“That imperfect instrument”: Galton’s whistle, Bierce’s damned thing, and the phenomenon of superior nonhuman sensory range

A new piece in History of Psychology will interest AHP readers: ““That imperfect instrument”: Galton’s whistle, Bierce’s damned thing, and the phenomenon of superior nonhuman sensory range,” by Burton, G. Abstract:

When the Galton whistle was introduced in the 1870s, it was the first demonstration many had encountered of the phenomenon that nonhumans sometimes exceed humans in sensory range, for example perceiving ultraviolet light and ultrasonic signals. While some empirical research had explored this possibility beforehand, this area of perceptual research progressed slowly. A horror short story by Ambrose Bierce in 1893, “The Damned Thing,” used the concept of superior nonhuman sensory range as a twist ending, seemingly anticipating scientific discoveries to come or at least understanding the implications of the early findings well in advance of the field. This article analyzes Bierce’s possible sources, with Bierce representing the general educated nonscientist and providing insights into the spread of this concept into public and scientific awareness. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)

Tracing the career arc of Joost A. M. Meerloo: Prominence, fading, and premonitions of menticide

A new piece in History of the Human Sciences may interest AHP readers: “Tracing the career arc of Joost A. M. Meerloo: Prominence, fading, and premonitions of menticide,” William Douglas Woody. Abstract:

This article traces the career arc of Dutch psychoanalyst Joost A. M. Meerloo by examining his biography and his psychology of interrogation and confession. His life story, particularly his experiences during the German occupation of the Netherlands and his escape to England during World War II, shaped his views on these issues, as well as his rise to prominence as an expert on these topics in the United States. His psychoanalytic perspectives on interrogation and confession, including false confession, reflected the zeitgeist of the First Wave of Cold War interrogation tactics and related scholarship. His career as a scholar of interrogation faded with the study of distinct interrogation tactics used by communists during the Korean War, the emergence of experimental social psychology, and a growing cohort of scholars who rejected his psychoanalytic views in favor of more contemporary approaches. For these reasons, his work remains undervalued, increasing the risks that today’s scholars will fail to recognize his larger contributions and his warnings about vulnerability and psychologists’ roles in military interrogations. The article reviews the rise and fall of the career of Joost A. M. Meerloo as a scholar of Cold War interrogation, including his contributions and his unheeded warnings about vulnerability and psychologists’ roles in military interrogations.

Cybernetics in the Republic

AHP readers may be interested in a new open-access piece in History of the Human Sciences: “Cybernetics in the Republic,” by Michele Kennerly. Abstract:

Plato’s Republic lurks in cybernetics, a word popularly attributed to US American mathematician Norbert Wiener (1894–1964). In his accounts of how he came up with it, however, Wiener never mentions Plato, though he does note it was formed from the ancient Greek word kubern?t?s (navigator). Among the earliest popular books about the cybernetics craze are three published in France, and their authors show a special interest in the origin of cybernetics. In something like learned rebukes to Wiener, all three books credit Plato with significant use of kubern?-based terms. This article presents evidence, one, that Wiener knows well he has chosen a word with a Platonic history and, two, that Wiener deems the technical and social climate of ancient Athens (and of the Republic) instructive only as an anti-model for the mid-20th-century United States and so does not feel compelled to associate cybernetics with Plato. Instead, Wiener focuses on the challenges cybernetics and automation pose for his own engineering-oriented, capitalist, multiracial, democratic republic. Wiener’s decisions not to use Plato as an authorizing force and not to put ancient Athens on a pedestal merit recognition, since subsequent writers link ancient Athens with cybernation via a presumption that cybernation will enable and fully democratize the sort of leisure activities, including thinking and participation in public life, deemed by some to be emblematic of ancient Athens.

Revival of psychology in former Czechoslovakia and the contemporary Czech Republic after the fall of Totalitarian communist regimes

AHP readers will be interested in a new piece in the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences: “Revival of psychology in former Czechoslovakia and the contemporary Czech Republic after the fall of Totalitarian communist regimes,” Daniel Heller. Abstract:

After the general societal and political change in November 1989 in Czechoslovakia, the subject “History of Psychology” became the stable component of curriculum of studying psychology at the Department of Psychology of Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague. The author of this paper has taught “History of Psychology” in Czech since 1998 for more than 20 years all students of psychology and he is teaching this subject the students of ERASMUS+ program from whole Europe, studying at Charles University in Prague, now. Indivisible part of the curriculum is represented by the history of Czechoslovak and Czech psychology. In References, the most important publications in the field of history of Czechoslovak and Czech psychology are presented.

‘The Machine Takes Our Jobs Away’: The problem of technological unemployment in the work of Chicago sociologist William F. Ogburn

A new piece in the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences will interest AHP readers: “‘The Machine Takes Our Jobs Away’: The problem of technological unemployment in the work of Chicago sociologist William F. Ogburn,” Emy Kim, Mark Solovey. Abstract:

This paper examines the Chicago sociologist William F. Ogburn’s (1886–1959) views about technological unemployment, which were intimately connected to his analysis of the social impacts of technological developments and resulting social problems due to cultural lag. We trace the development of his views as seen through his well-known 1922 book, Social Change with Respect to Culture and Original Nature, his important contributions to the President’s Research Committee on Social Trends (1933), and his lesser-known pamphlets designed for a broader audience—Living with Machines (1933), You and Machines (1934), and Machines and Tomorrow’s World (1938). He used these pamphlets to educate the public about the dangers of new machines and technological unemployment. In doing so, he drew upon sociological analysis in his professional scholarly writings and his long-standing personal interests in social betterment and social reform. Our analysis also calls into question the adequacy of existing scholarship on Ogburn that has emphasized his commitment to a statistical, dispassionate, and “objectivist” approach to social science research. We call for a revised, richer, and more complex view of Ogburn’s work and legacy as one of the nation’s leading social scientists during the first half of the 20th century.

Mad with Freedom: The Political Economy of Blackness, Insanity, and Civil Rights in the U.S. South, 1840–1940

AHP readers may be interested in the recently published book, Mad with Freedom: The Political Economy of Blackness, Insanity, and Civil Rights in the U.S. South, 1840–1940 by Élodie Edwards-Grossi. The book is described as follows:

The use of race in studies of insanity in the 1840s and 1850s gave rise to politically charged theories on the differential biology and pathologies of brains in whites and Blacks. In Mad with Freedom, Élodie Edwards-Grossi explores the largely unknown social history of these racialized theories on insanity in the segregated South. She unites an institutional history of psychiatric spaces in the South that housed Black patients with an intellectual history of early psychiatric theories that defined the Black body as a locus for specific pathologies. Edwards-Grossi also reveals the subtle, localized techniques of resistance later employed by Black patients to confront medical power. Her work shows the continuous politicization of science and theories on insanity in the context of Reconstruction and the Jim Crow South.

Seeing Madness in the Archives

AHP readers will be interested in a new open-access piece in the American Historical Review: “Seeing Madness in the Archives,” Ariel Mae Lambe. Abstract:

What does it mean for the historian to be silent about mental illness in her life and also to perceive silence about mental illness in the archives? This essay explores the significance of the historian seeing mental illness and ableism in the historical archive, in her family history, and in herself. It examines the significance of mad identity for the historian, her historical subjects, and the discipline of history more broadly. It celebrates breaking the silence ableism inflicts and asserting madness.

Innovation in mental health care: Bertram Mandelbrote, the Phoenix Unit and the therapeutic community approach

AHP readers may be interested in a new piece in History of Psychiatry: “Innovation in mental health care: Bertram Mandelbrote, the Phoenix Unit and the therapeutic community approach” by David Millard, Peter Agulnik, Neil Armstrong, Craig Fees, John Hall, David Kennard, and Jonathan Leach. Abstract:

Bertram Mandelbrote was Physician Superintendent and Consultant Psychiatrist at Littlemore Hospital in Oxford from 1959 to 1988. A humane pragmatist rather than theoretician, Mandelbrote was known for his facilitating style of leadership and working across organisational boundaries. He created the Phoenix Unit, an innovative admission unit run on therapeutic community lines which became a hub for community outreach. Material drawn from oral histories and witness seminars reflects the remarkably unstructured style of working on the Phoenix Unit and the enduring influence of Mandelbrote and fellow consultant Benn Pomryn’s styles of leadership. Practices initiated at Littlemore led to a number of innovative services in Oxfordshire. These innovations place Mandelbrote as a pioneer in social psychiatry and the therapeutic community approach.

Happenstance and regulatory culture: the evolution of innovative community mental health services in Oxfordshire in the late twentieth century

A new open-access piece in History of Psychiatry may interest AHP readers: “Happenstance and regulatory culture: the evolution of innovative community mental health services in Oxfordshire in the late twentieth century,” Neil Armstrong and Peter Agulnik. Abstract:

This paper uses co-produced historical material to explore the evolution of two innovative mental healthcare institutions that emerged in Oxfordshire in the 1960s. We highlight how the trajectories of both institutions were driven by chance events occurring within social environments, rather than emerging out of evidence or policy initiatives. Both institutions found a role for spontaneity and an openness to chance in the way they worked. We argue that this kind of institutional history would be unlikely today; the paper develops and uses the concept of regulatory culture to explain why. We suggest that the role of regulatory culture has been neglected in the history of psychiatry.

CFP: 55th Annual Meeting of Cheiron, New York City, June 15-18, 2023

CALL FOR PAPERS 

The 55th Annual Meeting of Cheiron – The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences – will be held at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus in New York City from Thursday, June 15th through Sunday, June 18th 2023. 

CHEIRON invites submissions of papers, thematic symposia/panels roundtables, workshops and posters that deal with an aspect of the history of the human, behavioral or social sciences or related historiographical and methodological issues. All submissions should conform to the guidelines listed below.  

Although Cheiron strongly encourages in-person attendance, for those unable to attend the conference at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus in New York City, we will “stream” sessions using a virtual format. “Virtual attendees,” as members of the audience, will be able to engage in discussions during sessions. Moreover, we will, under exceptional circumstances, accept a limited number of papers – roughly 25% of the total – that can be presented “virtually.” 

Submissions must be received by February 15, 2023, 5 pm EST 

Submission guidelines 

Please use the following online form to submit your proposal/abstract: https://forms.gle/LQgaLrCvysuri94H9 

All papers and proposed sessions (thematic symposia/panels, roundtables) should focus on new and original work. The main part of the work should not have been published or presented previously at other conferences.  

Using the online form, please indicate the submission type: on-site paper presentation, virtual paper presentation, proposed session (thematic symposia/panels, roundtables), workshop, or poster.  

To facilitate a “blind” peer review, authors must not include their name anywhere on the proposal/abstract. Information concerning author(s)’s name and affiliation; author(s)’s preferred email address; audio/visual needs; and accessibility requests will be submitted using the online form.  

Papers (On Site or Virtual)):  

Authors should submit a 500-600 word abstract plus a short bibliography that includes the major sources that inform the work. Presentations should aim to be approximately 20 minutes in length so that ten minutes will be available for a discussions of the paper.  

Thematic Symposia/Panel or Roundtable:  

The organizer should submit a 500-600 word description and rationale of the event (plus short bibliography) and a list of the names and affiliations of the participants. Each participant should submit a 500-600 word abstract plus a short bibliography that includes the major sources that inform their work.  

Workshops:  

The organizer should submit a 250-300 word abstract describing the workshop and, if applicable, a list of the names and affiliations of those participating. 

Posters:  

The presenter should submit a 250-300 word abstract describing the theme and/or issues to be discussed. 

Notification of acceptance:  

Notifications will be sent by the end of March 2023. 

Conference Information 

Registration Fees: 

Attendance on site:  
Members of Cheiron – $125 
Non?members – $150  
Graduate and Undergraduate students: $25 

Virtual Attendees: 

Members of Cheiron – $35 
Non?members – $50  
Graduate and Undergraduate students: $10 
One-Day on-site registration – $35 

Lodging: We have arranged inexpensive accommodation on campus in McMahon Hall, Fordham’s student housing residence, as well as hotel accommodations within walking distance of the campus. 

On-campus housing: Two- or three-bedroom suites/apartments are available on campus. There are thirty-five beds available, with one guest per bedroom allowed. It is Fordham’s policy to not allow “couples” in these rooms. The cost for each guest bedroom is $75 per night. 

Off-campus housing: Rooms at reduced rates will be available at The Empire Hotel and Hotel Belleclaire. At the Empire, the June, 2023 rate for a Standard Queen is $269/night. At the Belleclaire, the rate is $249 for a Standard Full, $269 for a Deluxe Queen. A link will be set up by each Hotel so that guests can reserve and pay for their own reservations once. More precise information will be provided once the Registration for the conference has opened. 

Travel Stipends:  

Cheiron will make funds available to help defray travel expenses for students, as well as other scholars facing financial hardship, who present at the conference. We encourage everyone to apply for support from their home institutions. The Travel Stipend is limited to $250 to $400 – depending on circumstances – per accepted submission; co-authored presentations must be divided among the presenters. 

If you wish to be considered for the stipend you will find a place on the submission form to explaining your status submit your request. 

Food:  

The registration fee includes breakfast juice, coffee/tea, muffins and fruit during the morning sessions, and snacks between sessions. 

The Banquet will be held on Campus and there will be a choice of three-course-entries, costing roughly between $80 and $100, to be paid by the attendee. More information – your choice of entrées – will be forthcoming on Cheiron’s website. 

Young Scholar Award:  

Since 2008, Cheiron has awarded a prize for the best paper or symposium presentation by a young scholar. To be eligible for consideration, the young scholar must be the sole or first author on the paper and must be responsible for the bulk of the work of the paper. The young scholar must be a student currently or must have completed doctoral work not more than 5 years prior to the meeting.  

About three weeks after the meeting, applicants should submit a ‘written-up’ version of the paper presented. This may include small changes or additions, but should not exceed 5000 words (including footnotes). Applicants should use the house style of JHBS. 

Submissions go to the Cheiron Executive Officer, who sets the exact deadline, and the entries will be judged by members of the Program Committee and the Review Committee. The winner will receive a certificate from Cheiron and will be asked to submit the paper to the Journal of the History of Behavioral Sciences within a reasonable period of time. The Award winner may ask Cheiron for assistance in preparing the paper for submission to JHBS. If the paper is accepted by JHBS for publication, the winner will receive a $500 honorarium from the publisher, Wiley Blackwell, in recognition of the Cheiron Young Scholar Award. Please note that the award committee may choose not to grant an award in any given year and that the honorarium depends on publication in JHBS, in addition to winning the Award.  

For more information 

For updates on the conference and registration materials, please consult Cheiron’s website atcheironsoc.org in the coming weeks (the webpage is currently being updated and revamped). 

For questions concerning the program, contact either of the Co-Program Chairs:  

Ian Davidson, at ­­­­­­­­­­ian.davidson@concordia.ab.ca and/or Verena Lehmbrock, at verena.lehmbrock@uni-erfurt.de 

For questions concerning the Young Scholar Award or general organizational issues, please contact Larry Stern, Cheiron Executive Officer: lstern@collin.edu

We hope to see you next June in New York City!