Tag Archives: Leipzig

New HoP: Sandor Rado on Bisexuality, Psych and Social Engineering in 20th c. America, & Behavior Therapy in France

Sandor Rado

The August 2017 issue of History of Psychology is now available. Articles in this issue discuss psychoanalyst Sandor Rado’s influential views on bisexuality, American attitudes toward psychology, technology, and social engineering in the 20th century, and the difficult reception of behavior therapy in France. Full details below.

“Sandor Rado, American psychoanalysis, and the question of bisexuality,” by Tontonoz, Matthew. Abstract:

The Hungarian-born physician and psychoanalyst Sandor Rado (1890–1972), who practiced for most of his career in the United States, played a central role in shaping American psychoanalysts’ views toward homosexuality. Historians have pointed to Rado’s rejection of Freud’s notion of constitutional bisexuality as the key theoretical maneuver that both pathologized homosexuality and inspired an optimistic approach to its treatment. Yet scholarly analysis of the arguments that Rado made for his rejection of bisexuality is lacking. This article seeks to provide that analysis, by carefully reviewing and evaluating Rado’s arguments by the standards of his own day. Because one of Rado’s main arguments is that bisexuality is an outdated concept according to modern biology, I consider what contemporary biologists had to say on the topic. The work of behavioral endocrinologist Frank Beach (1911–1988) is important in this context and receives significant attention here. Rado ultimately distanced himself from Beach’s behavioral endocrinology, appealing instead to evolutionary discourse to buttress his claim that homosexuality is pathological. This tactic allowed him to refashion psychoanalysis into a moralistic discipline, one with closer ties to a medical school.

“B. F. Skinner and technology’s nation: Technocracy, social engineering, and the good life in 20th-century America,” by Rutherford, Alexandra. Abstract: Continue reading New HoP: Sandor Rado on Bisexuality, Psych and Social Engineering in 20th c. America, & Behavior Therapy in France

Leipzig departmental history translated

As part of the University of Leipzig’s 600th anniversary celebrations, Julika Habekost has translated the departmental history from the original German into English.  The result provides an insider’s perspective on the standard institutional history from one of Psychology’s earliest hubs.

Experimental research on the overlapping disciplines of psychology and physiology commenced because of Ernst Heinrich Weber (1795-1878), at the University of Leipzig. Since Weber’s studies laid the foundation for the evolution of experimental psychology, Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) would refer to Weber as the “Founding Father of Psychology.” Gustav Theodor Fechner (1801-1887), who had been a member of the Department of Philosophy since 1823, lectured on moral and natural philosophy starting in 1846, on psychophysics in 1857 and on experimental aesthetics in 1864. He had seen his concept of psychophysiological law confirmed in Weber’s discovery that differential change in perception was constant. Fechner coined the term Weber-Fechner law and acknowledged thereby Weber’s contribution to the foundation of psychophysics.

The middle section then focusses on Wundt and his students.  The final section outlines the history of the department after Wundt’s departure in 1917.

Since I do not read German, it would be nice to hear from a reader who can compare the new translation with the original.  Specifically, is there anything missing in the English version?  (Are there any errors?)