New issue – History of Psychiatry

The September 2014 issue of History of Psychiatry is now out, and includes the following articles:

Benjamin Lévy
Cheryl McGeachan
Chris Walker
Herman Westerink
Ellen Nakamura

Psychopathological fringes. Historical and social science perspectives on category work in psychiatry

color spectrumDate: 13./14.2.2015
Venue: Berlin, Institute for the History of Medicine, Dahlem
Organization: Nicolas Henckes, Volker Hess, Emmanuel Delille, Marie Reinholdt, Stefan Reinsch, Lara Rzesnitzek,
Contact: stefanie.voth@charite.de

Over the last few years, the revision process of both the DSM and the chapter V on mental disorders of the ICD has stimulated within psychiatry a series of attempts at challenging established diagnostic categories. These challenges reflect both dissatisfaction with categories as they are defined in existing diagnostic classifications, and a will to adjust them to the demands of clinical and research activities. They are expressed in ways that sometimes strongly resembles the discourse of critical social science. For instance, the conveners of the conference “Deconstructing psychosis” – organized by the American Psychiatric Association along with the WHO and the US National Institutes of Health in 2005 – developed a stringent critique of the proliferation of diagnostic categories in the field of psychosis: “Although these categories are meant to refer to broadly defined psychopathological syndromes rather than biologically defined diseases that exist in nature, inevitably they undergo a process of reification and come to be perceived by many as natural disease entities, the diagnosis of which has absolute meaning in terms of causes, treatment, and outcome as well as required sampling frame for scientific research.” (( van Os, J. and C. Tamminga (2007). “Deconstructing psychosis.” Schizophrenia Bulletin 33(4) p. 861. ))
Controversies over diagnostic categorization in fact have a long history in psychiatry. Rejection of diagnosis has long been prominent among certain segments of psychiatry, from Adolf Meyer’s synthesis in interwar US psychiatry through parts of phenomenological psychiatry in Germany to antipsychiatry and Lacanian psychoanalysis in 1970s France. However, the deconstruction of diagnosis has also been a core feature of what might be termed category work in psychiatry, at least since the fall of the unitary psychosis concept in the last quarter of the 19th century. By the notion of category work we understand the multifaceted practices developed by clinicians, epidemiologists, biologists, administrators and patients to negotiate and objectify the boundaries of diagnostic categories. While such practices have mostly been devoted to securing the internal coherence of major categories, the requirements of both research and clinical work have prompted the development of liminal categories meant to target conditions situated between illness and health, or between broader established diagnostic classes. Examples of such categories include prodromal schizophrenia, latent depression as well as “borderline” disorder and a range of personality disorders. Closely related to these constructs are notions of comorbidity and dimensional concepts of diagnostic spectra or continua. In many of these cases, the challenge for psychiatrists has been to devise entities that include in their very definition the possibility of their transitory status. These diagnostic constructs thus convey a paradox: while they question categorical thinking, they are usually framed within the language of categories.
The aim of this workshop is to offer a historical and social science perspective on the history and current status of category work at the fringes of psychopathology. Unlike constructionist perspectives on psychiatric diagnosis that have aimed to demonstrate the less than solid nature of core categories such as depression, schizophrenia and neurosis, we are interested in the already internally contested and marginal categories devised to target conditions situated at the borders of psychopathology. Thus, rather than elaborating on the longstanding debates between “lumpers” and “splitters”, we would like to examine the ways in which psychiatry has developed knowledge and practices to target these conditions.
This workshop has its origins in the German-French research program “Psychiatric Fringes. A historical and sociological investigation of early psychosis in post-war French and German societies” funded by the ANR and the DFG for the period 2012-2014, and it will be an opportunity to discuss results from this research project. We welcome papers on other aspects of the history, the sociology and the anthropology of psychiatry at the fringes of psychopathology that complement our research and might lead to a wider understanding of this work. Papers may explore for instance one or more of the following issues:

  •   The construction of knowledge at the fringes of psychopathology. What knowledge practices have been involved in the creation of categories targeting liminal conditions? What have been the respective roles of epidemiology, biological science, brain imaging, biometrics, and the clinic in the development and objectification of these categories? What have been the practical and ethical implications of such work?
  • Diagnostic practices. Liminal categories have been developed to address specific clinical uncertainties, but they also have raised new ones. What are these, and how are they practically managed by clinicians and patients? What are the specific diagnostic instruments developed by clinicians, and how are these used? What has been the role of psychopathological scales, psychological tests or biological treatments in diagnostic processes?
  • The specific role of patients´ experience in category work. To what extent have patients, as individuals or as organized groups, contributed to shaping categories at the borders of psychopathology?
  • The trajectories of categories. Like the psychiatrists quoted above, we might be tempted to think that categories always end up in some ways reified. Is this always the case? What has been the use of liminal categories in different historical and social contexts? What has been the influence of these contexts on the very definition of such categories?

Interested prospective participants should send a title and a 350-word paper description to Ms. Stefanie Voth: stefanie.voth@charite.de by September 15th. Travel expenses and accommodation in Berlin will be covered by the conference organizers.

New issue of “Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences”

3.coverA new issue of Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences is available online. The July issue 2014 contains the following article that may interest readers of h-madness.

Cadaver Brains and Excesses in Baccho and Venere: Dementia Paralytica in Dutch Psychiatry (1870–1920) by Jessica Slijkhuis and Harry Oosterhuis

This article explores the approach of dementia paralytica by psychiatrists in the Netherlands between 1870 and 1920 against the background of international developments. The psychiatric interpretation of this mental and neurological disorder varied depending on the institutional and social context in which it was examined, treated, and discussed by physicians. Psychiatric diagnoses and understandings of this disease had in part a social–cultural basis and can be best explained against the backdrop of the establishment of psychiatry as a medical specialty and the specific efforts of Dutch psychiatrists to expand their professional domain. After addressing dementia paralytica as a disease and why it drew so much attention in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, this essay discusses how psychiatrists understood dementia paralytica in asylum practice in terms of diagnosis, care, and treatment. Next we consider their pathological–anatomical study of the physical causes of the disease and the public debate on its prevalence and causes.

A Malady of Migration: A theatrical examination of diaspora, displacement and mental disorders in the 19th century

A Malady of Migration

A theatrical examination of diaspora, displacement and mental disorders in the 19th century

At a time when the issues of migration and mental health are seldom out of the news, CHM has worked with Talking Birds and the Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland to develop a new theatre production which explores why the mid-19th century saw a prevalence of mental disorders among Irish migrants.

This follows the successful collaboration with Talking Birds on ‘Trade in Lunacy’ in 2013, and will again use original music, song, humour and sharp characterisations to tell a series of intertwining stories.

The new piece is called ‘A Malady of Migration’ and is based on research being carried out by Professor Hilary Marland of Warwick and Dr Catherine Cox of University College Dublin, in a project called Madness, Migration and the Irish in Lancashire, c.1850-1921, funded by the Wellcome Trust. They are supported by postgraduate students and others, who will conduct supplementary research and take supporting roles in the drama.

Professor Hilary Marland, explains, “This is a chance to showcase our research in a way that is interesting, informative and sensitive, weaving in stories based on patients’ case histories and experiences. The aim is to make the findings of the research available to wider publics and to stimulate thinking and debate about mental illness in the past and present.”

“The performance, based on an insightful and compassionate interpretation of the historical material, reveals both change and continuity in how we view mental illness, its causes and in particular its relationship to displacement, migration, isolation and poverty.”

There will be an expert panel discussion after the Thursday evening performances in each venue and a post performance discussion on Saturday lunchtime, providing opportunities for audience members to discuss the making of the piece with researchers and the theatre company, and to engage in debate on issues raised by the performances. Details of the panellists are on the Expert Panel page – link above and here.

A series of short briefing sheets have been produced to complement the drama and provide background information. These can be accessed from the Background Reading page – link above and here.

Performance dates:

Running time approx. 55 minutes
Coventry:

2 performances a day (lunchtime and evening): Thursday 26th, Friday 27th, Saturday 28th June 2014

Dublin:

2 performances a day (lunchtime and evening): Thursday 3rd, Friday 4th, Saturday 5th July 2014

More about The Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland, University College Dublin

Talking Birds is an extraordinary, award-winning theatre company, renowned for working in unusual spaces. More about Talking Birds theatre company

Coventry:

2 performances a day (lunchtime and evening): Thursday 26th, Friday 27th, Saturday 28th June 2014

Dublin:

2 performances a day (lunchtime and evening): Thursday 3rd, Friday 4th, Saturday 5th July 2014

More details are available here.

 

Call for doctoral position – Globhealth ERC Project

Screenshot from 2014-06-26 13:54:14CERMES3 announces a three-year doctoral fellowship (2014-2017) financed through the European Research Council project GLOBHEALTH, “From international to global: Knowledge and diseases and the post-war government of health”. The PhD will be defended at the EHESS – Paris.

This doctoral research should centre on a critical history of the development of international research on schizophrenia and other severe mental disorders and the central role of WHO, including but not limited to the 25-year WHO international research programme on schizophrenia. It may address the scientific findings and controversies; the relationship of this research to international public health, epidemiology, psychiatry and other branches of medicine; the changing nature of expertise. The project may also focus on more recent history of the incorporation of schizophrenia into global health through new alliances (e.g. NGOs, universities, pharmaceutical markets), metrics (e.g. Global Burden of Disease), and movements for health and human rights. The nature of the project may be historical, anthropological or sociological. However, it should focus on local-global exchanges, particularly in outside Europe and North America. The doctoral project falls into the domain, “Placing mental health on the world health agenda: the globalization of a refractory problem”, one of four to be examined by the ERC programme GLOBHEALTH.

The PhD project will be located at CERMES3, Villejuif/Paris, but will involve on-site research in Geneva (WHO) and possibly sites in Africa or Asia. Supervision will be offered by Jean-Paul Gaudillière (historian) and Anne M. Lovell (medical anthropologist).

Applicants should hold a Masters’ Degree in anthropology or history, but other disciplines will be considered. Some background or interest in mental health, psychiatry, pharmaceuticals or public health is an asset. Good oral, reading and writing skills in English are required; some knowledge of French is preferable.

Applicants should include the following in their application:

  • contact details, including phone number
  • CV (degrees, educational/training experiences, work history, skills, honours/awards, publications)
  • transcripts from university diplomas
  • letter of motivation
  • draft project of 5 to 10 pages. Include: subject, materials, methods, field-site, intended outcomes,
  • dissemination and a 3-year timeline for the project.
  • Sample of writing that applicant deems relevant to the project.
  • Names and contact details of two references

Information on CERMES3 is available through http://www.cermes3.fr.
Description of the ERC Project is accessible through globhealth.vjf.cnrs.fr.
The complete applications to be sent to gaudilli@vjf.cnrs.fr and anne.lovell@parisdescartes.fr
Please indicate “Globalizing Schizophrenia – GLOBHEALTH” in the subject line.
The deadline for applications is July 15, 2014.

The selection will completed at the end July 2014 and the successful candidate is expected to start employment by the end of October 2014.

Fulbright Freud Visiting Scholar of Psychoanalysis, 2015-16

fulbright_logo

 

Fulbright-Freud Visiting Scholar of Psychoanalysis, 2015-16

Deadline: August 1, 2014

Length of Grant: 4 months

Starting Date: October 1, 2015 or March 1, 2016

Location: Sigmund Freud Foundation and Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna

Benefits: This award includes a travel grant of Euro 800, medical and accident insurance, and a monthly stipend of Euro 3,300 per month for four months.

Language: The Austrian Fulbright Commission expects Fulbright-Freud scholars to have a high level of German proficiency, although English may be used as the language of instruction.

Qualifications: Open to associate and full professors. Several years of teaching/lecturing or professional experience in relevant fields of psychoanalysis.

Grant Activity: Conduct research at the Sigmund Freud Foundation in Vienna and teach between one or two courses or seminars on a topic related to the research project at a Viennese host institution. Applicants should explain why their research needs to be conducted in Vienna. Details of teaching assignment are to be arranged by the Sigmund Freud Foundation and the Austrian Fulbright Commission in consultation with grantee.

Specialization(s): human sciences, cultural studies, theory and/or practice of psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic studies, neurosciences in relation to psychoanalysis, arts related to psychoanalysis.

Comments: Applicants must solicit a letter of invitation from the Sigmund Freud Foundation by submitting a curriculum vitae and research/lecturing proposal. Grantee will have a workstation in the library of the Sigmund Freud Museum. Visit http://www.freud-museum.at for more information about the Freud Museum.

Contact person: Dr. Daniela Finzi, Research, Sigmund Freud Foundation, Berggasse 19, A 1090 Vienna; ph. +431 319 15 96 0; fax: +431 317 02 79; e-Mail: office@freud-museum.at.

Dr. Daniela Finzi
Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin
________________________
Sigmund Freud Privatstiftung
Berggasse 19, 1090 Wien
T +43 1 319 15 96-15
F +43 1 317 02 79

d.finzi@freud-museum.at
http://www.freud-museum.at

 

Postdoc in the History of Emotions – University of Melbourne

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (CHE) is a major research initiative with the lead organisation The University of Western Australia, and spread across four other Australian universities, one of which is The University of Melbourne. CHE fosters collaboration between researchers and industry partners from different disciplines and institutions across Australia and internationally.

In collaboration with the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne, the Centre seeks to appoint a postdoctoral research fellow to contribute to research projects in the history of emotions (Europe, 1100-1800). Working together with Professor Charles Zika the successful candidate will develop a project exploring the field of emotions and visual culture, c.1450–1750. The project might focus on such topics as: the impact of religious and political change on the emotional deployment of visual objects in the devotional, ceremonial and festive life of European communities; the passions of iconoclasm as a motor of religious, social or political change; the emotional rhetoric of visual media in advancing propaganda and polemic, legitimating religious and political authority, or stereotyping religious, ethnic or social groups; the emotional use and power of the visual in the missionizing and colonizing of societies, within Europe or abroad.

In addition to publishing his or her own research in this area, the Fellow will collaborate in publications and be involved fully in the life of the Centre. The Fellow will also assist with the co-ordination of relevant symposia and engage in public outreach. There will the opportunity to be involved in research and activities related to an exhibition on art and emotion to be held at the National Gallery of Victoria in 2017. There is an expectation that the postdoctoral fellow will be involved in some Honours/ postgraduate supervision or teaching, but this is primarily a research-only position.

Benefits include 17% superannuation and generous leave provisions; generous funds for research travel; contribution to relocation expenses. These and other benefits will be specified in the offer of employment.

The successful applicant would commence the appointment on 1 December 2014, or as soon as possible after that date.

Close date:   7 July 2014

For more information, visit http://jobs.unimelb.edu.au/caw/en/job/882357/postdoctoral-fellow-arc-centre-of-excellence-for-the-history-of-emotions

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