BEROSE open access encyclopaedia dedicated to the history of anthropology in the broadest sense, including ethnography, ethnology, folklore studies and related disciplines

AHP readers may be interested in BEROSE “an open access encyclopaedia dedicated to the history of anthropology in the broadest sense, including ethnography, ethnology, folklore studies and related disciplines.” BEROSE is described as follows:

The encyclopaedia has three categories of topical dossiers, containing new articles and other resources:

Anthropologists and Ethnographers;
Anthropological Institutions and Journals;
Anthropological Concepts, Themes and Traditions.
The BEROSE website includes a series of e-books, “Les Carnets de Bérose”, reflecting the vitality of current research in this field. Programmes of workshops and conferences held within BEROSE are also available.

BEROSE is multilingual and welcomes articles in English, French, Spanish,
Portuguese, German and Italian.

Serendipities Open Journal – devoted to papers on any aspect of a sociological or historical analysis of the development of the social sciences

AHP readers will be interested in the open journal Serendipities which features

… papers on any aspect of a sociological or historical analysis of the development of the social sciences.

A shortcut for what we expect would be a combination of the best of “sociology of” and “social studies of” perspectives on those fields of inquiry which belong to what Wolf Lepenies called the third culture, between science and literature. Paper could either look at the subject from a historical point of view or challenge present day practices of any part of the social sciences. We also welcome contributions applying routines from other disciplines as long as the subject belongs to the social sciences.

Some of the topics that the editors hope to see covered in Serendipities are the development of methodologies and research techniques, the institutionalization processes of disciplines and research directions, the “traveling of ideas” from one scholarly culture to another, the role of funding agencies, and the relation among the social sciences, the state, and social movements.

Finally, the interaction of social science with publics and different kind of clients is a matter of great interest to the journal. From a methodological point of view, we particularly invite submissions that engage with the still underdeveloped field of sociological semantics, prosopography, and advanced quantitative and qualitative approaches to analyze the personnel of the social sciences and their thinking.

2 Doctoral Positions “Decolonising the Psyche: The Politics of Ethnopsychology, 1930–1980” (Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies Geneva)

AHP readers may be interested in two doctoral positions at the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies Geneva. Applications are due 01.03.2021. Details below.

PhD position “Observing African Child-Rearing Practices in Psychology and Anthropology”

Background
The overall project “Decolonising the Psyche: The Politics of Ethnopsychology, 1930-1980” retraces debates on the universality and particularity of the human psyche during the “long moment of decolonisation”. The project focuses on the history of ethnopsychology, a scientific field at the intersection of anthropology and the psychological disciplines. Ethnopsychology (an umbrella term chosen here for a variety of approaches such as ‘ethnopsychiatry’, “ethnopsychoanalysis”, “cross-cultural psychology” and others) emerged in the interwar period and was reshaped after World War II. A central hypothesis of the project is that ethnopsychology was a technique for attempting to come to terms with, and even to manage, the end of empire, all the while acting as a factor catalysing it. A second hypothesis is that ethnopsychology functioned both as a tool of colonialism (for instance, by pathologising anti-imperial movements as “insane”) and as a medium of anticolonial critique (as exemplified in the works of thinkers such as Frantz Fanon and others). The project asks the following questions: How did psychological experts conceptualise the psyche of people from the Global South? What political visions and practical programmes did these conceptualisations entail? To answer these questions, the project historically examines different strands of the psychological disciplines in their respective dialogue with anthropology.

PhD project “Observing African Child-Rearing Practices in Psychology and Anthropology”
This project is located at the intersection of gender history and the history of developmental psychology (child psychology). Since the interwar culture-and-personality school, anthropologists and psychologists regarded infantile socialisation as the key site for the psychic reproduction of society. Scientific debates on child-rearing provided a baseline for psychological models of attachment and development as well as for the political governing of family models. The project develops a novel perspective informed by the history of science. Where did research on child-rearing informed by differing backgrounds – for instance, in the tradition of Jean Piaget as opposed to the US-American “psychological anthropology” – converge, and where did it diverge? Within that broad framework, the PhD student is encouraged to develop their own distinct research agenda according to their interests and background. A demonstrated interest in gender history and/or African history is a plus.

PhD position “Culture’ and Migration in Psychiatric Epidemiology after 1945”

Background
The overall project “Decolonising the Psyche: The Politics of Ethnopsychology, 1930-1980” retraces debates on the universality and particularity of the human psyche during the “long moment of decolonisation”. The project focuses on the history of ethnopsychology, a scientific field at the intersection of anthropology and the psychological disciplines. Ethnopsychology (an umbrella term chosen here for a variety of approaches such as ‘ethnopsychiatry’, “ethnopsychoanalysis”, “cross-cultural psychology” and others) emerged in the interwar period and was reshaped after World War II. A central hypothesis of the project is that ethnopsychology was a technique for attempting to come to terms with, and even to manage, the end of empire, all the while acting as a factor catalysing it. A second hypothesis is that ethnopsychology functioned both as a tool of colonialism (for instance, by pathologising anti-imperial movements as “insane”) and as a medium of anticolonial critique (as exemplified in the works of thinkers such as Frantz Fanon and others). The project asks the following questions: How did psychological experts conceptualise the psyche of people from the Global South? What political visions and practical programmes did these conceptualisations entail? To answer these questions, the project historically examines different strands of the psychological disciplines in their respective dialogue with anthropology.

PhD project “’Culture’ and Migration in Psychiatric Epidemiology after 1945”
This project is located at the intersection of the history of psychiatry and migration history. Global health institutions such as the WHO and the World Federation for Mental Health were crucial for the emerging discipline of psychiatric epidemiology that studied patterns of mental disorders around the globe. Intense debates were sparked by the question as to what extent psychopathological entities were determined by “culture” and, especially, by the transcending of “cultural boundaries”. WFMH and WHO considered the mobility of populations within the decolonising Global South as well as migration processes from the South to Europe as a concern for mental health. The project historicises the connections psychiatric epidemiology drew between culture and migration as a psycho-pathogenic factor: How were “traditional culture”, dislocation and “modernity” transformed into a problem from a psychiatric perspective? Within that broad framework, the PhD student is encouraged to develop their own distinct research agenda according to their interests and background. A demonstrated interest in the history of psychiatry and/or migration history is a plus.

Rationality, irrationality and irrationalism in the anti-institutional debate in psychiatry around the second half of the 1970s in Italy

AHP readers may be interested in a recent open access piece in the European Journal of Analytic Philosophy:

Rationality, irrationality and irrationalism in the anti-institutional debate in psychiatry around the second half of the 1970s in Italy” by Matteo Fiorani. Abstract:

The movements and protests of 1968 worldwide criticized the traditional idea of normality. From the 1970s onwards, psychiatry and antipsychiatry became an ideological battleground centered on the boundaries between normality and madness. In this scenario, characterized by a deep cultural and political transformation within the Left, the traditional concept of rationality and its very connection with irrationality was called into question. As a consequence, the very ideal of reason was questioned. This paper will explore the debate on rationality, irrationality and irrationalism within the so-called anti-institutional psychiatry and its reception in the Italian New Left during the second half of the 1970s.

Virtual Symposium: A critical analysis of the scientific reform movement

AHP readers may be interested in a virtual symposium taking place April 20, 2021 on “A critical analysis of the scientific reform movement.” Hosted by the Center for Open Science the symposium is described as:

As the science reform movement has gathered momentum to change research culture and behavior relating to openness, rigor, and reproducibility, so has the critical analysis of the reform efforts. This symposium includes five perspectives examining distinct aspects of the reform movement to illuminate and challenge underlying assumptions about the value and impact of changing practices, to identify potential unintended or counterproductive consequences, and to provide a meta perspective of metascience and open science. It’s meta, all the way up. Each presenter will provide a 15-minute perspective followed by a concluding discussion among the panelists and a time to address audience questions.

SESSIONS:
“Psychologists psychologizing scientific psychology: An epistemological reading of the replication crisis” | Ivan Flis, Catholic University of Croatia

“The scientific and social implications of implementing Open Science policies and procedures” | Sabina Leonelli; Exeter Centre for the Study of the Life Sciences, University of Exeter

“Metascience as a scientific social movement” | David Peterson, UCLA

“The case for formal methodology in scientific reform” | Berna Devezer, University of Idaho

“Open science in the era of informational mystification” | Kyle Harp-Rushing; University of California, Riverside

Visit here to register.

The rise of psychological physicians: The certification of insanity and the teaching of medical psychology

A new article in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry will interest AHP readers. “The rise of psychological physicians: The certification of insanity and the teaching of medical psychology,” by Filippo MariaSposini. Abstract:

This paper investigates the nexus between the legal provisions for the certification of insanity and the introduction of psychological medicine into British medical education. Considering legal and published sources, it shows that the 1853 Lunatic Asylums Act proved fundamental for the promotion of medical psychology as part of medical training. By giving doctors the authority to report “facts of insanity”, this law created the need for “psychological physicians” capable of certifying lunacy. I explore this connection in three sections. First, I introduce the emergence of medical certificates in the context of asylum committal. Second, I focus on the certification procedure introduced in 1853 which required “facts of insanity personally observed”. Third, I consider how British asylum doctors advocated for the diffusion of psychological medicine as an essential university subject for certifying practitioners. This paper emphasizes the relevance of confinement legislation in the development of psychiatry as a medical specialty.

March 2021 History of Psychiatry: Sexual Abuse by Asylum Staff, ‘Psychosis of civilization’, and More

The March 2021 issue of History of Psychiatry is now available one. Full details below.

“The history of mental health policy in Turkey: tradition, transition and transformation,” Merve Kardelen Bilir, Fatih Artvinli. Abstract:

This article offers a brief history and the evolution of mental health policy in Turkey. It aims to analyse how mental health policies were transformed and why certain policies were introduced at specific times. The modern history of mental health policy is divided into three periods: the institutionalization of psychiatry and hospital-based mental health services; the introduction of community-based mental healthcare services; and lastly, the policy of deinstitutionalization after the 1980s. These periods have been categorized in a way that basically coincides with Turkey’s modern political history.

“The mentally ill and how they were perceived in young Israel,” Oded Heilbronner. Abstract:

The article constitutes a widely researched account of mental patients and their perceptions in the early history of Israel, especially its second decade. It focuses on a single generation, which experienced the traumas of war in Europe, followed by insecurity in Israel’s struggle for independence. The article claims that in the 1960s many suffered from depression, reflected in a record number of patients in mental hospitals and mentally sick people, mostly of European origin. This study describes Israeli society in the 1960s as disturbed, immersed in nightmarish dreams and close to madness; it also discusses the genetic and neurological vulnerabilities which induced the psychosis and the social response that converted it into a chronic illness.

“How did mental health become so biomedical? The progressive erosion of social determinants in historical psychiatric admission registers,” Fritz Handerer, Peter Kinderman, Carsten Timmermann, Sara J Tai. Abstract:

This paper explores the historical developments of admission registers of psychiatric asylums and hospitals in England and Wales between 1845 and 1950, with illustrative examples (principally from the archives of the Rainhill Asylum, UK). Standardized admission registers have been mandatory elements of the mental health legislative framework since 1845, and procedural changes illustrate the development from what, today, we would characterize as a predominantly psychosocial understanding of mental health problems towards primarily biomedical explanations. Over time, emphasis shifts from the social determinants of admission to an asylum to the diagnosis of an illness requiring treatment in hospital. We discuss the implications of this progressive historical diminution of the social determinants of mental health for current debates in mental health care.

“‘Psychosis of civilization’: a colonial-situated diagnosis,” Marianna Scarfone. Abstract:

In the late 1930s, when colonial psychiatry was well established in the Maghreb, the diagnosis ‘psychosis of civilization’ appeared in some psychiatrists’ writings. Through the clinical case of a Libyan woman treated by the Italian psychiatrist Angelo Bravi in Tripoli, this article explores its emergence and its specificity in a differential approach, and highlights its main characteristics. The term applied to subjects poised between two worlds: incapable of becoming ‘like’ Europeans – a goal to which they seem to aspire – but too far from their ‘ancestral habits’ to revert for a quiet life. The visits of these subjects to colonial psychiatric institutions, provided valuable new material for psychiatrists: to see how colonization impacted inner life and to raise awareness of the long-term socio-political dangers.

“Sexual abuse by superintending staff in the nineteenth-century lunatic asylum: medical practice, complaint and risk,” Cara Dobbing, Alannah Tomkins. Abstract:

The nineteenth century witnessed a great shift in how insanity was regarded and treated. Well documented is the emergence of psychiatry as a medical specialization and the role of lunatic asylums in the West. Unclear are the relationships between the heads of institutions and the individuals treated within them. This article uses two cases at either end of the nineteenth century to demonstrate sexual misdemeanours in sites of mental health care, and particularly how they were dealt with, both legally and in the press. They illustrate issues around cultures of complaint and the consequences of these for medical careers. Far from being representative, they highlight the need for further research into the doctor–patient relationship within asylums, and what happened when the boundaries were blurred.

“‘The voice of the stomach’: the mind, hypochondriasis and theories of dyspepsia in the nineteenth century,” E Allen Driggers. Abstract:

Physicians and surgeons during the nineteenth century were eager to explore the causes of stomach and intestinal illnesses. Theories abounded that there was a sympathy between the mind and the body, especially in the case of the dyspepsia. The body was thought to have physical symptoms from the reactions of the mind, especially in the case of hypochondriasis. Digestive problems had a mental component, but mental anguish could also result from physical problems. Dissertations from aspiring as well as established physicians probed the mental causes of irritable bowel diseases and other diseases in the medical literature. Healing was thought to come from contextualizing the link between the problems of the mind and the resulting physical problems of the body.

New SHM: Mental Hygiene Guidance Centres, Political Recognition for Dyslexia, and Mental Health in Socialist Yugoslavia

The recently published November 2020 issue of Society History of Medicine includes three articles that may interest AHP readers. Titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

Helping Troubled Children and Cultivating the Race: The Mental Hygienic Guidance Centres of the Public Health Association of Swedish Finland, 1930s–1950s,” Sophy Bergenheim. Abstract:

This article looks at the mental hygienic guidance centres of the Public Health Association of Swedish Finland (Samfundet Folkhälsan, or Folkhälsan for short). For Folkhälsan, mental hygiene was a part of a broader context, in which public health and racial hygiene were fundamentally motivated by Finland-Swedish minority nationalism. Folkhälsan’s mental hygienic ideas are illuminated through the interrelated frames of degeneration and social engineering. The former portrayed mental and social deviance as a social, biological and moral threat to the collective, whereas the latter saw social behaviour, including maladjustment, as a phenomenon that could be influenced. For Folkhälsan’s mental hygienists, it was central to determine type and degree of abnormality; whether the clients were socially maladjusted ‘problem children’ or ‘feeble-minded children’. In both cases, the problem was seen to be caused by (lower-class) parents: through incompetent parenting and/or by passing on poor mental qualities to their offspring.

Literacy, Advocacy and Agency: The Campaign for Political Recognition of Dyslexia in Britain (1962–1997),” Philip Kirby. Abstract:

This article charts the campaign for political recognition of dyslexia in Britain, focusing on the period from 1962 when concerted interest in the topic began. Through the Word Blind Centre for Dyslexic Children (1963–72), and the organisations that followed, it shows how dyslexia gradually came to be institutionalised, often in the face of government intransigence. The article shows how this process is best conceived as a complex interplay of groups, including advocates, researchers, civil servants and politicians of varying political stripes. Necessarily, the campaign was mediated through broader political, economic and social changes, including the increasing requirement for literacy in the productive worker, but it is not reducible to these factors. In this way, the article reflects on the conceptualisation of power and agency in accounts of the history of dyslexia to date and its broader relevance to the history of learning difficulties and disabilities.

The Curious Case of Aleksandar Milivojevi?: The Donja Toponica Hospital and Mental Health in Socialist Yugoslavia,” Ivan Simic. Abstract:

This article uncovers the appalling situation in Yugoslav mental hospitals in the early period of Yugoslav socialism, demonstrating that Yugoslav psychiatry suffered from rife structural problems and malpractices. By examining the case of the Toponica hospital, the article shows that patients were regularly abused and beaten while living in very harsh conditions. Patients were overmedicated, therapies administered by illiterate staff, medical histories poorly recorded and hospitals overcrowded and understaffed, while often no attempts were made for the patients’ healing and rehabilitation. On the other hand, Yugoslav psychiatrists closely followed the trends in global psychiatry, testing new therapies, while the movement for mental hygiene gained significant traction. Nevertheless, high hopes for improving the patients’ well-being were far from practice. Once the scandal at the Toponica hospital erupted in 1955, it caused changes in the management and brought in more resources, but the structural problems of Yugoslav psychiatry remained.

Francis Galton’s regression towards mediocrity and the stability of types

AHP readers will be interested in a new article in Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A: “Francis Galton’s regression towards mediocrity and the stability of types,”by Adam Krashniak and Ehud Lamm. Abstract:

A prevalent narrative locates the discovery of the statistical phenomenon of regression to the mean in the work of Francis Galton. It is claimed that after 1885, Galton came to explain the fact that offspring deviated less from the mean value of the population than their parents did as a population-level statistical phenomenon and not as the result of the processes of inheritance. Arguing against this claim, we show that Galton did not explain regression towards mediocrity statistically, and did not give up on his ideas regarding an inheritance process that caused offspring to revert to the mean. While the common narrative focuses almost exclusively on Galton’s statistics, our arguments emphasize the anthropological and biological questions that Galton addressed. Galton used regression towards mediocrity to support the claim that some biological types were more stable than others and hence were resistant to evolutionary change. This view had implications concerning both natural selection and eugenics. The statistical explanation attributed to Galton appeared later, during the biometrician-mutationist debate in the early 1900s. It was in the context of this debate and specifically by the biometricians, that the development of the statistical explanation was originally attributed to Galton.

The paper technology of confinement: evolving criteria in admission forms (1850–73)

AHP readers will be interested in a piece forthcoming in History of Psychiatry – and now available online – by Filippo M Sposini, “The paper technology of confinement: evolving criteria in admission forms (1850–73).” Abstract:

This paper investigates the role of admission forms in the regulation of asylum confinement in the second half of the nineteenth century. Taking the Toronto Lunatic Asylum as a case study it traces the evolution of the forms’ content and structure during the first decades of this institution. Admission forms provide important material for understanding the medico-legal assessment of lunacy in a certain jurisdiction. First, they show how the description of insanity depended on a plurality of actors. Second, doctors were not necessarily required to indicate symptoms of derangement. Third, patients’ relatives played a fundamental role in providing clinical information. From an historiographical perspective, this paper invites scholars to consider the function of standardized documents in shaping the written identity of patients.