AHP‘s special sneak peak into the forthcoming November issue of History of Psychology (HoP) continues with an interview with Paul Croce, Professor of American Studies at Stetson University. (Previously featured on AHP, as part of this sneak peak, was an interview with David Robinson in celebration of Fechner Day.)
In the November issue of HoP, Stetson, President of the William James Society, reviews a century of research on William James and his work to mark the centenary of James’s death. AHP asked Stetson about his work on James and about what readers can expect to find in his HoP article.
AHP: How did you first become interested in William James?
PC: I was fortunate to have had a graduate education in an interdisciplinary field, American Studies. I would run into William James in each of my areas of interest: in the history of psychology, he was a founder of the scientific turn of the discipline; in philosophy, he was the most articulate of pragmatism’s founders; in religious studies, he “redrew the map” for thinking about religion in psychological terms; in cultural and intellectual history, he bridged academic and public discourse, and was even one of the first Americans to refer to “intellectuals” as a social class (“Social Value of the College Bred,” 1907, Essays Comments, and Reviews, p. 110).
Reading the scholarship on James, however, revealed a strange split: theorists of his psychology, philosophy, and religious thought paid little attention to his life and contexts, and biographers and historians told stories of his deep youthful crisis and impulsive personality often without reference to his theorizing. As a historian, I wondered about the connections between these strands of research: how did a person with such troubles produce an array of interesting and influential ideas? Continue reading Interview with Paul Croce on William James