Tag Archives: John Garth Wilkinson

New Talks! BPS Hist. of Psych. Seminar Series

As previously reported on AHP (here and here) the British Psychological Society’s History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines, is putting on a fall seminar series. Two more talks in this series have just been announced. On November 30th, Egbert Klautke will be speaking on the German repudiation of Völkerpsychologie and on December 14th Thibaud Trochu will speak on the psychological experiments of John Garth Wilkinson (right). Full seminar information, including abstracts, follow below.

BPS History of the Psychological Disciplines
Seminar Series – Autumn term 2011

The British Psychological Society History of Psychology Centre in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines

Location: UCL Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, Room 544,* 5th Floor, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ (map)

Time: 6pm

30 November 2011
“The Repudiation of Völkerpsychologie in Germany,” by Dr Egbert Klautke (UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies). The abstract reads,

My talk will focus on the ‘last’ representative of the once honourable discipline of Völkerpsychologie in Germany, Willy Hellpach. I will present his contribution to the field – his textbook Introduction to Folk Psychology (1938) – as part of his personal strategy to adapt to the conditions of the Third Reich, despite later claims to the contrary by Hellpach and some of his sympathetic interpreters. In the second part of the paper, I will outline the conditions and results of the slow repudiation of his Völkerpsychologie after World War II, and outline the problems which academics critical of ‘national character studies’ encountered.

14 December 2011
“Psychological Experimentation in the Nineteenth Century: John Garth Wilkinson (1812-1899), Physician, Mystic and Radical,” by Thibaud Trochu (University of Paris 1, Sorbonne). The abstract reads,

Though quite forgotten nowadays, Dr J. J. Garth Wilkinson was once a widely known intellectual figure in Victorian Britain. Praised by his contemporaries as a fine scholar, a first-rate writer, and a highbrow public ethicist, he was notorious for stirring controversy and debate – most often against the grain. His personality and thinking revolved around two passionate feelings: deep-seated religious yearnings – though quite unorthodox ones – on the one hand, and on the other, an inclination to mistrust and to defy all forms of established authority – be they religious, medical or political – which he accused of narrowing the horizons of self-conscious practitioners and free citizens. His medical career, strongly entwined with his ‘spiritual’ quest, was thus coloured by a radical political tone. This led him to carry out numerous experiments in his daily practice of the art of healing, such as homeopathy, hypnotism and other forms of ‘psychological analysis’, whilst establishing himself as an opponent of what he saw as the dominant trend of medical materialism, ‘dogmatic objectivism’ and authoritarianism. At a time of triumphant scientific medicine, Wilkinson saw himself as – in his own words – ‘smashing its institutional structure’.