New JHBS: Wundt’s Apperceptionism, Police Selection during the Civil Rights Movement, and More

The Autumn 2018 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is now online. Full titles, authors, and abstracts below.

““Drawn from Alice in Wonderland”: Expert and public debates over merit, race, and testing in Massachusetts police officer selection, 1967–1979,” by Kimberly Probolus. Abstract:

This study explores the use of tests to select police officers in Massachusetts from 1967–1979. I show how a range of actors understood the construction of merit within the context of police selection in Boston during the Civil Rights movement and how these debates raised larger questions about objectivity in the social sciences and the law. I argue that when experts exposed the way seemingly objective “intelligence” tests perpetuated racial inequality, the public rejected their expertise, instead reaffirming their trust in tests as the best way to evaluate merit and by instead challenging the law’s objectivity. This paper puts histories of merit in conversation with scholarship on affirmative action and employment discrimination to provide a fuller understanding of how intelligence tests are constructed and how nonexpert actors interpreted debates about testing, defining and redefining merit in ways that reflected their beliefs about race, opportunity, and employment.

“Robert Owen, utopian socialism and social transformation,” by Chris Rogers. Abstract: Continue reading New JHBS: Wundt’s Apperceptionism, Police Selection during the Civil Rights Movement, and More

CfP: 50 Years Since Stonewall, The Science and Politics of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity

American Psychologist invites submissions for a special issue on psychology’s contributions to understanding sexual orientation and gender diversity through research, policy, and activism.

Important Dates
  • Submission Deadline for 2-Page Letter of Intent: November 20, 2018
  • Full-Length Manuscript Submission Invitations Sent: December 20, 2018
  • Submission Deadline for Complete Manuscripts: March 20, 2019
Special Issue Aims

The goal of this special issue is to stimulate scholarly reflection on how psychology — through both research and policy influence — has been entangled with changing social and scientific attitudes and theories about sexual orientation and gender diversity over the past 50 years.

The history of psychology and the history of recent LGBTI activism have only recently begun to be co-narrated.

This aim of this issue is to analyze and explore the co-constitutive relationships between psychological research on gender diversity and sexual orientation and the society in which this research has been, and is, embedded, both in the United States and other national contexts.

Broad questions of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • How has the “science of sexual orientation” changed and been drawn upon in tandem with efforts to combat homophobia and cultural heterosexism?
  • How have efforts to develop LGBTQ-affirmative psychologies developed in national contexts outside the United States and transnationally?
  • How has psychological science been used to influence mental health policy, legal rulings, and social attitudes about same-sex marriage, gay parenting, trans-rights?
  • How has psychology’s engagement with sexual orientation and gender diversity intersected with its engagement with other movements for equality and social justice?

All manuscripts should explicitly discuss psychology’s contributions to our understanding of the issues being investigated, and should address the importance of the historical, social, political, intellectual, and/or institutional contexts in which these contributions have developed.

The journal has “an outstanding reputation as a primary means by which the contributions of psychologists are communicated to psychologists, to other professionals, and to the public” (Kazak, 2016, p. 1).

Manuscript Submission

Submission deadline for a 2-page letter of intent for the special issue is November 20, 2018.

The letter of intent should include author names and affiliations, manuscript title, and an abstract that outlines the proposed submission.

Abstracts should clearly convey how the proposed manuscript will address the goals of the special issue.

Alexandra Rutherford, PhD, Associate Editor, and Peter Hegarty, PhD, will serve as Guest Editors of the Special Issue, with Anne E. Kazak, PhD, as advisory editor.

Letters of intent and any questions should be sent to Alexandra Rutherford.

Manuscripts must be prepared according to the manuscript submission information available on the American Psychologist homepage and submitted electronically through the journal’s manuscript submission portal.

Special Issue: Psychology in the Social Imaginary of Neoliberalism

AHP readers may be interested in the most recent issue of Theory & Psychology, a special issue devoted to “Psychology in the Social Imaginary of Neoliberalism.” Guest edited by Wade Pickren (right), the articles in the issue are currently available open access. Full titles, authors, and abstracts below.

“Psychology in the social imaginary of neoliberalism: Critique and beyond,” by. Wade E. Pickren. Abstract:

This is an introduction to the special issue on the impact of neoliberalism on the sociality, politics, and governmentality of contemporary psychological life. The articles suggest that Euro-American psychology writ large has not been a force for human freedom. Still, the articles are additional evidence of the historical and current lines of resistance and activism that indicate a move toward an emancipatory psychology.

“Homo neoliberalus: From personality to forms of subjectivity,” by Thomas Teo. Abstract:

Based on a Neo-Sprangerian approach to forms of life in Western cultures, and drawing on humanities-based ideas about personality, a critical-hermeneutic description of a neoliberal form of life and its corresponding form of subjectivity is presented. In the neoliberal form of subjectivity, the self becomes central, but in a way that the distinction between an ego and the self is no longer relevant. Neoliberal thinking is reduced to utilitarian, calculating thinking in all domains of life from work, to interaction, and to identity. Feeling is considered to be more relevant than thinking and is used to manage stress while aiming for happiness, which is core to this subjectivity. It is argued that agency is reduced to self- and family-interests while consequences for the conduct of life are presented. Concepts such as new nihilism, reduction of individuality, and (im)possibility of resistance in neoliberalism are discussed.

“Neoliberalism and IQ: Naturalizing economic and racial inequality,” by Andrew S. Winston. Abstract: Continue reading Special Issue: Psychology in the Social Imaginary of Neoliberalism

New in Isis: Turing’s “Paper Machine” in Clinical Research

The September issue of Isis includes a piece that may interest AHP readers: “A Paper Machine of Clinical Research in the Early Twentieth Century,” by Volker Hess. Abstract:

This article introduces Turing’s idea of a “paper machine” to identify and understand one important mode of clinical research in the modern hospital, how that research worked, and how office technology and industrialized labor shaped and helped drive it. The unusually rich archives of Berlin psychiatry allow detailed reconstruction of the making of the new diagnostic category “hyperkinetic syndrome” in the 1920s. From the generating of data to the processing of information to the visualizing of the nature and course of the new syndrome in the lives of more than sixty patients, this case study shows how clinical research could be based on the apparatus of the clerks’ room (folders, registers, inventories, and the dispatch of documents), office technologies (new filing systems, preprinted forms, and duplicating machines), and the principles and paper practices of the division and rationalization of labor (charts organizing worktime in complex organizations). The result is an important example of clinical research embedded in the broader history of office technology, industrial labor, and the modern hospital.

Interview with Dagmar Herzog on Cold War Psychoanalysis

Hi there AHP readers, and happy fall semester to you. After an extended summer hiatus due to technical difficulties, we’re back!

My first recommendation of the season is this interview from the New Books Network. It’s conducted by David Gutherz (a student in the the Committee on Social Thought program at the University of Chicago) with Dagmar Herzog on her latest volume, 
 Cold War Freud: Psychoanalysis in an Age of Catastrophes. The work expands on her extensive research program in the historical politics of sexuality and religion. 
As Gurtherz writes in his introduction to the discussion, her “book offers fresh readings of the work of such titanic (and sadly misunderstood) figures as Karen Horney, Robert Stoller, Félix Guattari and Konrad Lorenz—and it will change the way you think about trauma, libido and the New Left. Our conversation focused primarily on the radical currents in Cold War psychoanalysis and what happens when the world comes crashing through the bedroom window.” 

It’s a great listen, enjoy!

Gutherz interviewing Herzog, September 2018

What the Origins of the “1 in 5” Statistic Teaches Us About Sexual Assault Policy

New over at Behavioral Scientist, as part of a special issue on the intersection of behavioral science and public policy, is a piece by Alexandra Rutherford on the origins and import of the “1 in 5” sexual assault statistic. This history is also explored more fully in a recent article-length piece in History of the Human Sciences.

As Rutherford notes,

It is now over 30 years since Koss first published her work on hidden rape victims. Instead of rehashing whether “1 in 5” is valid and whether women are reliable interpreters of their own experiences, we should be asking why it is so hard for us to hear these experiences and connect them to larger structures of power and domination. The history of “1 in 5” challenges us to critically examine, in the present moment, who has the power to name rape and be believed, under what conditions, and with what consequences.

Read the full piece here.

Diagnosing the Kaiser: Psychiatry, Wilhelm II and the Question of German War Guilt

Kaiser Wilhelm II and Germany 1890–1914 Head and shoulders portrait of the Kaiser by Court Photographer T. H. Voigt of Frankfurt, 1902.

The July 2018 issue of Medical History includes the The William Bynum Prize Essay 2016: “Diagnosing the Kaiser: Psychiatry, Wilhelm II and the Question of German War Guilt,” by David Freis. Abstract:

After his abdication in November 1918, the German emperor Wilhelm II continued to haunt the minds of his people. With the abolition of the lese-majesty laws in the new republic, many topics that were only discussed privately or obliquely before could now be broached openly. One of these topics was the mental state of the exiled Kaiser. Numerous psychiatrists, physicians and laypeople published their diagnoses of Wilhelm in high-circulation newspaper articles, pamphlets, and books shortly after the end of the war. Whether these diagnoses were accurate and whether the Kaiser really was mentally ill became the issue of a heated debate.

This article situates these diagnoses of Wilhelm II in their political context. The authors of these diagnoses – none of whom had met or examined Wilhelm II in person – came from all political camps and they wrote with very different motives in mind. Diagnosing the exiled Kaiser as mentally ill was a kind of exorcism of the Hohenzollern rule, opening the way for either a socialist republic or the hoped-for rule of a new leader. But more importantly, it was a way to discuss and allocate political responsibility and culpability. Psychiatric diagnoses were used to exonerate both the Emperor (for whom the treaty of Versailles provided a tribunal as war criminal) and the German nation. They were also used to blame the Kaiser’s entourage and groups that had allegedly manipulated the weak-willed monarch. Medical concepts became a vehicle for a debate on the key political questions in interwar Germany.

A Neurotic Dog’s Life: Experimental Psychiatry and the Conditional Reflex Method in the Work of W. Horsley Gantt

Horsley Gantt feeding dog, Gundy.

The June 2018 issue of Isis contains an article on the conditional reflex and experimental psychiatry that will interest AHP readers.

A Neurotic Dog’s Life: Experimental Psychiatry and the Conditional Reflex Method in the Work of W. Horsley Gantt,” by Edmund Ramsden. Abstract:

From the 1920s, inspired by the work of Ivan Pavlov, many American psychiatrists, physiologists, and psychologists turned to the animal laboratory. Focusing on the work of W. Horsley Gantt, this essay will explore the use of the conditional reflex method in the study of “experimental neurosis.” Concentrating on the interaction between thought and material operations in Gantt’s Pavlovian Laboratory, the essay will show how idiosyncratic emotional reactions and behaviors among experimental animals were used to address the issue of individuality in science, medicine, and society. It was through working with the dog that individuality was identified as an incessant problem that could be utilized in laboratory practice, as a necessary focus of psychiatric medicine, and as a means of defending science from excessive determinism and stereotyped thinking.

Special Issue: Psychopathological Fringes: Knowledge Making and Boundary Work in 20th Century Psychiatry

A just-released special issue from History of the Human Sciences, “Psychopathological Fringes: Knowledge Making and Boundary Work in 20th Century Psychiatry,” will interest AHP readers. Full titles, authors, and abstracts below.

“Exploring the fringes of psychopathology: Boundary entities, category work and other borderline phenomena in the history of 20th century psychopathology,” by Nicolas Henckes, Volker Hess, and Marie Reinholdt. Abstract:

This special issue of History of the Humane Sciences intends to shed light on a series of psychopathological entities that do not target well defined conditions and experiences, but rather aim at delimiting zones of uncertainty that defy psychopathology’s order of things: mild diagnoses or subthreshold disorders, borderline conditions, culture bound syndromes, or ideas of dimensions and dimensionality. While these categories have come to play an increasingly central role in psychiatric and psychological thinking during the last 50 years, historians and social scientists have had remarkably little to say about how they have been created, what they have been used for, and what kind of realities they have helped to shape. In this introductory article we propose the concept of ‘psychopathological fringes’ to refer to these categories that are located somewhere at the border of psychopathological classifications and refer to zones of conceptual underdetermination. The notion of fringes serves to highlight both the conceptually and the socially marginal nature of the conditions, personal identities, and worlds delimited by these categories. The fringes of psychopathology are zones of vagueness, of epistemic uncertainty, and moral ambiguity. This introduction proposes a first incursion in these zones. It suggests some of the reason why they might have had attracted little interest in the past and why they may be more salient recently. It follows some analytical clues that might help chart a way through it and proposes a map through the collection of articles included in this issue.

“Feeling and smelling psychosis: American alienism, psychiatry, prodromes and the limits of ‘category work’,” by Richard Noll. Abstract: Continue reading Special Issue: Psychopathological Fringes: Knowledge Making and Boundary Work in 20th Century Psychiatry

The Persuasive Rhetoric of a Manifesto (1870): Ribot’s Promise of an “Independent” Psychological Science

A special issue of Centaurus on “The promises of science. Historical perspectives,” guest edited by Annette Mülberger and Jaume Navarro includes an article of interest to AHP readers.

The persuasive rhetoric of a manifesto (1870): Ribot’s promise of an “independent” psychological science,” by Annette Mülberger. Abstract:

Here, I take a closer look at a manifesto in the history of psychology: the introduction to the book entitled “La psychologie anglaise contemporaine.” It was published in 1870 and written by the French psychologist and philosopher Théodule Ribot (1839–1916). First, I review the use of the label “manifesto” in the historiography of psychology. Then the aim, rhetoric, and arguments of Ribot’s text are examined, as well as the intellectual atmosphere surrounding it. Through this research, I hope to contribute to a better understanding of the aims and some immediate reactions to Ribot’s text. My analysis focuses on his understanding of psychology as “independent science.” Ribot’s manifesto contains criticism of the prevalent philosophies of his time, namely eclectic spiritualism and the positivistic schools. Within this setting, Ribot tried to present his psychology as ideologically neutral, aiming at revealing “psychological facts.” My interpretation portrays Ribot’s tone as optimistic, framed in terms of a promise and an invitation; I see his text as primarily an attempt to attract collaborators through a broadly defined scientific project. He envisaged an almost boundless field of empirical research, based on the promise of intellectual freedom and scientific progress.