Tag Archives: social history

August Roundup: journal issues on related subjects

You’ll find a range of relevant works this month in periodical publications near and dear to our subject. Among the usual suspects are History of the Human Sciences, History of Psychiatry, and Social History of Medicine.

HHS includes interesting pieces about interactions between American and German eugenicists during the interwar period, methodological suggestions for conducting histories of ‘the self,’ and mid-century Argentinian sociology and American imperialism. History of Psychiatry offers a piece that questions established narratives which have associated the decline in LSD therapy with prohibitive regulation, a survey of theories under the theory of mind umbrella, a history of the use of graphology in German psychiatry through 1930, an examination of the problematization of sexual appetite in the DSM, and a history of the use of European psychiatric hospitals by the Ottoman Empire (and the repatriation of mentally-ill Ottoman subjects from European countries). Not least, in the Soc Hist of Med, there’s a piece on the use of physical treatments by British military psychiatry during WWII, and also one on the hybrid forms of African-Amerindian-European healing practices employed by enslaved African healers during the colonization of the interior of Brazil.

Find the links to each article and their abstracts below, after the jump.

Continue reading August Roundup: journal issues on related subjects

Sex Historian profiled in University Affairs

Dr Angus McLarenAngus McLaren has written books about the emergence of the serial killer, medical ethics, abortion, and the history of contraception and eugenics. But it is his most recent works — Sexual Blackmail: A Modern History (Harvard, 2002) and Impotence: A Cultural History (Chicago, 2007) — that led him to be profiled in this month’s issue of University Affairs, 50(3).

“I am always fascinated with the question, why? Why should that custom arise? What function did that form of sympathetic magic serve in society? Why was it believed?” And many times, the questions cannot be answered or understood by us in the modern day without the context of the societal relationships and power structures of the earlier time. “I am always saying the past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.”

It is this approach, and his prodigious publishing record, that led to his winning the prestigious $50,000 Canada Council/Molson Prize. But how did he do it? Continue reading Sex Historian profiled in University Affairs

Does History require a variety of Contextualism?

John GrecoIn the July issue of The Philosophical Quarterly, 58(232), John Greco asks: “What’s wrong with Contextualism?” His discussion connects with one of AHP‘s recurring themes — the doing of history — in several interesting ways. In particular, his essay will be of special relevance to those interested in writing intellectual histories.

…the present thesis is that knowledge attributions are a kind of credit attribution, and that credit attributions in general involve causal explanations: to say that a person S is creditable for some state of affairs A, is to say that S’s agency is salient in an explanation regarding how or why A came about. (pp. 419-420)

In other words, claims about past intellectual achievements require an explanation detailing how those achievements were achieved. It is insufficient merely to state, for example, that al-Tabari invented “psychotherapy” (here and here). Rather, the invention must be presented alongside a description of the context in which such a thought became thinkable (previously discussed at AHP here). Continue reading Does History require a variety of Contextualism?