Tag Archives: Laura Ball

Bibliography: Genius

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

This list represents, to me, some of the most integral works on the study of genius in psychology. Based on my readings for my MA thesis (and now my PhD dissertation), this collection characterizes the themes apparent in the research on genius, and its connection to the study of giftedness. I have also tried to present several different types of scholarship: historical, theoretical, empirical, case studies, and inter-disciplinary works. These works have had an impact on our understanding of intelligence, creativity, and to a lesser extent, madness. These works also feature some of the earliest attempts at historiometry. However, this list is by no means comprehensive, nor does it aim to be: the literature that could be included from historical and contemporary perspectives (within psychology and from without) is simply to vast. To get a better idea of this literature, I would refer the reader to Dean K. Simonton’s Genius 101 (see below).

Derrida, J. (2007). Geneses, genealogies, genres, and genius: The secrets of the archive (B. B. Brahic, Trans.). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

  • In this work, Derrida provides a linguistic deconstruction of the term genius. He relates the word to the work of his long-time friend, Hélène Cixous. While not a psychological piece, it is of extreme import to anyone wishing to study the topic from a critical perspective.

Eysenck, H. J. (1995). Genius: The natural history of creativity. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Continue reading Bibliography: Genius

History of Female Madness in the APA Monitor

The Time Capsule section of December issue of the APA Monitor on Psychology features a piece on the history of female madness, which highlights patient voices in nineteenth century debates over sexual surgeries. The article, authored by Laura Ball and Jennifer Bazar (far right and far left), is based in part on a presentation they were part of at APA’s 2009 Annual Convention: “Lusty ladies or Victorian victims: Perspectives on women, madness and sexuality” (see AHP’s previous post on the presentation here). In the article, Ball and Bazar contend that,

To gain insight into why patients selected one treatment over another, a number of factors need to be considered, including the relationship between patients and their physicians during the 19th century; the status of medicine and related professions; the role of politics, the law and shifting societal norms; the influence of friends or family; and the intersections of gender, race, class and other social categories on patient decision-making. This process was very individual and certainly varied depending on which combination of factors influenced the particular person most.

You can find the full article here. The History of Science Society Newsletter article on “Lusty ladies or Victorian victims” can be found here.

History of Feminist Psychology in PWQ

The most recent issue of the Psychology of Women Quarterly (PWQ), includes two articles on the history of feminist psychology. In “Responsible Opposition, Disruptive Voices: Science, Social Change, and the History of Feminist Psychology” Alexandra Rutherford (left), Kelli Vaughn-Blount, and Laura C. Ball explore the complex relationship between psychologists’ positivist scientific ideals and feminist political projects. The other historically minded article in this issue of PWQ, “Feminism and Women Leaders in SPSSI: Social Networks, Ideology, and Generational Change,” explores the lives of female leaders of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Title, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Responsible Opposition, Disruptive Voices: Science, Social Change, and the History of Feminist Psychology” by Alexandra Rutherford, Kelli Vaughn-Blount, and Laura C. Ball. The abstract reads:

Feminist psychology began as an avowedly political project with an explicit social change agenda. However, over the last two decades, a number of critics have argued that feminist psychology has become mired in an epistemological impasse where positivist commitments effectively mute its political project, rendering the field acceptable to mainstream psychology yet shorn of its transformative vision. In this article, we explore the complexity of allying positivism with a transformative project using two illustrative examples from feminist psychology’s history. Both Naomi Weisstein, whose work was catalytic in the creation of feminist psychology in the 1970s, and Ethel Tobach, who has consistently fought against sexism, racism, and other forms of injustice as both scientist and citizen, have remained committed to the scientific ideal without losing sight of their political projects. Continue reading History of Feminist Psychology in PWQ