Category Archives: Journals

Credibility and Incredulity in Milgram’s Obedience Experiments: A Reanalysis of an Unpublished Test

Those following ongoing conversations about the Milrgam obedience to authority experiments may be interested in a recent article in Social Psychology Quarterly that reanalyses some of the original data from the experiment. Details below.

Credibility and Incredulity in Milgram’s Obedience Experiments: A Reanalysis of an Unpublished Test,” by Gina Perry, Augustine Brannigan, Richard A. Wanner, Henderikus Stam. Abstract:

This article analyzes variations in subject perceptions of pain in Milgram’s obedience experiments and their behavioral consequences. Based on an unpublished study by Milgram’s assistant, Taketo Murata, we report the relationship between the subjects’ belief that the learner was actually receiving painful electric shocks and their choice of shock level. This archival material indicates that in 18 of 23 variations of the experiment, the mean levels of shock for those who fully believed that they were inflicting pain were lower than for subjects who did not fully believe they were inflicting pain. These data suggest that the perception of pain inflated subject defiance and that subject skepticism inflated their obedience. This analysis revises our perception of the classical interpretation of the experiment and its putative relevance to the explanation of state atrocities, such as the Holocaust. It also raises the issue of dramaturgical credibility in experiments based on deception. The findings are discussed in the context of methodological questions about the reliability of Milgram’s questionnaire data and their broader theoretical relevance.

New in JHBS: Mind-Body Medicine Before Freud, Reflections on Psychology and Biography

Two articles now in press at the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences will be of interest to AHP readers. Be sure to check out the fantastic images featured in the new article from Ben Harris and Courtney Stevens. Full details follow below.

Practicing mind? body medicine before Freud: John G. Gehring, the “Wizard of the Androscoggin”,” Ben Harris & Courtney J. Stevens. Abstract:

This article describes the psychotherapy practice of physician John G. Gehring and places it in historical context. Forgotten today, Gehring was a highly sought?after therapist from the 1890s to the 1920s by prominent figures in the arts, sciences, business, and law. He practiced a combination of work therapy, suggestion, and autosuggestion that has similarities to Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Behavioral Activation. Using biographies, memoirs, and archival records, the details of Gehring’s work are reconstructed and the reasons for its success are analyzed. His invisibility in the history of psychiatry is attributed to the later dominance of Freudianism within the field.

The psychologist’s biographer: Writing lives in the history of psychology,” by Eric F. Luckey. Abstract:

How should historians employ psychological insight when seeking to understand and analyze their historical subjects? That is the essential question explored in this methodological reflection on the relationship between psychology and biography. To answer it, this paper offers a historical, historiographical, and theoretical analysis of life writing in the history of psychology. It touches down in the genres of autobiography, psychobiography, and cultural history to assess how other historians and psychologists have answered this question. And it offers a more detailed analysis of one particularly useful text, Kerry Buckley’s (1989) Mechanical Man, to illuminate specific ways in which historians can simultaneously employ, historicize, and critically analyze the theories of the psychologists they study. Although ostensibly about writing biographies of eminent psychologists, this article speaks to a methodological issue facing any historian contemplating the role psychological theories should play in their historical narratives.

Special Issue of HHS: “Knowing savagery: Humanity in the circuits of colonial knowledge”

The October issue of History of the Human Sciences is now online. This special issue is devoted to “Knowing savagery: Humanity in the circuits of colonial knowledge.” Full title, author, and abstract information is provided below.

“Knowing savagery: Humanity in the circuits of colonial knowledge,” by Bruce Buchan, Linda Andersson Burnett. Abstract:

How was ‘savagery’ constituted as a field of colonial knowledge? As Europe’s empires expanded, their reach was marked not only by the colonisation of new territories but by the colonisation of knowledge. Path-breaking scholarship since the 1990s has shown how European knowledge of colonised territories and peoples developed from diverse travel writings, missionary texts, and exploration narratives from the 16th century onwards (Abulafia, 2008; Armitage, 2000; De Campos Françozo, 2017; Pratt, 1992). Of prime importance in this work has been the investigation of the pre-positioning of colonised peoples within categories derived from European traditions of historical, religious, legal, and political thought as either ‘savages’ or ‘barbarians’ (Richardson, 2018; Sebastiani, 2013).

“Iberian missionaries in God’s vineyard: Enlarging humankind and encompassing the globe in the Renaissance,” by Antonella Romano. Abstract:

During the century of colonial expansion by the Iberian monarchies, the presence of the Church alongside the colonizers was not just a logical continuation of the medieval idea of the good prince who was advised and accompanied by men of faith. It also underlined the political dimension of the ‘spiritual conquest’ and the equally political dimension of the cultural practices accompanying it. There are numerous works that have emphasized this with regard to the American continents in particular, where the connection between the forces present, which quickly led to the destruction and subjugation of the local populations, brought about Spanish colonial domination over large swathes of the ‘West Indies’. Those scholars who have concentrated on the ‘East Indies’, and China in particular, have emphasized acculturation or accommodation, highlighting the cultural rather than the political dimension of contact. This article explores the significant asymmetries in the understanding of humankind developed by the missionaries in their analyses of the Americas and the East Indies. These asymmetries stemmed largely from their distinct roles and functions in the process of colonial or imperial contact. I argue that these asymmetries obscure our understanding of what missionaries contributed to the global circulation of knowledge of lands and peoples new to Europeans in the 16th and 17th centuries, in part by defining ‘savagery’ and locating it mostly in the ‘West Indies’.

“Rethinking savagery: Slavery experiences and the role of emotions in Oldendorp’s mission ethnography,” by Jacqueline Van Gent. Abstract:

By the late 18th century, the Moravian mission project had grown into a global enterprise. Moravian missionaries’ personal and emotional engagements with the people they sought to convert impacted not only on their understanding of Christianity, but also caused them to rethink the nature of civilization and humanity in light of their frontier experiences. In this article I discuss the construction of ‘savagery’ in the mission ethnography of C. G. A. Oldendorp (1721–87). Oldendorp’s journey to slave-holding societies in the Danish West Indies, where Moravian missions had been established in the 1730s, and his own experiences of the violence of these societies had such an impact on him that his proto-ethnographic descriptions of all the inhabitants of the Danish West Indies – from slaves to slaveholders – broke with traditional representations of savagery. He suggested two different paths for emotional transformation: one for slaves, and another for slaveholders. His views aligned with those of the later abolitionists, yet he was writing sixty years before those movements first gained public momentum in Great Britain. In many ways, therefore, this early mission ethnography reshaped contemporary understandings of ‘savagery’. I consider how Oldendorp did this in relation to a Moravian theology of the heart and love of Christ, the emerging Scottish Enlightenment philosophy of ‘love of humanity’ and its use in colonial encounters between missionaries and local people, and especially the emotions that were provoked by the extreme violence of the slavery system in this colonial contact zone.

“Different ways of seeing ‘savagery’: Two Nordic travellers in 18th-century North America,” by Gunlög Fur. Abstract:

Andreas Hesselius and Pehr Kalm both spent time in eastern North America during the first half of the 18th century. Both came with an ardent desire to observe and learn about the natural environment and inhabitants of the region. Both produced writings, in the form of journals that have proved immensely useful to subsequent scholars. Yet their writings also display differences that illuminate the epistemological and sociological underpinnings of their observations, and which had consequences for their encounters with foreign environments. Hesselius, who served as pastor to the Swedish congregation in Philadelphia from 1712 to 1724, described his experiences and observations with what we might call a historical awareness, while Kalm, known as the first of Linnaeus’s students to travel to the New World, primarily offered dehistoricized and denarrativized taxonomic ethnographic descriptions. At first glance, Hesselius and Kalm appear to illustrate perfectly Michel Foucault’s description of the difference between Renaissance and classical epistemologies. Kalm’s disembodied and decontextualized representations fit well with Foucault’s description of natural history in the classical age as consisting ‘of undertaking a meticulous examination of things themselves…and then of transcribing what it has gathered in smooth, neutralized, and faithful words’. This article, however, points out that while Hesselius and Kalm arrive at similar descriptions of plants and other-than-human beings by employing different methodologies, when it comes to describing indigenous peoples their respective methodologies lead to radically different approaches, with Hesselius writing them into history, while Kalm relegates them to ethnology in the sense of savage ‘peoples without histories’.

“From Eden to savagery and civilization: British colonialism and humanity in the development of natural history, ca. 1600–1840,” by Sarah Irving-Stonebraker. Abstract:

This article is concerned with the relationship between British colonization and the intellectual underpinnings of natural history writing between the 17th and the early 19th centuries. During this period, I argue, a significant discursive shift reframed both natural history and the concept of humanity. In the early modern period, compiling natural histories was often conceived as an endeavour to understand God’s creation. Many of the natural historians involved in the early Royal Society of London were driven by a theological conviction that the New World contained the natural knowledge once possessed by Adam, but lost in the Fall from Eden. By the early 19th century, however, this theological framework for natural history had been superseded by an avowedly progressive vision of the relationship between humanity and nature. No longer ontologically distinct from the rest of creation, the human became a subject of natural history writing in a new way. Encounters between colonizers and colonized thus became a touchstone for tensions between divine and natural historical knowledge. The resolution of these tensions lay in the emergence of a concept of savagery that imbibed both a rational account of historical progress towards civilization and a religious conviction that savage humanity needed rescue from its animal nature.

“A ‘monster with human visage’: The orangutan, savagery, and the borders of humanity in the global Enlightenment,” by Silvia Sebastiani. Abstract:

To what extent did the debate on the orangutan contribute to the global Enlightenment? This article focuses on the first 150 years of the introduction, dissection, and public exposition of the so-called ‘orangutan’ in Europe, between the 1630s, when the first specimens arrived in the Netherlands, and the 1770s, when the British debate about slavery and abolitionism reframed the boundaries between the human and animal kingdoms. Physicians, natural historians, antiquarians, philosophers, geographers, lawyers, and merchants all contributed to the knowledge of the orangutan, while also reshaping the boundaries of humanity: when the human/animal divide narrowed, the divide between ‘savage’ and ‘civilized’ peoples crystallized, becoming wider than in any previous period.

“Globalizing the savage: From stadial theory to a theory of luxury in late-18th-century Swedish discussions of Africa,” by Hanna Hodacs, Mathias Persson. Abstract:

This article examines the effects of globalization on changing notions of the ‘savage’. We compare discussions taking place in different contexts in the late 18th century concerning two Swedish scholars and travellers to Africa: Anders Sparrman (1748–1820), a naturalist and Linnaean disciple, and Carl Bernhard Wadström (1746–99), an engineer and economist. Both moved in Swedish Swedenborgian circles, and both became involved in the British abolitionist movement. Nevertheless, their images of African ‘Others’ diverged in crucial respects, reflecting differences in their ideological outlooks, institutional affiliations, and understandings of how the world was changing. More specifically, we argue that the perception of global change brought about by a new economic framework of production and consumption provides a key for reading and comparing Wadström’s and Sparrman’s texts. Comparing their divergent uses of ‘savagery’, the article also highlights the versatility of the savage as a tool for presenting distant parts of the world to a domestic audience.

“Knowing savagery: Australia and the anatomy of race,” by Bruce Buchan, Linda Andersson Burnett. Abstract:

When Australia was circumnavigated by Europeans in 1801–02, French and British natural historians were unsure how to describe the Indigenous peoples who inhabited the land they charted and catalogued. Ideas of race and of savagery were freely deployed by both British and French, but a discursive shift was underway. While the concept of savagery had long been understood to apply to categories of human populations deemed to be in want of more historically advanced ‘civilisation’, the application of this term in the late 18th and early 19th centuries was increasingly being correlated with the emerging terminology of racial characteristics. The terminology of race was still remarkably fluid, and did not always imply fixed physical or mental endowments or racial hierarchies. Nonetheless, by means of this concept, natural historians began to conceptualise humanity as subject not only to historical gradations, but also to the environmental and climatic variations thought to determine race. This in turn meant that the degree of savagery or civilisation of different peoples could be understood through new criteria that enabled physical classification, in particular by reference to skin colour, hair, facial characteristics, skull morphology, or physical stature: the archetypal criteria of race. While race did not replace the language of savagery, in the early years of the 19th century savagery was re-inscribed by race.

Now in Medical History “Kränkung and Erkrankung: Sexual Trauma before 1895”

The October issue of Medical History is now online and includes an article that may interest AHP readers:

Kränkung and Erkrankung: Sexual Trauma before 1895,” by Diederik F. Janssen. Abstract:

A tropology of moral injury and corruption long framed the plight of the sex crime victim. Nineteenth-century psychiatric acknowledgment of adverse sexual experience reflected general trends in etiological thought, especially on ‘epileptic’ and hysteric seizures, but on the whole remained descriptive, guarded and limited. Various experiential threats to the modern sexual self beyond assault and rape were granted etiological significance, however: illegitimate motherhood, masturbatory guilt, sexual enlightenment, ‘homosexual seduction’ and chance encounters leading to fetishistic fixation. These minor early appeals to medical psychology help us appreciate the multiple nuances of ‘sexual trauma’ advanced in Breuer and Freud’s Studies on Hysteria (1895) and Freud’s subsequent work.

Recently in JHBS’ Early View: Maslow, Gall & more

The Journal for the History of the Behavioral Sciences has a great ‘early view’ autumn line up, including the following pieces:

Of Maslow, motives, and managers: The hierarchy of needs in American business, 1960–1985

by Kira Lussier
This paper examines the impact of psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in American management. I trace how a roster of management experts translated the hierarchy of needs into management through case studies of job redesign programs at Texas Instruments and marketing firm Young & Rubicam’s management training. The hierarchy of needs resonated with management, I argue, because it seemed to offer both a concrete guide for management, with practical implications for designing management training and work structures, alongside a broader social theory that purported to explain changing social values and economic circumstances in America. For the management theorists who invoked the hierarchy of needs, the corporation served as both the prime site for people to fulfill their higher psychological needs and the ideal site to study and cultivate motivation. This article contributes to histories of psychology that show how psychology became a prominent resource in American public life.

Find the article here.

Franz Joseph Gall’s non?cortical faculties and their organs

By Paul Eling and Stanley Finger

Franz Joseph Gall (1758–1828) is remembered for his claims that behavior results from a large number of independent mental faculties, and that these faculties are associated with cortical organs. Apart from the 26 faculties he localized in the cerebrum, he also recognized one faculty (reproductive drive) in the cerebellum. This picture, however, is based on Gall’s presentations in his well?known later works, his four volume Anatomie et Physiologie. These books reflect the outcomes of Gall’s thinking. They were steered by the observations and feedback he received in Vienna and while presenting his theories in the German states and neighboring countries between 1805 and 1807. Examining his lists before what he published in Paris shows how his faculties were changing. Notably, and as shown here, he had previously included several faculties associated with brainstem structures, in addition to the cerebellum, which he would continue to associate with some reproductive behaviors.

This article has been published open access! Read the entirety here.

The return of the repressed. On Robert N. Bellah, Norman O. Brown, and religion in human evolution

by Matteo Bortolini

As much as Robert Bellah’s final work, Religion in Human Evolution, has been studied and dissected, no critic underlined the importance of psychoanalysis for its main argument and its theoretical framework. The paper shows the influence exerted by a controversial interpreter of Freud, Norman O. Brown, on Bellah’s ideas, intellectual profile, and writing style in the late?1960s and early 1970s. While in search for a new intellectual voice, Bellah was struck by Brown’s work and began to make intensive use of his book, Love’s Body, both in his teaching and in his research of the early 1970s, during his so?called “symbolic realism” period. While Bellah abandoned Brown’s ideas and style in the mid?1970s, some of the basic intuitions he had during that period still survived as one of the major theoretical intuitions of Religion and Human Evolution.

Find it here!

Voices off: Stanley Milgram’s cyranoids in historical context

Stanley Milgram

AHP readers may be interested in an article now in press at History of the Human Sciences: “Voices off: Stanley Milgram’s cyranoids in historical context,” by Marcia Holmes and Daniel Pick. Abstract:

This article revisits a forgotten, late project by the social psychologist Stanley Milgram: the ‘cyranoid’ studies he conducted from 1977 to 1984. These investigations, inspired by the play Cyrano de Bergerac, explored how individuals often fail to notice when others do not speak their own thoughts, but instead relay messages from a hidden source. We situate these experiments amidst the intellectual, cultural, and political concerns of late Cold War America, and show how Milgram’s studies pulled together a variety of ideas, anxieties, and interests that were prevalent at that time and have returned in new guises since. In discussing the cyranoid project’s background and afterlife, we argue that its strikingly equivocal quality has lent itself to multiple reinterpretations by historians, psychologists, performers, artists, and others. Our purpose is neither to champion Milgram’s work nor to amplify the critiques already made of his methods. Rather, it is to consider the uncertain, allusive, and elusive aspects of the cyranoid project, and to seek to place that project in context, whilst asking where ‘context’ might end. We show how the experiments’ range of meanings, in different temporal registers, far exceeded the explanatory rubric that Milgram and his intellectual critics provided at that time, and ponder the risk for the historian of making anachronistic or teleological assumptions. In short, we argue, cyranoids invite our open-ended exploration of ‘voices offstage’ in social and psychological relations, and offer a useful tool for thinking about historical context and the nature of historical interpretations.

Summer Issue of Revista de Historia de la Psicología

The Summer Issue of Revista de Historia de la Psicología is now online. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below:

“Nicolás Achúcarro (1880-1918): First histopathologist of the Goverment Hospital of the Insane in Washington, D.C.”José M. Gondra (Article written in English). Abstract:

On one of his visits to the Munich Psychiatric Clinic in 1908, Smith Elly Jelliffe asked Alois Alzheimer who the best person would be to set up a histopathology laboratory at the Government Hospital for the Insane in Washington, D.C. Alzheimer replied that Achúcarro was the man for the job. Nicolás Achúcarro was a Basque neuropsychiatrist born in the industrial city of Bilbao. He had been trained in some of the best clinics in Europe before travelling to Munich, where he studied brain injuries in rabbits infected with rabies. In September 1908, he moved to Washington, D.C., launched the histopathological laboratory and published several important articles before returning to Spain in May 1910 to work with Santiago Ramón y Cajal in the biological research laboratory at the University of Madrid. Later, in September 1912, he was invited by the Fordham University of New York to teach in the International Extension Course in Medical and Nervous Diseases, together with the English neurologist Sir Henry Head and the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl G. Jung, among other prominent figures. Drawing on the writings of Achúcarro, letters to his family, and the press of the time, this paper analyzes his work in the United States as well as his contributions to neuroscience before his untimely death in 1918 at the young age of 37.

“Phenomenology, experiments and the autonomy of Psychology: The earlier work of Johannes Linschoten.” René van Hezewijk (Article written in English). Abstract:

Johannes Linschoten was a member of the phenomenologically oriented so-called Utrecht School. He published his Ph.D. Thesis in 1956. In this voluminous work, published in German, he discussed the (then) current theories of binocular spatial perception, reported 130 experiments on the subject, and argued for his own dynamic theory. I discuss some important aspects of this earlier work, the development of his view on the role of phenomenology and experiments in psychology, and the way he used his earlier studies to argue for psychology’s autonomy.

El aprendizaje como contexto determinante de la psicología científica: la Psicología Comparada y la Psicología Funcional. [Learning as a determining context of scientific “psychology: Comparative Psychology and Functional Psychology].” Juan Bautista Fuentes Ortega (Article written in Spanish). Abstract:

In the course of the tradition of reflex physiology and the tradition of comparative animal psychology, a new type of experimental and operative psychology emerges, consisting of the incorporation of temporary associations in the form of “at a distance” links, which establishes a rupture with the corresponding biological methodologies and that entails the construction of the field of learning as the context of scientific psychology. In the light of this historical-epistemological analysis, the limited virtuality that the so-called “biological limits of learning” and the so-called cognitive scientific revolution had for the practice of scientific psychology is analyzed. Finally, it is pointed out the need to distinguish carefully between the scientific practice and the philosophical self-representation that scientists often build around their effective practice.

“La psicotecnia en la URSS: Isaac Spielrein y el VII Congreso Internacional de Psicotecnia de Moscú (1931). [Psychotechnics at the URSS: Isaac Spielrein and the Moscow’s VII International Congress of Psychotechnics (1931)].” Helio Carpintero (Article written in Spanish). Abstract:

This article deals with I. Spielrein’s ideas on psychotechnology. He was a Soviet leading figure in that field, in the days in between the two great wars, and chaired the 7th International Congress of Psychotechnology held in Moscow in 1931.In it he confronted the Marxist doctrine with that maintained by specialist of the democratic European nations. He affirmed the socio-historical character of man, as opposed to the dominant naturalist and biologist conception that dominated in capitalist societies, as well as the use of psychotechnics in those nations as an obstacle to the rise of proletariat to social power, facing the bourgeoisie.

September Issue of History of Psychiatry

The September issue of History of Psychiatry is now online. Included in this issue are pieces on child psychiatry, Nazi euthenasia, psychosurgery, and more. Full details below.

“The Baldovan Institution Abuse Inquiry: A forgotten scandal,” David May. Abstract:

In this paper, I resurrect a long-forgotten inquiry into abuse and maladministration at an institution for people with learning disabilities, the Baldovan Institution near Dundee, that has lain buried in the archives for the past 60 years. I contrast the response to it with the very different response to the similar revelations of the Ely Hospital Inquiry more than a decade later. Whereas Ely opened up the institutional sector to greater public scrutiny and brought with it a formal commitment from the government to shift the balance of care away from the long-term hospital, Baldovan produced recommendations that were limited to the institution and had no impact on public policy or institutional practice. I consider the reasons for this and its implications.

“The influence of Max Weber on the concept of empathic understanding (Verstehen) in the psychopathology of Karl Jaspers,” Massimiliano Aragona. Abstract:

This paper explores key concepts in the writings of Weber in the years preceding the publication of the first edition of Karl Jaspers’ Allgemeine Psychopathologie, focusing on the concept of understanding (Verstehen). This is a key hermeneutic concept and is discussed within the larger context of the epistemological and methodological reflections of both authors. They similarly tried to import the understanding within the humanistic disciplines as a rigorous but anti-reductionist scientific method. However, while Weber tried to mix explanation and understanding according to a legal metaphor, Jaspers retained Dilthey’s sharper distinction between explanation in natural sciences and understanding in humanistic sciences. Finally, Jaspers’ understanding is relatively more empathic, while Weber’s understanding is more rationalistic.

“‘Dementia praecocissima’: The Sante De Sanctis model of mental disorder in child psychiatry in the 20th century,” Giorgia Morgese, Giovanni Pietro Lombardo. Abstract:

The aim of this article is to describe the nosographical contribution of the Italian psychiatrist Sante De Sanctis (1862–1935) to early twentieth-century child psychiatry. De Sanctis first proposed the category of ‘dementia praecocissima’ in 1906, and it was recognized by Kraepelin. Dementia praecocissima has its roots in a theoretical and methodological conception of mental disorder based on ‘psycho-physical proportionalism’ and the ‘law of circle’. This article deals with De Sanctis’s model, which has so far been neglected by historiographers; it shows the pioneering role that this Italian psychiatrist played in child psychiatry in Italy.

“The ‘Poitrot Report’, 1945: The first public document on Nazi euthanasia,” Thomas Müller, Bernd Reichelt. Abstract:

The aim of this paper is to shed light on the so-called ‘Poitrot Report’, submitted to the French Military Government in Baden-Baden, Germany, in December 1945 and published in a reduced German version in 1946. Its author was the French-Moroccan psychiatrist Robert Poitrot, who had been put in charge of the public mental asylums in Südwürttemberg after World War II. Poitrot took responsibility for restoring psychiatric care during the occupation, and was also eager to document Nazi ‘euthanasia’ and to start investigating the role of staff in mental hospitals during National Socialism. Focusing on the ‘Poitrot Report’, this paper also reflects on life in Württemberg mental hospitals and the interaction between French representatives such as Poitrot and regional German medical staff.

“The introduction of leucotomy in Germany: National Socialism, émigrés, a divided Germany and the development of neurosurgery,” Lara Rzesnitzek. Abstract:

Thinking about the chronology of the introduction of leucotomy in Germany sheds new light on the hypothesis of a special ‘radical’ approach of German psychiatry to the treatment of the mentally ill during the period of National Socialism. Moreover, it offers new insights into the transnational and interdisciplinary conditions of the introduction of leucotomy in early divided post-war Germany.

“The Kirkbride buildings in contemporary culture (1850–2015): From ‘moral management’ to horror films,” Francisco Pérez-Fernández, Francisco López-Muñoz. Abstract:

The so-called ‘Kirkbride Plan’ is a type of mental institution designed by the American psychiatrist Thomas Story Kirkbride. The Kirkbride-design asylums were built from 1848 to the end of the nineteenth century. Their structural characteristics were subordinated to a certain approach to moral management: exposure to natural light, beautiful views and good air circulation. These hospitals used several architectural styles, but they all had a similar general plan. The popularity of the model decreased for theoretical and economic reasons, so many were demolished or reused, but at least 25 of the original buildings became protected places. Over the years, surrounded by a legendary aura, these buildings have become a leitmotif of contemporary popular culture: ‘the asylum of terror’.

“How amytal changed psychopharmacy: Off-label uses of sodium amytal (1920–40),” Ariel Gershon, Edward Shorter. Abstract:

In the early 1930s, American neurologist and psychiatrist William Bleckwenn used sodium amytal to render catatonic patients responsive, so that he could engage in talk therapy. Bleckwenn found a new, ‘off-label’ use for this anaesthetic and anxiolytic medication in psychiatry and, in doing so, allowed for important discoveries in the diagnosis and treatment of catatonia. Pharmacological textbooks reveal a ‘label’, while the Index-Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon-General’s Office reveals explorations ‘off label’ of barbiturates. The ‘off-label’ use of barbiturates facilitated talk therapy, heralding an important shift in psychopharmacy. Drugs previously only used as chemical restraints became a form of treatment for specific psychiatric diseases. The current strictures against off-label prescribing are overprescriptive and close off innovative new uses.

Between Shell Shock and PTSD? ‘Accident Neurosis’ and Its Sequelae in Post-War Britain

The August issue of Social History of Medicine includes a piece that may interest AHP readers:

Between Shell Shock and PTSD? ‘Accident Neurosis’ and Its Sequelae in Post-War Britain,” by Ryan Ross. Abstract:

This article focuses on the concept of ‘accident neurosis’, popularised by neurologist Henry Miller in studies published in 1961. It aims to realise two goals. First, it introduces Miller’s concept of accident neurosis to the broader history of trauma—to a field, that is, more preoccupied with military traumata and clear-cut psychiatric aetiologies. Secondly, I use Miller’s studies, and the considerable legacy they created, to reflect on how historians of trauma construct historical narratives, asking whether there is sufficient appreciation of the ways in which events seem to leak into or retroactively animate one another.

New History of the Human Sciences: Child Experts in the Swedish Press, Historiography of Brain and Mind Sciences

The July 2019 issue of History of the Human Sciences is now online. A number of articles in this issue may interest AHP readers, particularly Peter Skagius’s piece on the presence of child psychology and psychiatry experts in Swedish newspapers and Alfred Freeborn’s review article on the recent historiography on the brain and mind sciences. Full issue contents are detailed below.

“Social types and sociological analysis,” by Charles Turner. Abstract:

Social types, or types of persons, occupy a curious place in the history of sociology. There has never been any agreement on how they should be used, or what their import is. Yet the problems surrounding their use are instructive, symptomatic of key ambivalences at the heart of the sociological enterprise. These include a tension between theories of social order that privilege the division of labour and those that focus on large-scale cultural complexes; a tension between the analysis of society in terms of social groups and an acknowledgement of modern individualism; sociology’s location somewhere between literature and science; and sociology’s awkward response to the claim – made by both Catholic conservatives and Marxists – that modern industrial and post-industrial society cannot be a society of estates. These ambivalences may help to explain why the attempts to use social types for the purpose of cultural diagnosis – from the interesting portrait of arbitrarily selected positions in the division of labour to more ambitious guesswork about modern culture’s dominant ‘characters’ – have been unconvincing.

“‘That they will be capable of governing themselves’: Knowledge of Amerindian Difference and early modern arts of governance in the Spanish Colonial Antilles,” by Timothy Bowers Vasko. Abstract:

Contrary to conventional accounts, critical knowledge of the cultural differences of Amerindian peoples was not absent in the early Conquest of the Americas. It was indeed a constitutive element of that process. The knowledge, strategies, and institutions of early Conquest relied on, and reproduced, Amerindian difference within the Spanish Empire as an essential element of that empire’s continued claims to legitimate authority. I demonstrate this through a focus on three parallel and sometimes overlapping texts: Ramón Pané’s Indian Antiquities; Peter Martyr d’Anghierra’s First Decade; and the first systematic attempt to govern colonized populations in the Americas, the Laws of Burgos. Not only did each text furnish the necessary material upon which the claims to intellectual, and so civilizational, superiority that were central to the justification of empire could be sustained. What is more, they transformed Amerindian difference from an object of knowledge into a subject of governance.

“‘Mere chips from his workshop’: Gotthard Deutsch’s monumental card index of Jewish history,” by Jason Lustig. Abstract:

Gotthard Deutsch (1859–1921) taught at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati from 1891 until his death, where he produced a card index of 70,000 ‘facts’ of Jewish history. This article explores the biography of this artefact of research and poses the following question: Does Deutsch’s index constitute a great unwritten work of history, as some have claimed, or are the cards ultimately useless ‘chips from his workshop’? It may seem a curious relic of positivistic history, but closer examination allows us to interrogate the materiality of scholarly labor. The catalogue constitutes a total archive and highlights memory’s multiple registers, as both a prosthesis for personal recall and a symbol of a ‘human encyclopedia’. The article argues that this mostly forgotten scholar’s work had surprising repercussions: Deutsch’s student Jacob Rader Marcus (1896–1995) brought his teacher’s emphasis on facticity to the field of American Jewish history that he pioneered, catapulting a 19th-century positivism to the threshold of the 21st century. Deutsch’s index was at an inflection point of knowledge production, created as historians were shifting away from ‘facts’ but just before new technologies (also based on cards) enabled ‘big data’ on a larger scale. The article thus excavates a vision of monumentality but proposes we look past these objects as monuments to ‘heroic’ scholarship. Indeed, Deutsch’s index is massive but middling, especially when placed alongside those of Niklas Luhmann, Paul Otlet, or Gershom Scholem. It thus presents a necessary corrective to anointing such indexes as predecessors to the Internet and big data because we must keep their problematic positivism in perspective.

“Brains and psyches: Child psychological and psychiatric expertise in a Swedish newspaper, 1980–2008,” Peter Skagius. Abstract:

Most children and families have not had direct contact with child psychological and psychiatric experts. Instead they encounter developmental theories, etiological explanations and depictions of childhood disorders through indirect channels such as newspapers. Drawing on actor–network theory, this article explores two child psychological and psychiatric modes of ordering children’s mental health discernible in Sweden’s largest morning newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, during the years 1980 to 2008: a psychodynamic mode and a neuro-centered mode. In the article I show how these two relatively contemporaneous modes greatly differed in how they enacted children’s mental health. The psychodynamic mode stressed the parents’ role in structuring and affecting the child’s unconscious and saw them as the primary cause of any mental illness. In contrast, the neuro-centered mode highlighted that mental issues were related to the child’s brain and proposed different solutions depending on whether the child’s brain functioned in a ‘normal’ or ‘atypical’ manner. Each mode moreover suggested differing contexts to their discussions, with the psychodynamic mode solely discussing the parental milieu while the neuro-centered mode mainly focused on how society affected children with ‘atypical’ brains. The two modes thus had significantly diverging implications for the reader on how to understand and manage children and their psychological well-being. I further argue in the article for the relevance of actor–network theory in historical studies of psychology and psychiatry.

“The many lives of state capitalism: From classical Marxism to free-market advocacy,” by Nathan Sperber. Abstract:

State capitalism has recently come to the fore as a transversal research object in the social sciences. Renewed interest in the notion is evident across several disciplines, in scholarship addressing government interventionism in economic life in major developing countries. This emergent field of study on state capitalism, however, consistently bypasses the remarkable conceptual trajectory of the notion from the end of the 19th century to the present. This article proposes an intellectual-historical survey of state capitalism’s many lives across different ensembles of writing: early Marxist pronouncements on state capitalism at the time of the Second International; theories of state capitalism evolved in the first half of the 20th century in response to the European experience of war and fascism; dissident portrayals of the Soviet Union as state-capitalist; post-Second World War theories of state-monopoly capitalism in the Western Bloc; examinations of state capitalism as a development strategy in ‘Third World’ nations in the 1970s and 1980s; and finally, today’s scholarship on new patterns of state capitalism in emerging economies. Having contextualized each of these strands of writing, the article goes on to interrogate definitional and conceptual boundaries of state capitalism. It then maps out essential institutional features of state-capitalist configurations as construed in the literature. In sharp contrast to 20th-century theories of state capitalism, present-day scholarship on the topic tends to retreat from the integrated critique of political economy, shifting its problematics of state-market relations to meso- and micro-levels of analysis.

“Hannah Arendt, evil, and political resistance,” by Gavin Rae. Abstract:

While Hannah Arendt claimed to have abandoned her early conception of radical evil for a banal one, recent scholarship has questioned that conclusion. This article contributes to the debate by arguing that her conceptual alteration is best understood by engaging with the structure of norms subtending each conception. From this, I develop a compatibilist understanding that accounts for Arendt’s movement from a radical to a banal conception of evil, by claiming that it was because she came to reject the foundationalism of the former for the non-foundationalism of the latter, where norms are located from an ineffable ‘source’ diffusely spread throughout the society. While it might be thought that this means that such norms are all-encompassing to the extent that they determine individual action, I appeal to her notions of plurality, action, and natality, to argue that she defends the weaker claim that moral norms merely condition action. This demonstrates how Arendt’s conceptions of evil complement one another, highlights her understanding of the action–norms relation, and identifies that there is built into Arendt’s conception(s) of evil a resource for resisting totalitarian domination.

Review article: “The history of the brain and mind sciences,” by Alfred Freeborn. Abstract:

This review article critically surveys the following literature by placing it under the historiographical banner of ‘the history of the brain and mind sciences’: Fernando Vidal and Francisco Ortega, Being Brains: Making the Cerebral Subject (New York: Fordham University Press, 2017); Katja Guenther, Localization and its Discontents: A Genealogy of Psychoanalysis & the Neuro Disciplines (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015); Stephen Casper and Delia Gavrus (eds), The History of the Brain and Mind Sciences: Technique, Technology, Therapy (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2017); Jonna Brenninkmeijer, Neurotechnologies of the Self: Mind, Brain and Subjectivity (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). This framework highlights contemporary attempts to historicize the integrative project of neuroscience and set the correct limits to interdisciplinary collaboration. While attempts to critically engage with the ‘neuro’ rhetoric of contemporary neuroscientists can seem at odds with historians seeking to write the history of neuroscience from the margins, it is argued that together these two projects represent a positive historiographical direction for the history of the neurosciences after the decade of the brain.