HooPLa on the history of psychiatry

Image from Christopher Payne's book Asylum

I recently had the opportunity to lead a discussion on the topic of the mental asylum era in the nineteenth century with my supervisor, Christopher Green, and fellow PhD students, Jacy Young and Jeremy Burman, as part of the inaugural episode of a new podcast series called “History of Psychology Laboratory” – or HooPLa! for short. The premise of the series is to discuss a topic from psychology’s past and intersperse our conversation with excerpts from oral interviews conducted with leading researchers in the field. Our first episode is based on interviews that Jacy Young and I carried out this past summer with several noted historians of the institutional era: Andrew Scull, David Wright, and Elizabeth Lunbeck. To these we were able to include an interview Christopher Green had done with historian Gerald Grob. The HooPLa! podcast episode focuses on providing an outline of the mental asylum era by looking at questions such as: What initiated the spread of asylums in the nineteenth century? What was the goal of these institutions? What were the common treatment methods? And What happened to the asylum? Our goal was to present an open discussion of the asylum era geared at undergraduate students or those new to the topic. The new series is an extension of an earlier podcast series produced by Green: “This Week in the History of Psychology” – or TWITHOP. The original series features one-on-one interviews with historians of psychology on select topics from the discipline’s past. These included interviews with Eric Engstrom on Emil Kraepelin’s taxonomy of mental illness; Gerald Grob on the 1963 Community Mental Centers Act; and Raymond Fancher on the topic of Sigmund Freud’s only trip to the United States in 1909; among many others. These episodes – with more to come – are available at the “This Week in the History of Psychology” iTunes page. They are also available at the URL:  http://www.yorku.ca/christo/podcasts/

Jennifer Bazar

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