The stellar Remedia blog has featured a piece by De Montfort University Photographic History Research Center fellow Beatriz Pichel called The Backstage of Hysteria: Medicine in the Photographic Studio. In it, the introduction and development of medically oriented photography at Salpêtrière is surveyed, inverting the focus of from analyses of the produced images to the production thereof. Through emphasis on how “medical priorities, as well as the materiality and technical requirements of the photographic equipment, determined the kind of images taken, and the places in which they were taken,” Pichel the processes of mediation by which supporting evidence for medical theory were created. See here to read the article.
On September 24 the University of Milano-Bicocca (Polo Historical Archive (PAST)), in collaboration with the Historical Archive of Italian Psychology (The Center ASPI), is hosting a seminar titled Fotografia e scienze della mente tra storia, rappresentazione e terapia (Photography and Mind Sciences History: Representation and Therapy).
The workshop will include talks on the role of photography in the works of Jean-Martin Charcot; the photo archive from Cesare Lombroso’s museum of criminal anthropology; the photographic story of 40 years at the Italian asylum Uliano Lucas; and the use of photo-art therapy as a means of investigation and treatment of mental disorders.
The meeting has been organized by Daniela Scala and will be held from 3:00 to 6:00 pm at Villa Di Breme Oven, Via Martinelli 23 in Cinisello Balsamo (MI).
Click here for the full program.
The most recent issue of History of Psychiatry (June 2008, Vol. 19, No. 2) features an paper about Jean-Étienne-Dominique Esquirol written by Rafael Huertas.
Esquirol (1772-1840) is best known for being Philippe Pinel’s student and successor at la Salpêtrière in Paris as well as the author of the 1838 book Des Maladies mentales (see vol. 1, vol. 2). In addition, as Huertas puts it:
“His effort in introducing the Law on Alienated Persons of 1838 is, unquestionably, one of his major contributions to the history of psychiatric care. However, from a clinical perspective, he is considered to have merely continued and extended the paradigm imposed by his mentor Pinel (1745-1826)” (p. 123).