The Neuro Times blog has reviewed Warwick Anderson‘s The Collectors of Lost Souls: Turning Kuru Scientists into Whitemen. Anderson’s volume details the history of the neurological disorder kuru, focusing on the interactions of the Fore people of Papua New Guinea with scientists and anthropologists beginning in the 1940s and 1950s. According to The Neuro Times,
This marvelous book deliberately forces us to re-imagine the meaning of sojourn, scientific discovery, colonialism, and sorcery, while at the same time providing us with an account of the discovery of Kuru, a lethal neurological disease, and the science that ultimately determined its etiology. In a narrative grounded in sources found in archives in Papua New Guinea, Australia, and the United States, and further developed through oral histories with scientists, anthropologists, and the Fore people, Anderson shows us that the prion – an infectious protein supposedly discovered in the laboratories of Britain and the United States – was a thing constructed first through colonial aspirations and global imaginations
The full review can be found here. Tip o’ the hat to Mind Hacks for alerting me to this item.
Claude Lévi-Strauss — the French structuralist anthropologist who was a leading light of the 1950s and 1960s — has passed away at the age of 100. Here are obituaries by Le Monde and by the New York Times.
According to the Times, “Levi-Strauss was widely regarded as having reshaped the field of anthropology, introducing new concepts concerning common patterns of behavior and thought, especially myths, in primitive and modern societies. During his 6-decade-long career, he authored many literary and anthropological classics, including ”Tristes Tropiques” (1955), ”The Savage Mind” (1963) and ”The Raw and the Cooked” (1964).
The September 2009 issue of History of Psychiatry has been released online. Included in the issue are six all new articles, as well as a recurrent feature in the journal, “Classic Text,” in which a selection from a classic text in the history of psychiatry is reprinted.
For the September issue, the featured “Classic Text” is a translation of prominent nineteenth century alienist-philosopher Prosper Despine’s 1875 book, De la Folie au point de vue philosophique ou plus spécialement psychologique étudiée chez le malade et chez l’homme en santé.
Among the topics covered in this issue of the journal are Kant’s views on mental disorder, classical Greek conceptions of madness, Foucault’s contribution to the Anti-Oedipus movement, Viktor von Weizsäcker’s medical anthropology, and the work of psychologist James Mark Baldwin as precursor to contemporary Theory of Mind.
Listed below are the contents of this issue of the journal, as well as the abstracts for each article. Continue reading New Issue: History of Psychiatry