ethic of security, by focusing on the two authors’ respective understandings of (a) autonomy, (b) the world, (c) ascesis, and (d) politics. Overall, it is suggested that the differences between the two authors testify to a wider political-historical shift: in modern regimes of governmentality, the ethical dimension of security no longer defines the rightful exercise of political power, but rather appears as an object of social and economic governance.

“Natural law as early social thought: The recovery of natural law for sociology,” Angela Leahy. Abstract:

Natural law contains much social thought that predates sociology and related disciplines, and can be seen as part of the prehistory of the human sciences. Key concerns of natural law thinkers include the achievement of social life and society, and the individual’s place therein. However, there is an enduring tendency within sociology to dismiss the ahistoricism and universalism of natural law, and therefore to reject natural law thought in its entirety. This article proposes an approach that rescues the sociological relevance of natural law. It draws on the respective methods of Chris Thornhill and Gary Wickham, who each seek to recover the importance of natural law for sociology. Thornhill treats natural law as a valid sociological object by focusing on its functions within society rather than engaging with its ahistorical concepts. His focus on the external functions of natural law, however, leads to a neglect of the internal conceptualisations of the social world in natural law thought. This in turn leads to a misinterpretation of Hobbes and voluntarist natural law. Wickham, on the other hand, explores in detail Hobbesian conceptions of society and the individual that Wickham argues can be utilised within contemporary sociology. This article revises Thornhill’s methodological framework in order to secure a space for the recovery of natural law as social thought. This approach allows for the recognition of natural law as an important piece of the epistemological background against which contemporary understandings of the human and society emerged.

“What was fair in actuarial fairness?,” Antonio J. Heras, Pierre-Charles Pradier, David Teira. Abstract:

In actuarial parlance, the price of an insurance policy is considered fair if customers bearing the same risk are charged the same price. The estimate of this fair amount hinges on the expected value obtained by weighting the different claims by their probability. We argue that, historically, this concept of actuarial fairness originates in an Aristotelian principle of justice in exchange (equality in risk). We will examine how this principle was formalized in the 16th century and shaped in life insurance during the following two hundred years, in two different interpretations. The Domatian account of actuarial fairness relied on subjective uncertainty: An agreement on risk was fair if both parties were equally ignorant about the chances of an uncertain event. The objectivist version grounded any agreement on an objective risk estimate drawn from a mortality table. We will show how the objectivist approach collapsed in the market for life annuities during the 18th century, leaving open the question of why we still speak of actuarial fairness as if it were an objective expected value.

Review Symposium on Ruth Leys’s The Ascent of Affect
“Must we mean what we do? – Review Symposium on Leys’s The Ascent of Affect,” Clive Barnett.

“From the ashes, a fertile opportunity for historicism – Review Symposium on Leys’s The Ascent of Affect,” Rob Boddice.

“Affect theory’s alternative genealogies – Review Symposium on Leys’s The Ascent of Affect,”
Carolyn Pedwell.


“Affect, genealogy, history – Review Symposium on Ruth Leys’s The Ascent of Affect,” Elizabeth A. Wilson.

“Reply to my commentators – Review Symposium on Leys’s The Ascent of Affect,” Ruth Leys.

Unsung Psychology Pioneers: A Content Analysis of Who Makes History (and Who Doesn’t)

A new piece in the summer 2020 issue of the American Journal of Psychology may interest AHP readers: “Unsung Psychology Pioneers: A Content Analysis of Who Makes History (and Who Doesn’t),” by Leslie D. Cramblet Alvarez, Jonah L. Leach, Jerome L. Rodriguez and K. Nicole Jones. Abstract:

Considerable evidence points to women’s absence in historical accounts of psychology. To examine current representations of women and people of color in commonly used history of psychology textbooks, a content analysis was conducted. Five textbooks were examined for the frequency of mentions of psychology pioneers in both the tables of contents and the body of the text. Coverage dedicated to men, particularly White men, outnumbered women and psychologists of color exponentially. Of the pioneers of interest examined, women received 7.1% of all mentions by name. Texts were also examined for key terms including woman, women, female/s, men, man, and male/s and coded for substantive mentions. Substantive mentions were defined as the context surrounding the term indicating a meaningful scientific contribution. Findings indicated a higher percentage of substantive mentions for man/men than woman/women and the reverse for male/s and female/s. The power of the textbook in shaping the curriculum and the importance of our curricular materials reflecting our changing student demographics are considered.

Madness in the City of Magnificent Intentions: A History of Race and Mental Illness in the Nation’s Capital

AHP readers will be interested in a recent book on the history of Washington, DC’s Saint Elizabeths Hospital: Madness in the City of Magnificent Intentions: A History of Race and Mental Illness in the Nation’s Capital by Martin Summers. The book is described as follows:

From the mid-nineteenth to the late twentieth centuries, Saint Elizabeths Hospital was one of the United States’ most important institutions for the care and treatment of the mentally ill. Founded in 1855 to treat insane soldiers and sailors as well as civilian residents in the nation’s capital, the institution became one of the country’s preeminent research and teaching psychiatric hospitals. From the beginning of its operation, Saint Elizabeths admitted black patients, making it one of the few American asylums to do so. This book is a history of the hospital and its relationship to Washington, DC’s African American community. It charts the history of Saint Elizabeths from its founding to the late-1980s, when the hospital’s mission and capabilities changed as a result of deinstitutionalization, and its transfer from the federal government to the District of Columbia. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, including patient case files, the book demonstrates how race was central to virtually every aspect of the hospital’s existence, from the ways in which psychiatrists understood mental illness and employed therapies to treat it to the ways that black patients experienced their institutionalization. The book argues that assumptions about the existence of distinctive black and white psyches shaped the therapeutic and diagnostic regimes in the hospital and left a legacy of poor treatment of African American patients, even after psychiatrists had begun to reject racialist conceptions of the psyche. Yet black patients and their communities asserted their own agency and exhibited a “rights consciousness” in large and small ways, from agitating for more equal treatment to attempting to manage the therapeutic experience.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: “Humanity Requires All the Relief Which Can Be Afforded”: The Birth of the Federal Asylum
  • Chapter 2: The Paradox of Enlightened Care: Saint Elizabeths in the Era of Moral Treatment, 1855-1877
  • Chapter 3: “From Slave to Citizen”: Race, Insanity, and Institutionalization in Post-Reconstruction Washington, DC, 1877-1900
  • Chapter 4: Care and the Color Line: Race, Rights, and the Therapeutic Experience, 1877-1900
  • Chapter 5: “Mechanisms of the Negro Mind”: Race and Dynamic Psychiatry at Saint Elizabeths, 1903-1937
  • Chapter 6: “He Is Psychotic and Always Will Be”: Racial Ambivalence and the Limits of Therapeutic Optimism, 1903-1937
  • Chapter 7: Mental Hygiene and the Limits of Reform: Saint Elizabeths in the Community, 1903-1937
  • Chapter 8: “An Example for the Rest of the Nation”: Challenging Racial Injustice at Saint Elizabeths, 1910-1955
  • Chapter 9: Whither the Negro Psyche: Integration and Its Aftermath, 1945-1970
  • Chapter 10: From Model to Emblem: Community Mental Health and Deinstitutionalization, 1963-1987
  • Conclusion