New issue of the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences

The last issue of the Journal of the History of the Neuroscience has been released online. One of the four articles presented in this issue focuses on the 1958 Moscow Colloquium on Electroencephalography, while another offers perspectives on the late-19th century reception of neuron theory. Titles, authors and abstracts are listed below:

The Moscow Colloquium on Electroencephalography of Higher Nervous Activity and Its Impact on International Brain Research, by Boleslav L. Lichterman

Late 1950s was a period of recognition of Russian neurophysiology by international neuroscience community and vice versa. This process of “opening windows in both directions” might be illustrated by the story of The Moscow Colloquium on Electroencephalography of Higher Nervous Activity. The Colloquium took place on October 6-11, 1958 at the House of Scientists in Moscow. It was organized by the Academy of Sciences of the USSR under the initiative of the Institute for Higher Nervous Activity and focused on (a) EEG correlates of cortical excitation and inhibition; (b) electrophysiological study of different brain structures and their role in conditioned reflexes; and (c) EEG of higher nervous activity in humans. At the final session it was suggested to launch an International Year for the Study of the Brain and to ask UNESCO for international coordination of brain research. This resulted into the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) founded in 1960. This article is based on unpublished records of international contacts of Soviet neurophysiologists and organization of the Moscow Colloquium from the Archive of Russian Academy of Science (ARAN), reports in Soviet periodicals, publications in obscure Festschriften, etc.

Acceptance of the Neuron Theory by Clinical Neurologists of the Late-Nineteenth Century, by J. Wayne Lazar

This article explores reactions of clinical neurologists of the late-nineteenth century to the concept of a unified nerve cell, the “neuron,” which developed from the research on fine anatomy of the nervous system and from conclusions of Waldeyer based on that research. Assessment shows that Waldeyer’s role in the acceptance of the neuron theory was not straightforward. A study of primarily American medical literature shows rapid acceptance, eager applications, and high expectations. Nonetheless, some clinicians were disappointed in its immediate relevance. An explanation for this disappointment is offered.

For more information, click here.

New issue of the Journal of Social History

The Fall issue of the Journal of social history has just been released online. Included in this issue is an article by Laura Hirshbein entitled “We Mentally Ill Smoke a Lot”: Identity, Smoking, and Mental Illness in America. The abstract reads:

Most of the history of the tobacco industry over the last few decades has focused on the conflicts between tobacco industry leaders who promoted smoking and tobacco control advocates who warned of the health consequences. Yet a view of this conflict from the perspective of smokers who are also mentally ill raises questions about how to frame public health policy for these individuals. Mentally ill consumers wrote to the tobacco industry between the 1970s and 1990s and expressed their commitment to smoking and to cigarette companies, despite their awareness of the health risks. This paper explores the relationship between mentally ill consumers, the tobacco industry, and public health in the United States through letters written by mentally ill smokers.

For more information, click here.

Book Announcement – Art in Madness

Maureen Park. Art in Madness: Dr W. A. F. Browne’s Collection of Patient Art at Crichton Royal Institution, Dumfries. Dumfries, Scotland: Dumfries & Galloway Health Board, 2010 (£25).

This book looks at a unique collection of art in Scotland. In the mid-nineteenth century Dr W. A. F. Browne (1805-1885), the first medical superintendent of Crichton Royal Institution in Dumfries, introduced moral management and treatment at the asylum. He encouraged his patients to become involved in a wide range of cultural education activities – education classes, the creation of an asylum library and museum for the use of patients, the publication of their own periodical, musical and theatrical events, visits beyond the asylum walls for social events, and the production of drawings and paintings. So committed was Browne to moral treatment that he preserved samples of his patients’ work and today it is the oldest surviving collection of art by a group of asylum patients in the world. This book places the collection in the context of early psychiatry, examines the patients who became involved in art and provides the first complete catalogue of the 134 works in the collection. The book is fully illustrated.

Dr Maureen Park is a Lecturer in History of Art at the University of Glasgow. A former curator at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and at Haggs Castle Museum, Glasgow, she lectures and publishes widely on the links between art, medicine and healthcare. Art in Madness is the result of research undertaken for her PhD thesis on the Crichton Art Collection.

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

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