Galton, Terman, Cox: The Distinctive Volume II in Genetic Studies of Genius

AHP readers may be interested in a recent piece in Gifted Child Quarterly: “Galton, Terman, Cox: The Distinctive Volume II in Genetic Studies of Genius,” by Dean Keith Simonton. Abstract:

With just one exception, all of the volumes in Terman’s Genetic Studies of Genius report the results of a longitudinal study of more than a thousand intellectually gifted children. That single exception is Volume II, Cox’s single-authored The Early Mental Traits of Three Hundred Geniuses, which instead was a retrospective study of 301 eminent creators and leaders, using historiometric methods to estimate their IQs (as well as to assess a subset of 100 on 67 character traits). This article discusses how this volume actually fits with the other four volumes in the set. After giving the historical background, discussion turns to the emergence of Cox’s doctoral dissertation. Then comes a narrative of the aftermath, including subsequent contributions by Cox, Terman, and numerous other researchers extending into the 21st century. The article closes by treating the ways that the intellectually gifted and the historic geniuses are not comparable, thus indicating the need for more recent replications and extensions of her work.

The Science of Walking: Investigations Into Locomotion in the Long Nineteenth Century

AHP readers may be interested in a now available English language translation of Andreas Mayer’s The Science of Walking: Investigations Into Locomotion in the Long Nineteenth Century. As described on the publisher’s website,

The Science of Walking recounts the story of the growing interest and investment of Western scholars, physicians, and writers in the scientific study of an activity that seems utterly trivial in its everyday performance yet essential to our human nature: walking. Most people see walking as a natural and unremarkable activity of daily life, yet the mechanism has long puzzled scientists and doctors, who considered it an elusive, recalcitrant, and even mysterious act. In The Science of Walking, Andreas Mayer provides a history of investigations of the human gait that emerged at the intersection of a variety of disciplines, including physiology, neurology, orthopedic surgery, anthropology, and psychiatry

Looking back at more than a century of locomotion research, Mayer charts, for the first time, the rise of scientific endeavors to control and codify locomotion and analyzes their social, political, and aesthetic ramifications throughout the long nineteenth century. In an engaging narrative that weaves together science and history, Mayer sets the work of the most important representatives of the physiology of locomotion—including Wilhelm and Eduard Weber and Étienne-Jules Marey—in their proper medical, political, and artistic contexts. In tracing the effects of locomotion studies across other cultural domains, Mayer reframes the history of the science of walking and gives us a deeper understanding of human movement.

Introduction: A Recalcitrant Object

1 Walkers, Wayfarers, Soldiers: Sketching a Practical Science of Locomotion
2 Observers of Locomotion: Theories of Walking in the French Science de l’homme
3 Mechanicians of the Human Walking Apparatus: The Beginnings of an Experimental Physiology of the Gait
4 The Rise of Graphical and Photographic Methods: Locomotion Studies and the Predicament of Representation

Conclusion: The Centipede’s Dilemma

BPS Blog: Learning from experiences – the pioneering Life of Marie Jahoda

AHP readers will be interested in a recent piece on the British Psychological Society blog from Sophie O’Reilly at the History of Psychology Centre: “Learning from experiences – the pioneering Life of Marie Jahoda.” The piece draws from the BPS History of Psychology archives, including an oral history interview and a video of Marie Jahoda, and includes audio of Jahoda speaking. The full piece can be read (and heard) online here.

New in JHI: Frantz Fanon, Institutional Psychotherapy, and the Decolonization of Psychiatry

The April 2020 issue of the Journal of the History of Ideas includes a piece that will interest AHP readers: “Frantz Fanon, Institutional Psychotherapy, and the Decolonization of Psychiatry,” Camille Robcis. Abstract:

This article examines the role of psychiatry in the life and work of Frantz Fanon. It focuses on Fanon’s relationship to institutional psychotherapy, which he discovered at the hospital of Saint-Alban through the figure of François Tosquelles. Institutional psychotherapy confirmed, on a clinical level, what Fanon had already intuited in his early work. If alienation was always political and psychic at the same time, then decolonization needed to involve the disalienation of the mind. This is precisely what Fanon tried to do in his psychiatric work in North Africa and in his last political texts.

The full, free access issue can be found online here.

The Psychologist, June 2020: Psychology’s Sexual Harassment Problem has a History

The June 2020 issue of The Psychologist, the official magazine of the British Psychological Society, is out now. The issue features a number of pieces that will interest AHP readers, including several on past and present issue of sexual harassment. (Full disclosure, one of these pieces is co-authored by AHP Editor Jacy Young, aka me.) An additional article on Pavlov’s dogs will also interest AHP readers.

All articles can be read online via the links below:

Sending Well Wishes to Dr. David Baker Upon his Retirement as Director of the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology

After more than twenty years heading what is now the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology (CCHP), Dr. David Baker is retiring. During his tenure Baker expanded the Archives of the History of American Psychology considerably, growing these into a Center now housed in its own a purposively renovated building which additionally includes both the National Museum of Psychology and the Institute for Human Science and Culture.

On the eve of his retirement, an effort is underway to collect well wishes for Dr. Baker from any and all, wishes that can also include photographs from years past (see above). CCHP Assistant Director Cathy Faye provides full details about how to contribute a message:

As many of you know, Dr. David B. Baker, Margaret Clark Morgan Executive Director at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, is retiring at the end of May. Dave has been Director since 1999, taking over from John Popplestone, who launched the Archives of the History of American Psychology in 1965. Since then, Dave has worked to expand the Archives into The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, home to the National Museum of Psychology and the Institute for Human Science and Culture. Dave’s advocacy, scholarship, and outreach over the last 20 years have resulted in a permanent home for the archival record of our field and have given it a public face with the Museum.

I know that many of you have worked with Dave over the years in various capacities and we hope you will help us let him know how much he is appreciated. We have set up a message board where you can leave a message to wish him well in his retirement. Photos can also be uploaded.

Please submit your message by May 29, 2020.

New on Aeon’s Psyche: Donald Winnicott’s views of the psyche

In a recent piece on Aeon‘s new digital magazine Psyche may interest AHP readers. The piece, “For Donald Winnicott, the psyche is not inside us but between us,” explores the work of psychoanalyst Winnicott. As James Barnes writes,

Winnicott’s legacy is often defined in relation to the central position he enjoyed in what became known as the ‘Middle School’ of British psychoanalysis. This title is apt for Winnicott, not just because he sat between the warring neo-Freudian sides in the United States and the United Kingdom – between the ‘Ego-psychology’ and the ‘Kleinian’ schools respectively – but because he saw the area in between self and other as the proper domain of mental life and the place where it develops. He largely circumvented the subject-object dualism inherent in the Freudian model of mind (which both the Ego-psychologists and the Kleinians subscribed to) and espoused, or at least regularly insinuated, a fundamentally unitary conception of self and other.

Virtual #HistSTM Week on History of Psychology

AHP readers will be interested in this week’s Virtual #HistSTM dedicated to “History of Psychology,” the full schedule for which is provided above. Interested readers can sign up for the Virtual #HistSTM mailing list, including Zoom links for all sessions, here. Founded by Sarah Qidwai,

The Virtual HistSTM Community is a digital community for historians of science, technology and medicine. This group was created after it became clear that some academics/graduate students/ECRs were interested in forming a digital community because of the COVID-19 disruptions. We’re a new group and still formulating our agenda. There are currently 150+ members on our mailing list. Our primary objective is to support members during this uncertain time.

May 2020 Social History of Medicine: Women who kill, addiction treatment, and anti-psychiatry discourse

Several pieces in the May 2020 issue of Social History of Medicine may be of interest to AHP readers. Details below.

The Pathologisation of Women Who Kill: Three Cases from Ireland,” by Lynsey Black. Abstract:

Women who kill are frequently subject to discourses of pathology. This article examines the cases of three women convicted of murder in Ireland following Independence in 1922 and explores how each woman was constructed as pathologised. Using archival materials, the article demonstrates that diagnoses were contingent and imbricated with notions of gender, morality, dangerousness, and class. For two of the women, their pathologisation led to them being certified as insane and admitted to the Central Criminal Lunatic Asylum. However, pathologisation could be mediated by respectable femininity. The article also explores the pathways which facilitated judgements of pathology, including the acceptance of a framework of degeneracy, or hereditary insanity, and examines how women could be redeemed from the diagnoses of ‘insanity’.

‘The Only Trouble is the Dam’ Heroin’: Addiction, Treatment and Punishment at the Fort Worth Narcotic Farm,” by Holly M Karibo. Abstract:

In 1929, the U.S. federal government approved two ground-breaking programs designed to treat drug addiction. Emerging at a time when many began to worry about a supposed rising tide of drug use across the country, the establishment of narcotic hospitals at Lexington, Kentucky and Fort Worth, Texas marked a watershed moment in the treatment of addiction. This article traces the institutional history of one of those facilities, the Fort Worth Narcotic Farm, and the experiences of the men who found themselves under its care. It argues that, on the surface, the creation of the farm model seemed like a hopeful alternative to strict incarceration models. Its creation reflected shifting notions of addiction: namely, that addiction is not simply a crime, but it is also a disease with serious public health implications. Yet, the establishment of the hospital as places to both treat and punish addicts was their inherent and fundamental flaw. Central to this was the concept of the “prisoner-patient,” a person forced to undergo treatment as a result of criminal charges. Not only did patients express their frustration with the prison-like setting at Fort Worth, but recidivism rates remained high throughout the facility’s operation. Ultimately, lawmakers and politicians would use these recidivism rates as part of a broader push for more punitive drug legislation in the post-World War II period. By placing the history of addiction into conversation with mass incarceration studies, this article shows that the roots of the punishment model employed in the last quarter of the twentieth century were interwoven into seemingly “progressive” treatment models dating back to at least the 1930s. Indeed, the very failures of early addiction treatment models that arose by mid-century helped to justify an expanding criminal justice model in the post-1960s era.

MIND, Anti-Psychiatry, and the Case of the Mental Hygiene Movement’s ‘Discursive Transformation’,” by Jonathan Toms. Abstract:

During the 1970s the National Association for Mental Health (NAMH) re-labelled itself MIND, becoming a rights-based organisation, critiquing psychiatry and emphasising patients’ citizenship. Its transformation has been coloured by attributions of the influence of anti-psychiatry. This article argues that the relevance of anti-psychiatry has been over-simplified. It examines MIND’s history as part of the psychiatric strategy known as mental hygiene. This movement’s agenda can be understood as paradigmatic of much that anti-psychiatry renounced. However, building on the sociologist Nick Crossley’s description of the interactional nature of Social Movement Organisations in the psychiatric field, this article shows that a ‘discursive transformation’ can be deduced in core elements of mental hygienist thinking. This transformation of discourse clearly prefigured important elements of anti-psychiatry, and also fed into MIND’s rights approach. But it must be appreciated on its own terms. Its distinctiveness under MIND is shown in its application to people with learning disabilities.

BBC Radio 4: The New Anatomy of Melancholy

AHP readers may be interested in a new 12-episode series from BBC Radio 4, “A New Anatomy of Melancholy.” The series is described as follows,

In 1621, Robert Burton published The Anatomy of Melancholy. It was the first attempt in the modern western world to understand and categorise causes, symptoms and treatments of that universal human experience.

Writing from Oxford where he was a life-long scholar, librarian of Christ Church and a vicar, Burton drew on the writing of others and also his own experiences.

Writer Amy Liptrot, delves into this remarkable attempt at understanding the human condition to find out what we can learn and how far we have come in four centuries.

The first six episodes of the twelve episode series can be listened to online now.