HSS Annual Meeting

This year’s Annual Meeting of the History of Science Society will take place November 4-7, 2010, in Montréal, Quebec, at the Hyatt Regency Montréal, jointly with the The Twenty-Second Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association. Two particular sessions might be of interest to H-madness readers:

Friday 11/5, 07:30-09:00 PM

Psychology in the 20th Century

Chair: TBD

1. The Birth of Information in the Brain: Edgar Adrian and the Vacuum Tube, Justin Garson, University of Texas, Austin

2. Narratives of the Unconscious: Henry Murray, Literary Interpretation, and the Thematic Apperception Test, Jason Richard Miller, University of California, Los Angeles

3. Hugo Münsterberg, Psychotechnics, and the Psychologizing of Cinema, Jeremy Blatter, Harvard Univeristy

4. “Murderof the Mind?” The Psychosurgery Controversy of the 1970s, Brian Casey, National Institute of Health

Sunday 10/7, 10:00-12:00 PM

Gendering the Human Brain: Science, Language, and Sex Difference in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Chair: Carla Bittel, Loyola Marymount University

Organizer: Kimberly Hamlin, Miami University of Ohio

1. Woman, Know Thyself: Gender, Phrenology, and the Female Brain, Carla J. Bittel, Loyola Marymount University

2. Helen Hamilton Gardener’s Brain: Contested Understandings of Brain Science and Feminist Applications of the Scientific Method, Kimberly A. Hamlin, Miami University of Ohio

3. Silas Weir Mitchell’s Nervous Malady and its Influence on the Rest Cure, Anne M. Stiles, Washington State University

4. Transgendered Cells: A History of Metaphors about Astrocytes, Meg Upchurch, Transylvania University

Early registration ends at Midnight EDT at the end of October 7th, 2010.

To see the whole program of the conference, click here.

New issue of the Indian Journal of Psychiatry

The last  issue of the Indian Journal of Psychiatry is available online. Included in this issue is a 6-pages article by Haque S. Nizamie and Nishant Goyal (from the Central Institute of Psychiatry, Kanke, Ranchi, India) entitled History of psychiatry in India. The abstract reads:

History is a screen through which the past lightens the present and the present brightens the future. Psychiatry by virtue of its ability to deal with human thoughts and emotions and provide a pathway for healthy minds provides an important platform towards being a mentally sound human being and largely the society. This review takes a sneak peek into the foundations of modern psychiatry in India. The description is largely based on the time frame, which provides a better understanding of the factual information in each period starting from the Vedic era and culminating in the post independence period.

To read the full article, click here.

Debate: Should Psychoanalysis Be in the Science Museum in London?

To be sure, this is likely familiar territory to many readers of H-Madness, but the New Scientist features a debate on the topic of whether psychoanalysis should be included in the Science Museum in London.  Speaking in favor is Robert Bud, principal curator of medicine at the Science Museum; voicing his opposition is Mario Bunge, a philosopher at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and a long-standing critic of psychoanalysis.

The exhibition Psychoanalysis: The Unconscious in Everyday Life, featuring art and artefacts from the collections of the Science Museum, the Wellcome Library, and the Freud Museum, opens on 13 October and runs until April 2011. The museum’s Dana Centre will hold an associated discussion series. For more information visit the Science Museum website.

Book Announcement – Transnational Psychiatries

ERNST Waltraud, MUELLER Thomas (ed.), Transnational Psychiatries. Social and Cultural Histories of Psychiatry in Comparative Perspective c.1800-2000 (Newcastle, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010)

This book offers something new in the history of psychiatry. Within a transnational research framework, it presents original historical case studies and conceptual reflections on comparative and related methodologies. Systematic comparison and transfer studies as well as aspects of entangled history are employed in relation to themes such as different cultural meanings pertaining to the same term; transfer of treatment practices and institutional regimes; localised practices and (re)-emerging forms of patient care; circulation of early anti-psychiatrists’ views; impact of war and politics on patients’ welfare and on psychiatric discourse; and diversification of psychotherapeutic and physical practices. The book includes chapters on the history and historiography of psychiatry and psychotherapy in different geo-cultural regions in South America, Asia, the Pacific and Europe. The contributors present multilayered interpretations, emphasising commonalities and interconnections as well as contrasts and discontinuities. With its wide-ranging geographical focus and attention to conceptual issues, this collection will assist to integrate and reconfigure the historiography of psychiatry.

Table of contents:

Reading Emotions in the Body: Translating Depression at the Intersections of Japanese and Western Medicines, by Junko Kitanaka

Islands, Communities and Entangled Madness: Transferring Psychiatry to the Colonial Pacific, 1884-1964, by Jacqueline Leckie

“A Burden to the State”: The Reception of the German “Active Therapy” in an Argentinean “Colony-Asylum” in the 1920s and 1930s, by Yolanda Eraso

Practising “Colonial” or “Modern” Psychiatry in British India? Treatments at the Indian Mental Hospital at Ranchi, 1925-1940, by Waltraud Ernst

Global Theory, Local Practice: Shock Therapies in Japanese Psychiatry, 1920-1945, by Akihito Suzuki

Invention of a “Japanese Gheel”: Psychiatric Family Care from a Historical and Transnational Perspective, by Akira Hashimoto

Re-opening a Closed File of the History of Psychiatry: Open Care and Its Historiography in Belgium, France and Germany, c. 1880-1980, by Thomas Mueller

A World-Famous Lunatic: The “Seillière Affair” (1887-1889) and the Circulation of Anti-Alienists’ Views in the Nineteenth Century, by Aude Fauvel

Starvation in French Asylums During the German Occupation (1940-1945): Methodological Issues in a Comparative Historical Investigation, by Isabelle von Bueltzingsloewen

Psychological Trauma in German, Serbian and British Psychiatry Since 1945: A Comparison of Textbooks, by Christiane Wildgrube, Sara Dimic, Ruth Kloocke, Heinz-Peter Schmiedebach and Stefan Priebe

Psychotherapy in Switzerland and France in the 1950s: Similar Controversy, Different Solutions, by Catherine Fussinger and Annick Ohayon

Book announcement – History of Danish Lobotomy

Until recently, the history of lobotomy has been linked to psychiatry. As noted in several studies, lobotomy was frequently employed in the treatment of psychiatric patients who had been hospitalised for years. Lobotomy/leucotomy was introduced by Egas Moniz in 1935, and soon became used by psychiatrists in various countries. In Denmark lobotomies were performed on a large scale. More than 4,000 psychosurgical operations were carried out during the period 1939-1956. With a population of only 4 million Danes in the late 1940s, this is an extremely high number of lobotomies. As a comparison, approximately 20,000 lobotomies were conducted in the U.S. in the same period. However, Danish lobotomies were not only used on psychiatric patients but also on mentally handicapped people. At least 300 mentally handicapped Danes had the operation between 1947 and 1983.  These are the main results from a book written by Jesper Vaczy Krag and entitled Det hvide snit (The White Incision).

The author, Jesper Vaczy Kragh, is very interested to know if mentally handicapped were lobotomized in other countries so please do not hesitate to comment this post.

New Issue of History of the Human Sciences

The latest issue of History of the Human Sciences has been published online. Included in this issue is an article by Scott Vrecko (University of Exeter, UK) entitled Birth of a brain disease: science, the state and addiction neuropolitics. The abstract reads:

This article critically interrogates contemporary forms of addiction medicine that are portrayed by policy-makers as providing a ‘rational’ or politically neutral approach to dealing with drug use and related social problems. In particular, it examines the historical origins of the biological facts that are today understood to provide a foundation for contemporary understandings of addiction as a ‘disease of the brain’. Drawing upon classic and contemporary work on ‘styles of thought’, it documents how, in the period between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s, such facts emerged in relation to new neurobiological styles of explaining and managing social problems associated with drug abuse, and an alliance between a relatively marginal group of researchers and American policy-makers who were launching the ‘War on Drugs’. Beyond illustrating the political and material conditions necessary for the rise of addiction neuroscience, the article highlights the productivity of neurobiological thought styles, by focusing on the new biological objects, treatments and hopes that have emerged within the field of addiction studies over the last several decades.

For more information, click here

Syllabus: Loughran, “Managing the Mind: Psychiatry, Psychology, and British Culture, 1800-2000″

This is another installment in our series on university and college courses dealing with the history of madness, mental illness, and psychiatry.

Dr. Tracey Loughran is Lecturer in Medical History at Cardiff University. Her research to date has focused on shell-shock in First World War Britain, and she is currently writing up a monograph on this topic. Her new research project is on health and female print culture in the late twentieth century. Further biographical details can be found here.

This module is designed for second year undergraduate history students, many of whom have not studied the history of medicine or modern British history in-depth before. This is the second year it has run, and it is still very much a work in progress. The module attempts to chart the history of psychiatry in Britain, but also the ‘psychologization’ of everyday life over the past two centuries. This means that there is a lot to cover, and one gap on the module is an absence of consideration of the growth of psychology as a professional discipline (the growth of the profession of psychiatry is also only covered in a very sketchy way). The module is roughly chronology, with some topics which are perceived as essential, but many of these topics are included primarily because they are useful case studies for discussing how attitudes to sanity and madness, and the experiences of those diagnosed as mentally ill, have changed over the past two centuries. The module also attempts to introduce students to some different types of primary source material, particularly film.

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