Tag Archives: Alison Winter

History of the Human Sciences on Film

Historian Alison Winter, of the University of Chicago, and her colleague Tom Gunning of Art History, Cinema and Media Studies have collaborated on an online library of the films that populate the history of the human sciences. Their project, Motion Pictures in the Human Sciences, is described as

an online library and discussion forum relating to the history of the use of motion pictures in psychology, psychiatry, the neurosciences, and related fields.

The site is the online extension of a new collaboration between film historians and historians of science at the University of Chicago, to study the relationship between the history of the human sciences and the history of film. Our online library contains a growing number of films and related material. Some of the films you can view here have never before been digitized. The site also serves a curatorial role: we have tracked down films available in disparate locations on the web, and have imbedded them here, to make them easier to find, document, and discuss. As this pilot site grows and matures, some of our material will be available for download, and our collection will become more fully searchable.

Among the videos currently available on the site are the very early motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge and Etienne Jules Marey. Other films featured on the site include John Watson’s Little Albert experiment, Arnold Gesell’s “Life with Baby,” some of the films of motion study pioneer Frank Gilbreth, and a United States military film on combat fatigue, to list only a few examples. A work in progress, more films will to be added to the site in the future. Serving as both a forum for discussion on films and their function in the history of the human sciences, as well as a centralized resource for such films themselves, Motion Pictures in the Human Sciences is sure to be an invaluable resource.