Doctoral position in History of Psychology and “Psy” disciplines – Université de Lausanne

Doctoral position 80-100%

History of Psychology

LARPSYDIS, Institut de Psychologie, Faculté des Sciences sociales et politiques

Prof. Rémy Amouroux


Master’s degree in Psychology, History and/or Philosophy

Desired profile:

A strong interest in history of psychology and more broadly in history of the “psy disciplines” (psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis):

  • Strong interest in research and teaching in history of psychology
  • Strong interest in archives
  • The ability to conduct research independently
  • Good knowledge of French is valued

Description of work tasks:

  • Research: Writing of a PhD thesis (50%)
  • Teaching: Involvement in teaching program (40%)
  • Administration: Involvement in administrative tasks (10%)

Taking of office: 01.09.2014 or soon thereafter

Contract duration: renewable up to a total duration of 5 years

Application:  Please send your application including an application letter detailing your motivation (1), your Curriculum Vitae (2), your master’s thesis (3), and a 2-3-page document that describes your PhD research interest (4), to Rémy Amouroux ( before 30 May 2014. 

Deadline for application: 30 May 2014


To see the link to the original French posting, click here.

New issue of “Isis”

675547.coverA new issue of Isis is available online. The March issue 2014 has a focus on “Neurohistory and History of Science” that may interest readers of h-madness. All the articles of this thematic section can be downloaded for free.

Neuroscience, Neurohistory, and the History of Science: A Tale of Two Brain Images by Steve Fuller

This essay introduces a Focus section on “Neurohistory and History of Science” by distinguishing images of the brain as governor and as transducer: the former treat the brain as the executive control center of the body, the latter as an interface between the organism and reality at large. Most of the consternation expressed in the symposium about the advent of neurohistory derives from the brain-as-governor conception, which is rooted in a “biologistic” understanding of humanity that in recent years has become bound up in various nefarious “neoliberal” political and economic agendas. However, given the sophisticated attitude that neurohistory’s leading champion, Daniel Smail, displays toward evolutionary theory’s potential impact on historical practice, he is perhaps better understood as part of the brain-as-transducer tradition. This tradition, largely suppressed in current representations of neuroscience, has a strong theological provenance, ultimately concerned with our becoming attuned to the divine frequency, not least by extending the powers of the human nervous system through technology. This essay sympathetically explores the implications of this perspective for historical practice.

Neurohistory in Action: Hoarding and the Human Past by Daniel Lord Smail

A neurohistorical approach begins with the principle that the human brain is relatively plastic and therefore continuously open to developmental and cultural influences. This does not mean that we should treat the brain as a blank slate. Instead, such influences, as they interact with given brain/body systems, can generate unpredictable forward-acting effects. The phenomenon of compulsive hoarding offers a case study of a historically or culturally situated behavior that can be approached in this way. Hoarding appears to be correlated with cognitive lesions or genetic predispositions. Yet although the behavior is very visible today, there is little evidence for the practice in the human past, suggesting that something has triggered the growing prevalence of the phenomenon. Using the coevolutionary approach intrinsic to environmental history, we can treat the rise of compulsive hoarding as an emergent phenomenon generated by the unpredictable ways in which cognitive and endocrinological systems have interacted with a changing material environment. The results of this inquiry suggest not only why history needs cognitive neuroscience but also why neuroscience needs history.

History and Neuroscience: An Integrative Legacy by Stephen T. Casper

The attitudes that characterize the contemporary “neuro-turn” were strikingly commonplace as part of the self-fashioning of social identity in the biographies and personal papers of past neurologists and neuroscientists. Indeed, one fundamental connection between nineteenth- and twentieth-century neurology and contemporary neuroscience appears to be the value that workers in both domains attach to the idea of integration, a vision of neural science and medicine that connected reductionist science to broader inquiries about the mind, brain, and human nature and in so doing supposedly resolved once and for all questions germane to the human sciences, humanities, and arts. How those attitudes were produced and reproduced first in neurology and then in neuroscience; in what way they were constructed and disciplined, thereby eventuating in the contested sciences and medicines of the mind, brain, and nervous system; and even how they garnered ever-wider contemporary purchase in cultures and societies are thus fascinating problems for historians of science and medicine. Such problems shed light on ethics, practices, controversies, and the uneasy social relations within those scientific and medical domains. But more to the point of this essay: they also account for the apparent epistemological weight now accorded “the neuro” in our contemporary moment. They thus illuminate in a rather different way why historians have suddenly discovered the value of “the neuro.”

Neurohistory Is Bunk?: The Not-So-Deep History of the Postclassical Mind by Max Stadler

The proliferation of late of disciplines beginning in “neuro”—neuroeconomics, neuroaesthetics, neuro–literary criticism, and so on—while welcomed in some quarters, has drawn a great deal of critical commentary as well. It is perhaps natural that scholars in the humanities, especially, tend to find these “neuro”-prefixes irritating. But by no means all of them: there are those humanists (evidently) who discern in this trend a healthy development that has the potential of “revitalizing” the notoriously bookish humanities. Neurohistory (or “deep” history) is a case in point, typically being dismissed (if registered at all) by historians while finding more sympathetic consideration elsewhere. While it sides with the former position, this essay attempts to develop a more complex picture. It will suggest that defiant humanists may underestimate the extent to which they are already participating in a culture profoundly tuned toward a quasi-naturalistic construction of the mind/brain as an embodied, situated, and distributed thing. The roots of this construction will be traced into the popular, academic, and technological discourses that began to surround the “user” in the 1980s, with special emphasis on the concomitant assault on “cognitivism.” What is more, the very same story—insofar as it demonstrates the complicity of the “postclassical” mind with our own man-made and “digital” age—will serve to complicate the neuro-optimists’ vision of human nature exposed by a new kind of science.

Neural Veils and the Will to Historical Critique: Why Historians of Science Need to Take the Neuro-Turn Seriously by Roger Cooter

Taking the neuro-turn is like becoming the victim of mind parasites. It’s unwilled (although there are those who will it at a superficial level for various strategic reasons). You can’t see mind parasites; they make you think things without allowing you to know why you think them. Indeed, they generate the cognitive inability to be other than delighted with the circumstances of your affected cognition. It’s not as if you can take off your thinking cap and shoo the pests away. You can’t see them—or even know that you could want to. You can’t stand on the outside looking in at your cognitive processes. But historically speaking, you are also inside a (broadly postmodern) culture and (broadly neoliberal) socioeconomic order that places the legitimacy of the neuro beyond critique. And the neuro-turn does more: it delegitimizes critique itself, at least as we have known it since Marx. This essay briefly explores how we got here, what the “here” is, and what its implications are for historical critique.

New issue of “Social History of Medicine”

2.coverA new issue of Social History of Medicine is available online. The May issue 2014 contains following articles that may interest readers of h-madness.

Madness and Sexual Psychopathies as the Magnifying Glass of the Normal: Italian Psychiatry and Sexuality c.1880–1910 by Chiara Beccalossi

By focusing on Italian psychiatric debates about sexual inversion this article shows how Italian psychiatrists came to argue that there was no clear-cut boundary between normal sexual behaviour and sexual perversion, and traces the debates and fields of knowledge that contributed to the development of such a position. First, it shows how French psychiatry shaped Italian views on sexual psychopathies. Second, it demonstrates that in Italy, psychiatric research on so-called sexual psychopathies was from its inception part of a wider debate about the blurred boundary between sanity and insanity. Third, it reveals how sexologists embraced various theories of evolution, which implied that sexual perversions were latent in any normal individual. The article argues that despite the fact that in Italy same-sex desires were pathologised in the last three decades of the nineteenth century, historical accounts that emphasise such a pathologisation obscure psychiatric positions that endeavoured to normalise same-sex desires.

The Rise of Child Psychiatry in Portugal: An Intimate Social and Political History, 1915–1959 by Angela Marques Filipe

In recent decades, the study of the history of medicine and psychiatry has grown and interest has been developed in the particular social and institutional configuration of fields such as child psychiatry. That historical literature has, however, accounted mainly for the Anglo-American world and a research gap persists with regard to other national contexts. Drawing on a historiography of medical archives in Portugal, this paper aims to analyse the social, institutional and political conditions behind the rise of child psychiatry. Such an analysis will inquire into the international, national and local factors that played a part in that historical process and suggests a periodisation beginning in 1915, when the Medical-Pedagogic Institute was first created, and concluding in 1959, when ‘child neuropsychiatry’ was finally recognised by the Portuguese Medical Board.

Heroes and Hysterics: ‘Partisan Hysteria’ and Communist State-building in Yugoslavia after 1945 by Ana Antić

This article investigates a novel type of war neurosis defined by Yugoslav psychiatrists in the aftermath of the Second World War. This uniquely Yugoslav war trauma—‘partisan hysteria’—was diagnosed exclusively in Communist resistance soldiers—partisans—and did not manifest itself in the form of battle exhaustion or anxiety, as was the case in other armies. Rather, it demonstrated a heightened willingness to fight, and consisted of simulations of wartime battles. Yugoslav psychiatrists argued that ‘partisan hysteria’ most frequently affected uneducated and immature partisans, who were given important political responsibilities but experienced severe trauma due to their own inadequacy. I argue that ‘partisan hysteria’ served as an opportunity for upper-middle-class psychiatric professionals to criticise the increasing upward social mobility after the socialist revolution of 1945. Surprisingly, this touched upon an issue that had already provoked deep disquiet within the Communist Party, and resonated with the Party’s own concerns regarding social mobility.

You can download this last article for free. Click here.

Psychophatie und Psychopathologisierung in urbanen und provinziellen öffentlichen Räumen um 1900

Screenshot from 2014-04-27 14:19:15Donnerstag, 22. Mai 2014

15:00 Uhr Heinz-Peter Schmiedebach (Hamburg/München): Begrüßung und Einführung

15:50 Uhr Kai Sammet (Hamburg): Wozu man die Schizophrenie gebrauchen kann: Semantik, Pragmatik, Öffentlichkeit(en), ca. 1910 bis 1930

16:40 Uhr Kaffeepause

17:10 Uhr Felicitas Söhner (Ulm): Zwischen häuslicher Versorgung und Einweisung in die Klink. Begründungszusammenhänge und Motive ländlicher und städtischer Familienfürsorge im frühen 20. Jahrhundert
18:00 Uhr Thomas Müller (Ravensburg): Rückführung des Irren in die Gesellschaft? Außerklinische Versorgungsformen und Behandlungsorte des Wahnsinns (ca. 1850–1914)

Freitag, 23. Mai 2014

9:00 Uhr Marietta Meier (Zürich) Auf der Kippe. Spannungskonzepte in der klassischen Moderne
9:50 Uhr Thomas Beddies (Berlin) „In den Symptomen des Niedergangs, über die sich so viele entrüstet haben, habe ich nichts erblicken können als Krankheitserscheinungen.“ Profilierung und Positionierung deutscher Psychiater nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg

10:40 Uhr Kaffeepause
11:10 Uhr Urs Germann (Olten/Bern) Umstrittene Grenzen: Psychopathie zwischen Medizin und Justiz. Zur inter-institutionellen Stabilisierung des Psychopathiekonzepts in der Schweiz um 1900
12:00 Uhr Stefan Wulf (Hamburg) Morphinismus, Kokainismus, Heroinismus – Anmerkungen zum Konstrukt der “Psychopathie“ im psychiatrischen Drogendiskurs der 1920er Jahre

14:30 Uhr Sonja Mählmann/Cornelius Borck (Lübeck) Der Querulantenwahn – oder wie die Psychiatrie zu ihrem Recht kam
15:20 Uhr Rupert Gaderer (Bochum) Krach in der Provinz/ Weimar um 1900
16:10 Uhr Volker Roelcke (Gießen) Kommentar
16:55 Uhr Kaffeepause
17:25 Uhr Julie Clauss/Christian Bonah (Strasbourg) In der Provinz und in der Hauptstadt: Der in der psychiatrischen Klinik hospitalisierte Wahnsinn im Vergleich: Strasbourg – Berlin von 1900 bis 1930
18:15 Uhr Volker Hess/Chantal Marazia (Berlin/Strasbourg) Inside/Outside. Die Klientel der Poliklinik im Vergleich zu den stationären Patienten am Beispiel Berlin und Strasbourg um 1900

Samstag, 25. Mai 2014
9:00 Uhr Rainer Herrn (Berlin): Sexualwissenschaft und Psychiatrie
9:50 Uhr Gabriele Dietze (Berlin):  „Heller Wahn“. Echoräume zwischen psychiatrischen „Genie- und Wahnsinnsdiskursen“ und künstlerischen Avantgarden der Moderne um die Jahrhundertwende
10:40 Uhr Kaffeepause
11:10 Uhr Flurin Condrau (Zürich)/ Brigitta Bernet (Zürich)
Kommentare und Abschlussdiskussion

Donnerstag, 22. Mai 2014 – Samstag, 24. Mai 2014

Historisches Kolleg, Kaulbachstr. 15, 80539 München

For more information, click here.

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

2.coverA new issue of Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Studies is available online. The April issue 2014 contains following articles that may interest readers of h-madness.

Anita Magowska, The Unwanted Heroes: War Invalids in Poland after World War I

This article focuses on the unique and hitherto unknown history of disabled ex-servicemen and civilians in interwar Poland. In 1914, thousands of Poles were conscripted into the Austrian, Prussian, and Russian armies and forced to fight against each other. When the war ended and Poland regained independence after more than one hundred years of partition, the fledgling government was unable to provide support for the more than three hundred thousand disabled war victims, not to mention the many civilians left injured or orphaned by the war. The vast majority of these victims were ex-servicemen of foreign armies, and were deprived of any war compensation. Neither the Polish government nor the impoverished society could meet the disabled ex-servicemen’s medical and material needs; therefore, these men had to take responsibility for themselves and started cooperatives and war-invalids-owned enterprises. A social collaboration between Poland and America, rare in Europe at that time, was initiated by the Polish community in the United States to help blind ex-servicemen in Poland.

Matthew Oram, Efficacy and Enlightenment: LSD Psychotherapy and the Drug Amendments of 1962

The decline in therapeutic research with lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in the United States over the course of the 1960s has commonly been attributed to the growing controversy surrounding its recreational use. However, research difficulties played an equal role in LSD psychotherapy’s demise, as they frustrated researchers’ efforts to clearly establish the efficacy of treatment. Once the Kefauver Harris Drug Amendments of 1962 introduced the requirement that proof of efficacy be established through controlled clinical trials before a drug could be approved to market, the value of clinical research became increasingly dependent on the scientific rigor of the trial’s design. LSD psychotherapy’s complex method of utilizing drug effects to catalyze a psychological treatment clashed with the controlled trial methodology on both theoretical and practical levels, making proof of efficacy difficult to obtain. Through a close examination of clinical trials performed after 1962, this article explores how the new emphasis on controlled clinical trials frustrated the progress of LSD psychotherapy research by focusing researchers’ attention on trial design to the detriment of their therapeutic method. This analysis provides a new perspective on the death of LSD psychotherapy and explores the implications of the Drug Amendments of 1962.

Edgar Jones, Neuro Psychiatry 1943: The Role of Documentary Film in the Dissemination of Medical Knowledge and Promotion of the U.K. Psychiatric Profession

In 1943, Basil Wright produced a documentary film about the treatment of servicemen and civilians with psychological disorders at Mill Hill Emergency Medical Service Hospital. Funded by the Ministry of Information, Neuro Psychiatry was shot to convince influential clinicians and policy makers in North America that the British had developed expertise in the management of psychiatric casualties. By emphasizing novel and apparently effective interventions and excluding severe or intractable cases from the film, Wright encouraged an optimistic sense of achievement. Filmed at a time when victory was considered an eventual outcome, the picture presented a health service to which all had access without charge. Children and unemployed women, two groups excluded under the 1911 National Insurance Act, had been required to pay for healthcare in the prewar period and were shown receiving free treatment from the Emergency Medical Service. However, the therapeutic optimism presented in the film proved premature. Most U.K. battle casualties arose in the latter half of the conflict and follow-up studies failed to confirm the positive outcome statistics reported in the film. Aubrey Lewis, clinical director of the hospital, criticized research projects conducted at Mill Hill for a lack of rigor. The cinematographic skills of Wright and director Michael Hankinson, together with their reformist agenda, created a clinical presentation that emphasized achievements without acknowledging the limitations not only of the therapies offered by doctors but also the resources available to a nation at war.


Announcement: After Freud Left wins book prize


The University of Chicago Press book, After Freud Left: A Century of Psychoanalysis in America, with contributions by Jean-Christophe Agnew, Ernst Falzeder, Elizabeth Lunbeck, George Makari, Louis Menand, Dorothy Ross, Sonu Shamdasani, Richard Skues, and Hale Usak-Sahin, edited by John Burnham, has won the Courage to Dream book prize of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

New book – “Trials of Passion: Crimes in the Name of Love and Madness” (Lisa Appignanesi)

This book journeys into the heart of dark passions and the crimes they impel. When passion is in the picture, what is criminal, what sane, what mad or simply bad? Brighton, 1870: A well-respected spinster infuses chocolate creams with strychnine in order to murder her lover’s wife. Paris, 1880: A popular performer stalks her betraying lover through the streets of the city for weeks and finally takes aim. New York, 1906: A millionaire shoots dead a prominent architect in full view of a theatre audience. Through court and asylum records, letters and newspaper accounts, this book brings to life a period when the psychiatric professions were consolidating their hold on our understanding of what is human. An increasingly popular press allowed the public unprecedented insight into accounts of transgressive sexuality, savage jealousy and forbidden desires. With great story-telling flair, Lisa Appignanesi teases out the vagaries of passion and the clashes between the law and the clinic as they stumble towards a (sometimes reviled) collaboration. Sexual etiquette and class roles, attitudes to love, madness and gender, notions of respectability and honour, insanity and lunacy, all are at play in that vital forum in which public opinion is shaped – the theatre of the courtroom.

Lisa Appignanesi is a prize-winning writer, novelist, broadcaster and cultural commentator.  A Visiting Professor at King’s College London, she is former President of the campaigning writers association, English PEN, and Chair of London’s Freud Museum.  She will be taking part in the Swindon Literature Festival next month. For more information, see the festival website.

For a recent review of Trials of Passion in The Telegraph, click here.


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