Tag Archives: bibliography

Bibliography: Race and Racism

This post is written by Thomas Teo, York University and is part of a special series of bibliographies on topics in the history of psychology.

Adapted from: Teo, T. (2008). Race and psychology. In W. A. Darity (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social sciences (2nd ed.) (Vol. 7, pp. 21-24). Detroit, MI: Macmillan.


Before the formal institutionalization of psychology in the nineteenth century, academics attributed psychological qualities to specific ethnic groups (doing so can even be found in Aristotle’s writings). However, the systematic combination of psychological characteristics with race occurred in the eighteenth century when Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) combined varieties of humans (“races”) with psychological and social characteristics in his taxonomy. Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840) advanced the concept of the Caucasian based on his idea that European culture originated in the Caucasus. The term Caucasian, still used in empirical studies of psychology, has no scientific validity.

In the second half of nineteenth century some European scholars suggested that the Caucasian variety divided into two branches, identified as Semites and Aryans. Both were associated with different psychological characteristics and formed the theoretical basis for Hitler’s ideology. In the 1860s John Langdon H. Down (1829-1896) studied the structure and function of various organs in idiots and imbeciles. He observed a group of individuals that he characterized as having round faces, flattened skulls, extra folds of skin over their eyelids, protruding tongues, short limbs, and retardation of motor and mental abilities. Continue reading Bibliography: Race and Racism

Bibliography: History of Social Psychology

This post is written by Cathy Faye, Assistant Director, Archives of the History of Psychology, Center for the History of Psychology and is part of a special series of bibliographies on topics in the history of psychology.

In the following list of resources I have tried to provide literature that discusses social psychology from both a historical and a theoretical standpoint and that reflects both psychological and sociological approaches to the discipline. Nonetheless, my own interests are centred largely on the disciplinary history of twentieth-century American social psychology and the historiography of social psychology. This list reflects that focus. I’ve also focused on sources that take a very broad view of the field, and have therefore omitted reference to specific topics or time periods in the history of social psychology. For those interested in a more topical consideration of social psychology, I highly recommend Roger Smith’s (1997) bibliographic essay on “The individual and the social” (see Smith, The Norton History of the Human Sciences, pp. 993-999). I have provided brief explanatory notes regarding each book-length work in the list below. With a few exceptions, most of these works are standard histories, while the articles provided are mainly critiques of these standard histories or theoretical considerations of the discipline. Read together, they provide a really interesting story not only of what social psychology has been, but also of the changing views regarding what it should be. The list of articles is brief, but the best articles are those in the special issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences that I have cited.


Collier, G., Minton, H. L., & Reynolds, G. (1991). Currents of thought in American social psychology. New York: Oxford University Press. This book is a good place to start, since it highlights trends in the history of American social psychology. It does not, however, provide much detail or reflection.

Farr, R. M. (1996). The roots of modern social psychology, 1872-1954. Oxford: Blackwell. Farr provides a more reflective and critical history, along with a consideration of historiographical issues in writing the history of social psychology.

Greenwood, J. D. (2004). The disappearance of the social in American social psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Greenwood provides a critical, historical analysis of the individualistic nature of contemporary social psychology. He argues that early twentieth-century social psychologists had a rich conception of the social that has since dissipated. This book is particularly useful because it raises important questions regarding what constitutes a social versus an asocial psychology. Continue reading Bibliography: History of Social Psychology

Bibliography: History of Women in Psychology

This post is written by Kelli Vaughn, York University and is part of a special series of bibliographies on topics in the history of psychology.

In 2005, I wrote an article that included the phrase “we must teach the teachers;” no where is this more true than the study of the history of women in psychology. Even today when the body of scholarship in this marginalized area is growing we still see that women are forgotten or placed in a box (or “special” chapter as the case may be). The goal of my research is to address the need to rid ourselves of these omissions and pedestals by the general inclusion of women’s history within texts and courses, where it has always belonged. The first step in doing that is, as I mentioned, to teach the teachers or in this case the future teachers that which they are often not provided in their initial training. The following is a list of basic resources to familiarize yourself with the names and work of the earliest female pioneers in the field as well as the struggles often incurred in the historical construction of women and gender. These resources are updated regularly on my own website.


Benjamin, L. T., Jr. (1980). Women in psychology: Biography and autobiography. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 5, 140-144.

Bohan, J. S. (1995). Re-placing women in psychology: Readings toward a more inclusive history. Second Edition. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

Furumoto, L. (1984). Review of Women scientists in America: Struggles and strategies to 1940. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 20, 238-240. Continue reading Bibliography: History of Women in Psychology

Bibliography: History of Functionalism

This post is written by Christopher Green, York University and is part of a special series of bibliographies on topics in the history of psychology.

For the past few years I have been working on the American school of psychology that was known as Functionalism. Functionalism was prominent from around 1890 to around 1920, though its roots go back into the 1870s and, in some ways, it carries forward to the present day. I have made two video documentaries about it (http://tinyurl.com/functionalism1, http://tinyurl.com/functionalism2), and I had an article in the February 2009 issue of American Psychologist (as part of their Darwin bicentennial celebration). I will also have a related article on Titchener and objectivity in the December 2010 issue of Isis. One of the reasons I became interested in this topic was the relative lack of good historical work on it, but I have put together a list of the books and papers that I found to be most helpful in understanding it. Most of it is primary source, but I have included some secondary material as well (some of which has a somewhat different focus — e.g., pragmatism, intelligence testing, applied psychology, behaviorism — but still bears on Functionalism in important ways).

Angell, James R. (1903). The relation of structural and functional psychology to philosophy. Decennial publications of the University of Chicago (First Series, Vol. 3, pp. 55-73).

Angell, James Rowland. (1907). The province of functional psychology. Psychological Review, 14, 61-91.

Angell, James Rowland & Moore, Addison W. (1896). Studies from the psychological laboratory of the University of Chicago: 1. Reaction-Time: A study in attention and habit. Psychological Review, 3, 245-258.

Backe, Andrew. (2001). John Dewey and early Chicago functionalism. History of Psychology, 4, 323-340.

Baldwin, James Mark. (1895b). Mental development in the child and race. New York: Macmillan.

Baldwin, James Mark. (1896a). A new factor in evolution. American Naturalist, 30, 441-451, 536-553. Continue reading Bibliography: History of Functionalism

Bibliography: Historiography of Psychology

This post is written by Michael Pettit, York University and is part of a special series of bibliographies on topics in the history of psychology.

Making (and reading) these kinds of lists is fun but always tricky. The problem is not so much what to include but exclude. The following gives you a snapshot of how I conceive of the “greatest hits” in the history of psychology (rather broadly construed) over the past fifty years. The list consists entirely of books: this reflects my graduate training if not necessarily my current reading habits. Most authors get only one book. The thought of Michel Foucault definitely has shaped this historiography profoundly, but the response among historians has been quite nuanced and sophisticated. This list of books includes work by historians, sociologists, philosophers, anthropologists, alongside psychologists, demonstrating how interdisciplinary the field has become. An important question to contemplate at the current moment is whether there are new, untapped historiographic directions offered by this tradition or whether we require a new starting point for debate?

Foucault, M. (1966/1970). The Order of Things. New York: Vintage.

Ellenberger, H. (1970). The discovery of the unconsciousness. New York: Basic Books.

Foucault, M. (1978). The history of sexuality: An introduction. New York: Vintage.

Young, R. M. (1985). Darwin’s metaphor: Nature’s place in Victorian culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Digby, A. (1985). Madness, morality and medicine: A study of the York Retreat, 1796-1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

O’Donnell, J. M. (1985). The origins of behaviorism: American psychology, 1870-1920. New York: New York University Press. Continue reading Bibliography: Historiography of Psychology