Nov 3-4, 2022: History of Psychology and the Sciences of the Human Mind

On November 3 and 4, 2022 the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science is hosting an international workshop (in person and online) that will be of interest to AHP readers: History of Psychology and the Sciences of the Human Mind. Details below and full program available here.

This international workshop is organized as a cooperation between the MPIWG group “Data, Media, Mind” (Christine von Oertzen), the German Forum for the History of Human Sciences, and the Erfurt Chair for the History of Science.


Related Project(s)


Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin, Germany


Zoom/Online Meeting Platform

Contact and Registration

Please register with Verena Lehmbrock: VERENA.LEHMBROCK@UNI-ERFURT.DE

The miracle of Maglavit (1935) and the Romanian psychology of religion

A new piece in the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences will interest AHP readers: “The miracle of Maglavit (1935) and the Romanian psychology of religion,” by Matei Iagher. Abstract:

This paper examines the debates around the “miracle of Maglavit”, a shepherd’s vision of God that took place in 1935 in Romania and attracted much contemporary popular and intellectual interest. The debates drew in arguments from doctors and theologians, who discussed the psychology of divine revelation and tried to elaborate the implications that such an event could have for the life of the Romanian nation. The paper places these debates in the context of wider contemporary discussions about psychology and religion. I argue that what Maglavit shows is that, in Romania at least, public debates about visionary experience in the 1930s were not only debates about its psychology, but of a psychology thoroughly imbricated with political concerns.

Out of his mind: Masculinity and mental illness in Victorian Britain

AHP readers may be interested in the recently published book Out of his mind: Masculinity and mental illness in Victorian Britain by Amy Milne-Smith. As described by the publisher,

Out of His Mind interrogates how Victorians made sense of the madman as both a social reality and a cultural representation. Even at the height of enthusiasm for the curative powers of nineteenth-century psychiatry, to be certified as a lunatic meant a loss of one’s freedom and in many ways one’s identify. Because men had the most power and authority in Victorian Britain, this also meant they had the most to lose. The madman was often a marginal figure, confined in private homes, hospitals, and asylums. Yet as a cultural phenomenon he loomed large, tapping into broader social anxieties about respectability, masculine self-control, and fears of degeneration. Using a wealth of case notes, press accounts, literature, medical and government reports, this text provides a rich window into public understandings and personal experiences of men’s insanity.

New Journal: History of Social Science

AHP readers may be interested in the launch of a new journal, History of Social Science. The journal will be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press on behalf of the Society for the History of Recent Social Science (HISRESS), with the first issue set to appear in Spring 2024.

History of Social Science offers an international forum for the examination of the transformations of the social sciences since the early twentieth century. The journal covers a variety of disciplines, from the core social sciences of economics, political science, and sociology, to disciplines with links to natural science, such as anthropology, geography, and psychology, and disciplines closer to the humanities, such as history and philosophy. Related fields, including area studies, business, communication studies, criminology, law, and linguistics, are also included under the journal’s editorial scope. An important editorial commitment of the journal is to solicit and cultivate scholarship on the history of the social sciences throughout the world, as well as work that traces the transnational circulation and mutual shaping of ideas, practices, and personnel.

The journal is now accepting submissions. More information can be found on the journal’s website, including Author Guidelines and the Editorial Board. The first issue is slated to appear in Spring 2024.

The journal’s sponsor is the Society for the History of Recent Social Science (HISRESS), which also hosts a small annual conference on the worldwide history of the social sciences in the twentieth century. Next year’s symposium will be held in Uppsala, Sweden, in June; see the call for papers for more details.

Please contact the journal editors with submission inquiries or any other questions.

Jamie Cohen Cole, Philippe Fontaine, and Jeff Pooley
Co-editors, History of Social Science

Oct. 27 Talk: ‘Kingdoms of Babes’: Home Nurseries in Turn-of-the-Century America

As an accompaniment to the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology’s current exhibit, Scientific Nursery, the Center will be hosting a talk by Dr. Elisabeth Yang on the history of home nurseries. The talk will be livestreamed as well.

“Kingdoms of Babes”: Home Nurseries as Medico-Moral Domains of Infants in Late 19th and Early 20th-Century America

October 27, 2022, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM. Please RSVP for the in-person event via Eventbrite, or tune in to the livestream.

Cummings Center Colloquium Series

Directions for constructing and setting up home nurseries were a common feature of child-rearing and domestic medicine manuals, during the mid-to late 19th and early 20th centuries. Physicians and other child-rearing authorities offered detailed directions on location, design, decoration, the materials, and management of nurseries. The notion that the house had both a physiological and psychological impact on the child urged mothers to design the nursery in appropriate ways under the aegis of medical experts. For the medical community and growing readership of white, middle-class mothers and mothers-to-be in Victorian and early Progressive America, domestic architecture had a prescriptive power; the configurations of the home nursery would lead to the configurations of the infant, and in turn, the “civilized” race, and nation.

In this talk, Dr. Elisabeth M. Yang will discuss how the home nursery itself was medicalized and transformed into a sanctified space of science, technology, religion, and politics, as physicians and child-rearing authorities proscribed objects as implements of “moralizing” and “normalizing” the infant. She will explore what the material world of babies—the nursery and its objects—reveals to us about their moral nature and agency, suggesting an intimate link between the physical topology of babyhood and the moral ontology of babies. The talk will address theoretical entanglements between the material and moral in the making of the idealized “healthy and happy” American baby in the home nursery which emerged as an ideological concourse of various babyhoods—mechanistic, plant-like, savage, tyrannical, innocent, and patriotic.

This is a free event open to the public. Please RSVP online via Eventbrite.

About Dr. Elisabeth M. Yang

Dr. Yang is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Kilachand Honors College of Boston University. She holds a Ph.D. in Childhood Studies from Rutgers University, an MA in the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine, an MA in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics, and a BA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. As an interdisciplinary scholar, she draws from the history and philosophy of science and medicine, sociology, theology, childhood studies, and material culture. Previously, she worked in collaboration with the American Philosophical Society, the Library Company of Philadelphia, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania on an NEH-funded digital humanities project aimed to unearth and digitize the underrepresented voices of individuals and communities living in Philadelphia during the American Revolution. Currently, Dr. Yang is working on her first book, Constructing Moral Babies, concerning the historical and philosophical constructions of moral babies in American medical and pedagogical discourses during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Psychiatry wars: The lawsuit that put psychoanalysis on trial

A new piece in the Guardian may interest AHP readers: “Psychiatry wars: the lawsuit that put psychoanalysis on trial.” The piece’s tagline notes “Forty years ago, Dr Ray Osheroff sued a US hospital for failing to give him antidepressants. The case would change the course of medical history – even if it couldn’t help the patient himself.” As Rachel Aviv writes:

The clinical language of DSM-III relieved Ray’s sense of isolation – his despair had been a disease, which he shared with millions of people. He was so energised by the new way of thinking about depression that he scheduled interviews with leading biological psychiatrists as research for his memoir, which he titled A Symbolic Death: The Untold Story of One of the Most Shameful Scandals in American Psychiatric History (It Happened to Me).

Ray sent a draft of his memoir to the psychiatrist Gerald Klerman, who had recently stepped down as the head of the US federal government’s Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration. Klerman had written disparagingly of what he called “pharmacological Calvinism” – the belief that “if a drug makes you feel good, it’s either somehow morally wrong, or you’re going to pay for it with dependence, liver damage, chromosomal change, or some other form of secular theological retribution”. Ray said that Klerman told him that his manuscript was “fascinating and compelling”.

Emboldened by Klerman’s approval, Ray decided to sue Chestnut Lodge for negligence and malpractice. He argued that, because the Lodge failed to treat his depression, he had lost his medical practice, his reputation in the medical community, and custody of his children.

The piece is adapted from the soon-to-be published book Strangers to Ourselves: Stories of Unsettled Minds by Rachel Aviv. The book is described as follows:

In Strangers to Ourselves, a powerful and gripping debut, Rachel Aviv raises fundamental questions about how we understand ourselves in periods of crisis and distress. Drawing on deep, original reporting as well as unpublished journals and memoirs, Aviv writes about people who have come up against the limits of psychiatric explanations for who they are. She follows an Indian woman, celebrated as a saint, who lives in healing temples in Kerala; an incarcerated mother vying for her children’s forgiveness after recovering from psychosis; a man who devotes his life to seeking revenge upon his psychoanalysts; and an affluent young woman who, after a decade of defining herself through her diagnosis, decides to go off her meds because she doesn’t know who she is without them. Animated by a profound sense of empathy, Aviv’s exploration is refracted through her own account of living in a hospital ward at the age of six and meeting a fellow patient with whom her life runs parallel?until it no longer does.

Aviv asks how the stories we tell about mental disorders shape their course in our lives. Challenging the way we understand and talk about illness, her account is a testament to the porousness and resilience of the mind.

History of the Human Sciences, Early Career Prize, 2022-23

History of the Human Sciences – the international journal of peer-reviewed research, which provides the leading forum for work in the social sciences, humanities, human psychology and biology that reflexively examines its own historical origins and interdisciplinary influences – is delighted to announce details of its annual prize for early career scholars. The intention of the annual award is to recognise a researcher whose work best represents the journal’s aim to critically examine traditional assumptions and preoccupations about human beings, their societies and their histories in light of developments that cut across disciplinary boundaries. In the pursuit of these goals, History of the Human Sciences publishes traditional humanistic studies as well work in the social sciences, including the fields of sociology, psychology,
political science, the history and philosophy of science, anthropology, classical studies, and literary theory. Scholars working in any of these fields are encouraged to apply.

Guidelines for the Award

Scholars who wish to be considered for the award are asked to submit an up-to-date two-page CV (including a statement that confirms eligibility for the award) and an essay that is a maximum of 12,000 words long (including notes and references). The essay should be unpublished and not under consideration elsewhere, based on original research, written in
English, and follow History of the Human Science’s style guide.

Scholars are advised to read the journal’s description of its aims and scope, as well as its submission guidelines.

Entries will be judged by a panel drawn from the journal’s editorial team and board. They will identify the essay that best fits the journal’s aims and scope.


Scholars of any nationality who have either not yet been awarded a PhD or are no more than five years from its award are welcome to apply. The judging panel will use the definition of “active years”, with time away from academia for parental leave, health problems, or other relevant reasons being disregarded in the calculation. They will also be sensitive to the disruption that the Covid 19 pandemic has had on career progression and will take such factors into account in their decision making. Candidates are encouraged to include details relating to any of these issues in their supporting documents.

Scholars who have submitted an essay for consideration in previous years are welcome to do so again. However, new manuscripts must not be substantially the same as any they have submitted in the past.


The winning scholar will be awarded £250 and have their essay published in History of the Human Sciences (subject to the essay passing through the journal’s peer review process). The intention is to award the prize to a single entrant but the judging panel may choose to recognise more than one essay in the event of a particularly strong field.


Entries should be made by Friday 27th January 2023. The panel aims to make a decision by Friday 28th April 2023. The winning entry will be submitted for peer review automatically. The article, clearly identified as the winner of the History of the Human Sciences Early Career Prize, will then be published in the journal as soon as the production schedule allows. The winning scholar and article will also be promoted by History of the Human Sciences, including on its website, which hosts content separate to the journal.

Previous Winners

2021-22: Harry Parker (Cambridge), “The regional survey movement and popular autoethnography in early 20th century Britain”. Special commendation: Ohad Reiss Sorokin (Princeton), “”‘Intelligence’ before ‘Intelligence Tests’: Alfred Binet’s Experiments on his Daughters (1890-1903)”.

2020-21: Liana Glew (Penn State), “Documenting insanity: Paperwork and patient narratives in psychiatric history”, and Simon Torracinta (Yale), “Maps of desire: Edward Tolman’s Drive Theory of Wants”. Special commendation: Erik Baker (Harvard), “The ultimate think tank: The rise of the Santa Fe Institute Libertarian”.

2019-20: Danielle Carr (Columbia), “Ghastly Marionettes and the political metaphysics of cognitive liberalism: Anti-behaviourism, language, and The Origins of Totalitarianism”. Special commendation: Katie Joice (Birkbeck), “Mothering in the Frame: cinematic microanalysis and the pathogenic mother, 1945-67”.

You can read more about these essays in interviews with the authors on the
journal’s website

To Apply

Entrants should e-mail an anonymised copy of their essay, along with an up-to-date CV, to

Further Enquiries

If you have any questions about the prize, or anything relating to the journal, please email

Psychology from the Margina: Applied Psychology and Minoritized Groups: Using History to Inform Present Practices

The fourth issue of Psychology from the Margins on the theme of “Applied Psychology and Minoritized Groups: Using History to Inform Present Practices” is now available online. This issue is edited by University of Akron graduate students Devynn Campbell-Halfaker and Nicole Fogwell.

Psychology from the Margins is a University of Akron student-run, student-led, peer-reviewed journal featuring scholarly work that addresses the history of research, practice and advocacy in psychology, especially in areas related to social justice, social issues and social change. Its purpose is to help fill gaps in the historical literature by providing an outlet for articles in the history of psychology highlighting stories that have been unrepresented or underrepresented by other historical narratives. 

“Introduction,” Devynn Campbell-Halfaker & Nicole Fogwell, Editors.

Welcome to Issue IV of Psychology from the Margins. This issue’s theme is Applied Psychology and Minoritized Groups: Using History to Inform Present Practices.

We are excited to introduce you to a variety of historical articles that are particularly relevant in today’s sociopolitical climate. The articles all highlight the impact of oppression, both within and outside of psychology. Psychology’s legacy of anti-Black racism, colonialism, and pathologization of LGBTQ+ identity are put to the light. Resilience, resistance, and liberation emerge as themes- and with the 75th anniversary of the 1947 British partition of India upon us, the narratives of survivors presented through the lens of post-traumatic growth feels particularly timely. Importantly, the articles often include calls to action- inviting the reader to connect historical analyses to present-day implications. This issue features our first international submission, and we hope to continue to highlight the contributions of scholars from outside of the United States..

Nina Parekh and Janessa Garcia will serve as co-editors-in-chief beginning with Issue 5 of Psychology from the Margins. Janessa and Nina are current 3rd year doctoral students at The University of Akron. Both have completed a year of review board service and are uniquely qualified to further the mission of PFTM and continue to spread the journal’s reach.

Black Market: An Exploration of Black Mental Health in America
Alexandria D. Burroughs

DSM Discrimination and the LGBT Community: Using the History of Diagnostic Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities to Contextualize Current Issues in Transgender and Gender Diverse Mental Healthcare
Ginelle Wolfe and Nicole Fogwell

Exploring Post-Traumatic Growth from Citizen Narratives of Refugees from the 1947 Partition of British India
Keshav J. Dhir and Kathryn J. Azevedo Dr.

Liberation Psychology: Drawing on history to work toward resistance and collective healing in the United States
Hannah K. Heitz

Whom does Psychology serve_ Neocolonialism in Peruvian Psychology
Yassira Armero, Andrés Costilla, and Josephine Hwang

Recognizing Roots and Not Just Leaves: The Use of Integrative Mindfulness in Education, Research, and Practice
Naisargi (Ness) Mehta and Gitika Talwar

Special section: The Hoffman Report in Historical Context

A new special section in History of the Human Sciences dedicated to “the Hoffman Report in Historical Context” will interest AHP readers. Title, authors, and abstracts follow below.

Introduction: The Hoffman Report in historical context,” Nadine Weidman. Abstract:

This brief introduction explains the historical background of the Hoffman Report, the 2015 independent counsel’s investigation into the American Psychological Association’s role in aiding ‘enhanced interrogations’ of detainees in the Bush Administration’s Global War on Terror. It also outlines the articles in this special section of History of the Human Sciences on the Hoffman Report in Historical Context.

Beyond torture: Knowledge and power at the nexus of social science and national security,” Joy Rohde. Abstract:

In the wake of revelations about the American Psychological Association’s complicity in the military’s enhanced interrogation program, some psychologists have called upon the association to sever its ties to national security agencies. But psychology’s relationship to the military is no short-term fling born of the War on Terror. This article demonstrates that psychology’s close relationship to national security agencies and interests has long been a visible and consequential feature of the discipline. Drawing on social scientific debates about the relationship between national security agencies and the social sciences in the late 1960s and early 1970s, this article also provides cautionary lessons for psychologists confronting the torture controversy. It concludes that an ethically robust response to this controversy requires that psychologists engage in a sustained reckoning with the powerful institutional, epistemological, and financial incentives that have bound the discipline to the military and intelligence communities since World War I.

The Hoffman Report in historical context: A study in denial,” Dan Aalbers. Abstract:

Using the concept of social denial, this article puts the American Psychological Association’s (APA’s) pattern of willful blindness, identified by independent reviewer David Hoffman, in historical context by examining the contributions of Cold War social scientists to the CIA’s KUBARK torture manual, and discusses the implications of this history for the reform of the APA’s ethics policies. David Hoffman found that the leadership of the APA colluded with Department of Defense (DoD) to ensure that the APA’s ethical policies were no stronger than those issued by the DoD. While the independent reviewer did not find evidence of collaboration between the CIA and the APA, this was not due to a lack of effort on the part of the APA, which was anxious to establish good relations and so promote the use of psychology in the national security arena. While Hoffman did not find that the APA knew that its collaborations would facilitate the development of abusive interrogation techniques, it showed a marked, motivated lack of interest in whether or not the DoD or CIA was abusing prisoners. The APA maintained its strategic ignorance even while engaging in a public relations campaign designed to give the impression that it was deeply concerned about multiple reports of psychologist involvement in a system of torture. This willful ignorance was not unprecedented and follows a predictable pattern of knowing and not-knowing to which all psychologists should attend.

A military/intelligence operational perspective on the American Psychological Association’s weaponization of psychology post-9/11,” Jean Maria Arrigo, Lawrence P. Rockwood, Jack O’Brien , Dutch Franz, David DeBatto, and John Kiriakou. Abstract:

We examine the role of the American Psychological Association (APA) in the weaponization of American psychology post-9/11. In 2004, psychologists’ involvement in the detention and interrogation of terrorist suspects generated controversy over psychological ethics in national security (PENS). Two signal events inflamed the controversy. The 2005 APA PENS Report legitimized clinical psychology consultation in support of military/intelligence operations with detained terrorist suspects. An independent review, the 2015 Hoffman Report, found APA collusion with the US Department of Defense in producing the APA PENS Report and subsequent policies. Ongoing activities within APA to weaponize psychology sharpened the controversy. The authors—two psychologists and four former military/intelligence professionals—bring a military/intelligence operational perspective to detail two neglected areas of collateral damage. The first is the toll on psychology as a scientific enterprise. The second is covert influence on professional associations for incompatible security-sector objectives. We establish epistemic, historical, institutional, legal, and operational foundations for evaluation of these damages, as well as implications for APA and related professional associations in the ongoing Global War on Terror.

Beyond following rules: Teaching research ethics in the age of the Hoffman Report,” Elissa N. Rodkey, Michael Buttrey, and Krista L. Rodkey. Abstract:

The Hoffman Report scandal demonstrates that ethics is not objective and ahistorical, contradicting the comforting progressive story about ethics many students receive. This modern-day ethical failure illustrates some of the weaknesses of the current ethics code: it is rule-based, emphasizes punishments for noncompliance, and assumes a rational actor who can make tricky ethical decisions using a cost–benefit analysis. This rational emphasis translates into pedagogy: the cure for unethical behavior is more education. Yet such an approach seems unlikely to foster ethical behavior in the real world, either for students or for mature scientists. This article argues for an alternative ethical system and a different way of teaching ethical behavior. Virtue ethics emphasizes the development of ethical habits and traits through regular practice and reflection. We show how virtue ethics complements a feminist approach to science, in which scientists are encouraged to reflect on their own biases, rather than attempting to achieve an impossible objectivity. Our article concludes with pedagogical suggestions for teaching ethical behavior as a practical and intelligent skill.

Performance, Spectacle, Affect: The Polygraph’s Sexual Politics

AHP readers may be interested in a new piece in Science, Technology, & Human Values: “Performance, Spectacle, Affect: The Polygraph’s Sexual Politics,” by Jessica Lingel and Heather Jaber. Abstract:

Although the technical and psychological accuracy of the polygraph has been contested almost since the device’s inception, it continues to enjoy substantial popularity within law enforcement and federal agencies throughout North America. This paper excavates the sexual politics of the polygraph focused on two key arenas where the polygraph has been a popular and powerful tool: identifying LGBTQ applicants and employees within federal agencies and determining parole for convicted sex offenders. Key questions guiding this analysis include the following: What are the relationships between the polygraph and disciplining sexual deviance? How does the polygraph fit within a larger history of surveilling and controlling sexual alterity? Drawing on theories of affect and spectacle, the paper unravels the polygraph’s role as an accomplice to state-sanctioned projects of heteronormativity. Through analysis of training materials, practitioner memoirs, and policy guidelines, the polygraph is situated as an early precursor to surveillance infrastructure that attempts to identify, manage, and predict deviant sexuality.