New Issue of Journal of the History of the Neuroscience

njhn20.v023.i04.coverThe latest issue of the Journal of the History of the Neuroscience contains numerous articles that may interest the readers of h-madness.

“A Transnational Perspective on Psychosurgery: Beyond Portugal and the United States,” by Brianne M. Collinsa & Henderikus J. Stam. The abstract reads,

The history of psychosurgery is most often recounted as a narrative wherein Portuguese and American physicians play the leading role. It is a traditional narrative in which the United States and, at times, Portugal are central in the development and spread of psychosurgery. Here we largely abandon the archetypal narrative and provide one of the first transnational accounts of psychosurgery to demonstrate the existence of a global psychosurgical community in which more than 40 countries participated, bolstered, critiqued, modified and heralded the treatment. From its inception in 1935 until its decline in the mid-1960s, psychosurgery was performed on almost all continents. Rather than being a phenomenon isolated to the United States and Portugal, it became a truly transnational movement.

“Phantoms in Artists: The Lost Limbs of Blaise Cendrars, Arthur Rimbaud, and Paul Wittgenstein,” by Laurent Tatu, Julien Bogousslavsky & François Boller. The abstract reads,

There have been an increasing number of reports of postamputation pain and problems linked to phantom limbs over recent years, particularly in relation to war-related amputations. These problems, which are often poorly understood and considered rather mysterious, are still relevant because they are difficult to treat medically. Functional neuroimaging techniques now enable us to better understand their pathophysiology and to consider new rehabilitation techniques. Phantom limbs have often been a source of inspiration to writers, particularly in the period following the First World War, which was responsible for thousands of amputees. Some artists have suffered from postamputation complications themselves and have expressed them through their artistic works. Blaise Cendrars (1887–1961), one of the greatest authors of the twentieth century, suffered from stump pain and phantom limb phenomena for almost half a century following the amputation of his right arm during the First World War. He suffered from these phenomena until the end of his life and his literary work and personal correspondence are peppered with references to them. Arthur Rimbaud (1854–1891), one of the most famous poets in world literature, developed severe stump pain after his right leg was amputated due to a tumor. He survived for only six months after the procedure but left behind an account of the pain he experienced in correspondence to his family. The famous pianist Paul Wittgenstein (1887–1961), whose right arm was amputated during the First World War, became a famous left-handed concert pianist. The phantom movements of his right hand helped him to develop the dexterity of his left hand. The impact on the artistic life of these three men provides an original illustration of the various postamputation complications, specifically phantom limbs, stump pain, and moving phantom.

“Jirí Procháska (1749–1820): Part 1: A Significant Czech Anatomist, Physiologist and Neuroscientist of the Eighteenth Century,” by Alexandr Chvátal. The abstract reads,

Jirí (George) Procháska (1749–1820), a Czech anatomist, physiologist, and neuroscientist of the eighteenth century, ranks among the major figures of Czech and European cultural history. The works of Jirí Procháska, due to historical circumstances, were published mostly in Latin and only some in German. However, given that only one treatise was partially translated into English, the results of his extensive research activities are currently unavailable to the international scientific community. The achievements of Jirí Procháska undoubtedly belong to the major intellectual heritage of European science and certainly deserve attention as such, although his research reflected the time in which he lived and therefore has been reevaluated by later researchers. Undoubtedly, it is our duty not only to remember the work and legacy of Jirí Procháska, which significantly influenced the development of our knowledge, but also to try to critically assess his contribution in terms of today. This article surveys the important biographical events of Jirí Procháska’s life, taking into account the significance of his research.

“Matters of Sex and Gender in F. J. Gall’s Organology: A Primary Approach,” by Tabea Cornel. The abstract reads,

The originator of phrenology, F. J. Gall (1758–1828), saw himself as a natural scientist and physiologist. His approach consisted of brain anatomy but also of palpating skulls and inferring mental faculties. Unlike some of the philosophical principles underlying Gall’s work, his conception of sex/gender has not yet been examined in detail. In this article, I will focus on Gall’s treatment of men and women, his idea of sex differences, and how far an assumed existence of dichotomous sexes influenced his work. In examining his primary writings, I will argue that Gall held some contradictory views concerning the origin and manifestation of sex/gender characteristics, which were caused by the collision of his naturalistic ideas and internalized gender stereotypes. I will conclude that Gall did not aim at deducing or legitimizing sex/gender relations scientifically, but that he tried to express metaphysical reasons for a given social order in terms of functional brain mechanisms.

“Differentiation between Seizure and Hysteria in a Tenth-Century Persian Text: Hid?yat of al-Akhawayni (d. 983 AD),” by Hassan Yarmohammadi, Behnam Dalfardi, Ahmad Ghanizadeh, & Milad Hosseinialhashemi. The abstract reads,

Although hysteria is associated largely with the nineteenth century, we find the subject treated in a tenth-century Persian medical text, the Hidayat al-Muta`allemin Fi al-Tibb [A Guide to Medical Learners] by al-Akhawayni Bukhari (d. 983 AD), a prominent physician in the Persian history of medicine. In this article, we discuss al-Akhawayni’s views on seizure and hysteria and his differentiation between the two conditions, and we place it in a historical context.

Found on Advances in the History of Psychology.

New editors of the History of the Human Sciences

Screenshot from 2014-10-15 20:14:13HISTORY OF THE HUMAN SCIENCES aims to expand our understanding of the human world through a broad interdisciplinary approach. The journal publishes articles from a wide range of fields – including sociology, psychology,  psychiatry, anthropology, political science, philosophy, literary theory and criticism, critical theory, art history, linguistics, and the law – that engage with the histories of these disciplines and the interactions between them.  The journal is especially concerned with research that reflexively examines its own historical origins and interdisciplinary influences in an effort to review current practice and to develop new research directions. 

James Good, the editor of History of the Human Sciences for 15 years, will be stepping down at the end of 2014. The incoming editors are: Dr Felicity Callard (Durham University) [Editor-in-Chief], Dr Rhodri Hayward  (Queen Mary University of London), Dr Angus Nicholls (Queen Mary University of London). They have assumed responsibility for new submissions since 1 July 2014.  Dr Chris Millard   (Queen Mary University of London) takes over as the new Book Reviews Editor. The journal also welcomes the following new members to the Advisory Editorial Board: Dr Sabine Arnaud, Prof Cornelius Borck, Prof Jamie Cohen-Cole, Prof Stefanos Geroulanos, Prof Sarah Igo, Prof Junko Kitanaka, Prof Rebecca Lemov, Prof Michael Pettit, Dr Chris Renwick, Dr Sadiah Qureshi, Prof Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Prof Marianne Sommer, Prof John Tresch, and Dr Neil Vickers.
Each editor is based in a different discipline – geography, history, and literary studies / critical theory – and all have strong cross-disciplinary interests. They look forward to continuing the journal’s rigorous interdisciplinary investigation of the human condition.


The journal provides comprehensive coverage of a range of themes across the human sciences. Special issues and sections have been devoted to:

  • Historians in the Archive
  • Inventing the Psychosocial
  • Foucault Across the Disciplines
  • Neuroscience, Power and Culture
  • Reflexivity in the Human Sciences
  • The New Art History
  • Rhetoric and Science
  • New Developments in the History of Psychology
  • Writing as a Human Science
  • Hans Blumenberg
  • Constructing the Social
  • Identity, Self and Subject
  • Making Sense of Science
  • Identity, Memory and History
  • Who Speaks? The Voice in the Human Sciences


The new editors welcome any enquiries about the journal and suggestions for special issues. Please write to:

Felicity Callard

Rhodri Hayward

More information is available at the journal’s website (

Documentary on Alfred Binet

Screenshot from 2014-10-11 17:40:25Philippe Tomine and Alexandre Klein have realised a documentary on Alfred Binet. A public presentation is organized October 15, 2014 at 5 pm in the amphitheater Lucien Cuénot at the Museum-Aquarium of Nancy (entry rue Godron) in the presence of the two authors. The film can also be visioned under this link.

Mad Studies to replace (history of) psychiatry?

Screenshot from 2014-10-11 09:58:09In a recent article, the Guardian presented Mad Matters, a Canadian movement that pleads for taking into account “the lived experience of madness”. Mad Matters brings together academics and “mental health survivors”, among them the well-known historian George Reaume. Kathryn Church, one of the initiator, challenges the way historians are writing over madness:

What we’re trying to do is offer a counterpoint to the history of psychiatry, which is sort of a professional and a disciplinary history, with the lived experience of madness,

The titles of the different classes, h-madness has assembled on the history of psychiatry, show how historians have tried to handle the tensions between “psychiatry”, “madness”, “mental health”, “medicine”….

Conference: “Histories and Theories of the Unconscious” (London, November 2014)

Event Information

Date of Event
Saturday, 22nd November 2014, 10am – 5pm
Last Booking Date for this Event
16th November 2014
Places Available
A day conference on the unconscious mind from its early-modern philosophical origins to its diverse articulations in literature, art and social policy, and its controversial history within the psychoanalytic tradition.
Speakers: Angus Nicholls (Queen Mary UL), Alexandra Bacopoulos-Viau (New York University), Matt Ffytche (University of Essex), Andreas Mayer (Centre A. Koyré, CNRS/EHESS Paris), Madeleine Wood (Queen Mary UL), Sonu Shamdasani (University College London), John Fletcher (University of Warwick), Elsa Richardson (Queen Mary UL), Emma Sutton (University College London), Rhodri Hayward (Queen Mary UL), Arthur Eaton (University College London).For a full conference programme please email conference is sponsored by the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the Centre for the History of the Emotions (QMUL), with the generous financial support of the Wellcome Trust.

For a map and directions, please click here:

PLEASE NOTE: The Arts 2 Building is building number 35 on the campus map. Entrance to Arts 2 is via campus (there is no entrance on the main road!)-please enter via East Gate (Westfield Way) and look for the Novo Burial Ground.

To book tickets to this event, click here.

Book announcement – Les libérés. Mémoires d’un aliéniste, histoire de fous by Ricciotto CANUDO

Screenshot from 2014-10-02 06:36:44The blurb reads

Paru en 1911 pour la première fois, ce roman magistral sur la folie anticipe, avec génie, les mouvements antipsychiatriques. Sa réédition critique offre un regard neuf sur la trajectoire d’un psychiatre atypique qui, refusant d’enfermer ses patients dans des catégories médicales, les soigne par la sexualité et la musique.
Face à la crise de la psychiatrie actuelle, sa réédition a paru nécessaire à Jean Malaurie, directeur de collection, à l’ethnopsychiatre Tobie Nathan et à Anouck Cape.
Les Libérés sont les Mémoires d’un aliéniste révolutionnaire. Conscient de la misère de la psychiatrie dans les années 1900 qui ose livrer les fous à une science sourde et aveugle, Ricciotto Canudo nous fait vivre, dans une écriture très moderne, le quotidien d’un hôpital antipsychiatrique, annonçant avec des accents visionnaires les années 1960 dont il est le précurseur ignoré. Dans ce phalanstère libertaire, ou la sexualité et la musique participent aux pratiques thérapeutiques, s’engage une lutte de pouvoir entre le médecin aliéniste et son patient qui s’achèvera dramatiquement. Nous – les soi-disant bien portants – sommes esclaves de nos préjugés.

For more information, click here.

Séminaire EHESS – Le nouvel esprit de la psychiatrie et de la santé mentale

Logo-EHESS1-150x148Pierre-Henri Castel, Alain Ehrenberg, Nicolas Henckes (CNRS, CERMES3)

45 rue des Saints-Pères, 75270 Paris Cedex 06,

Bâtiment Jacob, 5e étage, Salle des thèses,


14 octobre 2014: Alain Ehrenberg, Les neurosciences cognitives : une anthropologie de l’action, mais laquelle ?
18 novembre 2014: Alain Ehrenberg, Qu’est ce qu’il peut bien avoir dans la tête ? Les mécanismes du social dans la matrice des sciences cognitives
9 décembre 2014: Denis Forest, Les  neurosciences sociales comme programme de recherche : au-delà de la théorie de l’esprit

Les séances suivantes auront lieu les 13 janvier 2015, 10 février 2015, 10 mars 2015, 14 avril 2015, 12 mai 2015. Le séminaire sera clôturé par une journée d’étude qui se déroulera le 5 juin 2015 : Qu’est-ce la maladie mentale ? Entre intentionnalité folle et déficits cognitivo-cérébraux.

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