Colloquium: Les sciences de l’homme à l’âge du neurone

The EHESS (Paris) will be hosting in October a three-day colloquium entitled « Les sciences de l’homme à l’âge du neurone ». Here is a brief overview of the program :

“Les sciences de l’homme à l’âge du neurone”, 13-15 octobre 2010, organisé par Alain Ehrenberg dans le cadre du programme ANR PHS2M (Philosophie, Histoire et Sociologie de la Médecine Mentale), en partenariat avec le Centre Alexandre Koyré.

NEUROECONOMIE, neurosociologie, neuroanthropologie, neuropsychanalyse,… : à voir les publications récentes, il semblerait que les sciences de l’homme et de la société entrent dans l’âge du neurone. Sous l’impulsion, entre autres, de développements technologiques comme l’imagerie cérébrale fonctionnelle, les promoteurs des neurosciences ont réactualisé le projet d’une science de la vie mentale qui donnerait les clés des représentations et des comportements sociaux. Cartographier le substrat cérébral de la société et ainsi expliquer le fonctionnement de cette dernière, voilà l’ambition affichée. Régulièrement critiquées pour leur immaturité scientifique, les sciences de l’homme et de la société trouveraient ainsi dans les progrès des neurosciences cognitives de quoi garantir la légitimité de leurs fondements épistémologiques. L’extension de ce programme scientifique explique sans doute qu’il rencontre un grand écho au sein des institutions de la recherche mondiale. Ce colloque se propose de prendre les neurosciences sociales et leur essor comme objet de réflexion. Nous aborderons successivement trois volets de la question : on tentera tout d’abord de reconstituer l’émergence et l’extension de ce nouveau programme scientifique, puis de suivre les neurosciences sociales à l’oeuvre avant de s’interroger sur les usages de l’opposition nature/culture en leur sein.

PROGRAMME

1. LE « TOURNANT NEUROCOGNITIVISTE » EN SCIENCES HUMAINES ET SOCIALES

13 Octobre, Amphithéâtre François Furet

MATINEE (9H‐13H) :

Jean‐Michel FORTIS (CNRS, HTL) : L’émergence de la linguistique cognitive.

Bruno AMBROISE (CNRS, CURAPP‐ESS) : Le tournant cognitif en pragmatique.

Francis AFFERGAN (Université Paris‐Descartes) : Terrain d’enquête ou boîte noire ? Le dilemme du prisonnier.

Wolf FEUERHAHN (CNRS, Centre Alexandre‐Koyré) : Un tournant neurocognitiviste en phénoménologie ? Sur l’acclimatation des neurosciences dans le paysage français des sciences humaines.

APRESMIDI (14H30‐18H) :

Frédéric LEBARON (Université de Picardie, CURAPP) : Sciences économiques et sciences cognitives : quelques remarques sur les fondements sociaux d’une convergence intellectuelle.

Emmanuel MONNEAU (Université de Picardie, CURAPP) : Le traitement de la neuroéconomie dans quelques revues académiques françaises de sciences économiques.

Rafael MANDRESSI (CNRS, Centre Alexandre‐Koyré) : De l’usage du neurocognitivisme en histoire.

Sébastien LEMERLE (Université Paris Ouest) : Une nouvelle lisibilité du monde : les usages des neurosciences par les intermédiaires culturels en France (1970‐2000).

14 Octobre, salles 7‐8

MATINEE (9H30‐12H30) :

Régine PLAS (Université Paris‐Descartes, CeRMeS3) : L’introduction de la neuro‐imagerie fonctionnelle en psychologie cognitive en France, quels enjeux ?

Jean‐Christophe COFFIN (Université Paris‐Descartes, Centre Alexandre‐Koyré) : Les neurosciences vues d’en bas. Ethique de la réception d’un programme scientifique par la « psychiatrie des champs ».

Fernando VIDAL (Max‐Planck‐Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte) : La neuroesthétique, ou comment se débarrasser de l’art.

2. LES NEUROSCIENCES EN PRATIQUES

14 Octobre, salles 7‐8

APRESMIDI (14H30‐17H) :

Julien JUPILLE (CeRMeS3) : La prise en charge de l’hyperactivité de l’enfant dans un service hospitalo‐universitaire à l’orientation cognitive.

Baptiste MOUTAUD (CeRMeS3) : Troubles moteurs et troubles mentaux : la deep brain stimulation face aux troubles obsessionnels compulsifs.

Camillo VENTURI (CeRMeS3) : La remédiation cognitive dans la prise en charge de personnes atteintes de schizophrénie.

3. SORTIR DE LOPPOSITION NATURE/CULTURE

15 Octobre, salles 7‐8

MATINEE (9H30‐12H30) :

Denis FOREST (Université Lyon 3, IHPST) : Naissance et renaissance du cerveau social/The birth and rebirth of the social brain

Albert OGIEN (CNRS, CEMS) : Normativité sociale et normativité neuronale : les neurones miroirs et les limites de l’explication cognitive. / Social normativity versus neuronal normativity. Mirror neurons and the limits of cognitive explanation.

Tim THORNTON (University of Central Lancashire) : Explanation vs understanding in Psychiatry/Explication contre interprétation en psychiatrie

APRESMIDI (14H‐18H) :

Pierre‐Henri CASTEL (CNRS, CeRMeS3) : Le “cerveau” de la psychopathologie cognitive

et évolutionniste/The “brain” of cognitive evolutionary psychopathology

Alain EHRENBERG (CNRS, CeRMeS3) : Neurosciences sociales : de nouveaux jeux de langage pour de vielles questions ? / Social neuroscience : new language games for old issues?

For the detailed program, click here (pdf).

Syllabus: Hayward, “Madness and Medicine in Modern Britain”

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

Rhodri Hayward is Wellcome Award Lecturer in the History of Medicine at Queen Mary, University of London, where he works closely with the Centre for the History of the Emotions. His current research examines the rise and political implications of psychiatric epidemiology in modern Britain.  He has published on a wide variety of subjects including the history of dreams, Pentecostalism, demonology, cybernetics and the relations between psychiatry and primary care. His book, Resisting History: Popular Religion and the Invention of the Unconscious was published by Manchester University Press in 2007. He has recently completed a second book, Self Cures, on the relationship between psychology and medicine in modern Britain.

‘Madness and Medicine in Modern Britain’ was first developed as a masters course at the University of East Anglia, where it proved popular among creative writing students in search of fresh material. Over the last few years it has been taught as a second or third year undergraduate option to history students and is usually oversubscribed.  At first glance the course appears rather parochial. It offers a linear narrative history of psychiatry in Britain from the building of the first state-sponsored asylums through to their closure under the Tory governments of the 1980s.  However within this narrative strong emphasis is placed on the legal origins of psychiatric categories, the changing bases and rationalisations of medico-psychological practice and the implications that these changes carry for the understanding of selfhood and interpersonal relationships.

In my experience the narrative format works very well.  Although it runs the risk of reifying certain medical developments it does bring out the contingency of psychiatric ideas and students are well able to understand the social and political factors that contribute to classifications, treatments and theories.  An ongoing disappointment is that where once students turned to these seminars for political insight, they are now more likely to treat classes as a kind of therapeutic forum in which they use historical materials to reflect upon their personal problems.  I once hoped that this course would help them see their problems, are in the last analysis, political.  I am no longer convinced that this will happen.

Syllabus: Micale, Four Courses on the History of Madness

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

Mark S. Micale is Professor of History at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign where he regularly teaches courses in modern European intellectual history and the history of science and medicine.

History 498 is a course/seminar that in various versions I have taught many times over the past 15 years to undergraduate audiences at Yale, Manchester, and now the University of Illinois.  As you can see, it centers chronologically on the period I know most about–the long nineteenth century, from Pinel to World War One, or from the moral treatment to shell shock.  I designed it to introduce students to some of the major episodes, figures, and texts in psychiatric history during this formative 120 year period, as well as to numerous interpretative, cultural, and ideological issues about psychiatry and medicine at present.  It combines European and American topics and alternates between readings of primary texts (medical-authored readings, by Pinel, Esquirol, Crichton-Brown, Beard, Krafft-Ebing, Freud, etc.) and the best secondary scholarship.  In one version of the course, I include weeks on phrenology and on Dorothea Dix.   I also assign some poetry (by mad persons) and a novel, namely Pat Brown’s Regeneration.

The weekly film component in this course tends to be very successful with students, if you can convince them to commit to an additional evening class. From a proverbial embrassment of riches, I have tried to select movies that explore the historical theme of the week’s readings, sometimes themselves in historical settings and at other times in later, including present-day, settings.  I’ve considered teaching a specialized seminar on “Psychiatry and the Cinema,” but think it would probably be too much fun to teach.

The course syllabus subtitled “”Freud to Prozac” is intended as a sequel to this first course.  I have only actually taught it once and that was as a small independent tutorial.  Hence, it needs refinement.  Again, it would be offered on an upper-class college level.

History 396 is the syllabus for a very unique experience.  Last spring semester, 2010, I taught this course through the Education Justice Program of the University of Illinois at the nearby Danville Correctional Facility.  That is, I taught it to 15 student-prisoners at a medium-security prison, who qualified due to their previous educational records and who received course credit toward a degree for it.  EJP is a new and remarkable initiative in Illinois, and several other states, to provide college courses during incarceration.  My students were all men, ranging in age from 24 to 62.  All of them were African-American or Hispanic.

Needless to say, our class discussions differed greatly from those with students who were overwhelmingly white, middle-class and free.  They were in fact quite illuminating, for me as instructor. The experience changed in select ways how I think about and teach psychiatric history.  My audience, however, explains why this version of psychiatric history includes a section on “contemporary issues” and why it emphasizes issues of class and race.

Finally, “Classics in the History of European Psychiatry” is just what is says.  I co-taught this readings seminar with Renate Hauser, a Jungian analyst and Krafft-Ebing scholar from German-speaking Switzeland, at the Wellcome Institute in the late 1980s.  I was in London on a post-doctoral fellowship.  Our motivitating thought was that scholars bandy about the names of past psychiatric greats but in fact we generally are not very deeply read in their writings, except perhaps for Kraepelin and Freud and Jung.  So,as post-doc students, we designed a course that each week looked closely at some past classic, including a few “difficult” texts such as psychiatric textbooks by Feuchtersleben, Griesinger, and Meynert.  Bill Bynum and Roy Porter attended some of the sessions.  The seminar was open to the public and therefore attracted several psychiatrists (or psychiatric medical students in training) from London hospitals and medical schools (as well as a few “colorful characters” from the street).  This seminar too was most instructive.  I am so glad I had a chance to read these authors closely in a communal setting.  A course of this sort should work well in a history of medicine program allied to a school of medicine.

I have also taught more specialized and historiographically focused reading courses for graduate students, as well as graduate tutorials, including students in our M.D./Ph.D. program here.  The content tends to be determined by student interest.  One such grad course studied historiographical debates in 20th-century psychiatry (shell shock, political psychiatry, psychosurgery, etc.)  Another investigates “readings in deviance theory.”

The one other type of university course I wish to teach would be a more introductory lecture course.  The above courses are seminars directed toward upper-level undergraduates, who typically are either history majors, or pre-med majors, or have a topical interest within the history of psychiatry/medicine.  I can envision, in contrast, a survey course of lectures that would run from ancient divine madness and Egyptian brain trepaning to the present and would attract a wider liberal arts audience of students.  I hope to work up the lectures for such an offering in the future.  The subject is congenial to this type of educational treatment, with its many episodes that are fascinating, comical, and horrifying.

Syllabus: Reaume, “Mad People’s History”

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

Geoffrey Reaume is Associate Professor in the Critical Disability Studies graduate program at York University, Toronto, where he has taught since 2004. He has written two books: Remembrance of Patients Past: Patient Life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane, 1870-1940 (Oxford University Press Canada, 2000; re-issued, University of Toronto Press, 2009, 2010); and Lyndhurst: Canada’s First Rehabilitation Centre for People with Spinal Cord Injuries, 1945-1998 (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007). Reaume is a co-founder of the Psychiatric Survivor Archives, Toronto (founded 2001), has given over 80 history tours of the patient built nineteenth century Toronto Asylum boundary walls at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health based on research from “Remembrance of Patients Past” and introduced and has taught Mad People’s History at all three universities in Toronto.

The purpose of Mad People’s history is to understand the history of madness from the perspectives of people who have lived this past. Its purpose is also to engage this history with students who have or are currently experiencing madness, either themselves or in relation to relatives and friends. In particular the course is intended to provide an alternative to the medical model perspectives which have dominated the history of psychiatry. The use of the term “Mad People” in the title is intended to ensure it is about the people without whom this history would not exist. It is also intended to ensure that the course is not considered medical model in approach, though people with medical model perspectives are included along with the entire range of perspectives from anti-psychiatry to pro-psychiatry and views that are in between these perspectives.

Generally, the course provides a historical perspective that is highly critical of the medical model for its dominance in modern psychiatry and instead seeks to include broader perspectives that are inclusive of perspectives that interpret madness from wider social influences, such as the impact of poverty, gender, class, race, disability and sexual orientation. The course also seeks to include perspectives that are not only about “famous” mad people but include more sources from people who are less well known so that it is not a “great mad people’s” history course, but rather one which is more broadly representative of the vast majority of unknown mad people. Methodological issues about not being able to access the perspectives of the poorest mad people, who left no writings given their lack of resources and absence of educational opportunities in so many cases, are also discussed to appreciate the limits in understanding this past. The silences in Mad People’s History are thus as important to understand as what we discuss in this course. Finally, connections between past and present are stressed throughout the course to provide context for current developments while appreciating the contributions and experiences of mad people throughout the ages.

An article about this course is available in the journal Radical History Review, 94 (2006): 170-182.

Advertisements for Psychotropic Drugs in East Germany

"Papachin – for old age vertigo"

Going through some old boxes of notes, I came across the following:  a number of East German advertisements for stimulants, sleeping pills, and anti-anxiety medications.  The ads are all from the psychiatric journal Psychiatrie, Neurologie und medizinische Psychologie.  Unfortunately, I did not keep notes on the exact dates of the ads, but a few, at least, appear to be from around 1963.

For those interested, Director Volker Hess, Viola Balz, and Ulrike Klöppel at the Institute for History of Medicine in Berlin are presently conducting research on a project examining the manufacture, distribution and uses of psychotropic drugs in East Germany –“Psychochemicals Crossing the Wall: Die Einführung der Psychopharmaka in der DDR, 1952-1989.”

"Medication for sleeping and getting back to sleep – Dormutil"

"Fast acting – deep and peaceful sleep – waking without depression: Dormutil"

An ad for the stimulant "Aponeuron," comparing its effectiveness to caffeine

"Neuroton – for treatment of anxiety, tension, depressions"

– Eghigian

Syllabus: Kushner, “Mental Health and Public Health” and “Madness, the Brain, and Culture in Interdisciplinary Perspective”

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

Howard I. Kushner is the Nat C. Robertson Distinguished Professor of Science & Society at Emory University where he holds a joint appointment as Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education in Rollins School of Public Health and in the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts in the College of Arts and Sciences. Kushner, a historian of medicine, is author of four books, including American Suicide: A Psychocultural Exploration (1991) and A Cursing Brain? The Histories of Tourette Syndrome (1999) and numerous articles on medical and psychiatric history in journals including Lancet, the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Perspectives in Biology & Medicine, Journal of the History of Medicine, Journal of Pediatric Infectious Disease, and Pediatric Cardiology.  He is co-editor of a special issue of BioSocieties, 5 (March 2010) entitled “Drugs, addiction and society.”  He is currently working on a book-length study of the history of laterality and mental disorders.

Kushner’s course, “Madness, the Brain, and Culture in Interdisciplinary Perspective,” is an interdisciplinary exploration of mental disorders in psychological, neurobiological, historical and cultural perspective. Conditions examined include autism, hysteria, schizophrenia, depression, bi-polar disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, multiple personality disorder, eating disorders, attention deficit, and Tourette syndrome.  The reading and discussions consider the impact of racism, class, and gender on the construction of, explanations for, and interventions developed to treat mental illnesses. All these syndromes will also be viewed in the context of an increasing public health concern with mental health and mental illness.  Attention is paid to the putative neurobiological and psychiatric mechanisms associated with these disorders.

Syllabus: Vijselaar, “History of Psychiatry: The Asylum, Inside Out”

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

Joost Vijselaar is senior researcher at the Trimbos Institute (The Netherlands Institute for Mental health and Addiction) and professor in the history of psychiatry at Utrecht University, as such he is a member of the Descartes Centre in Utrecht. He has published extensively on the history of Dutch psychiatry, among others a number of books on the history of individual psychiatric hospitals (for example on the famous asylum Meerenberg in Bloemendaal). Alongside he studied the reception of animal magnetism in the Netherlands in a comparative perspective, resulting in the book ‘The magnetic soul’: De magnetische geest. Het dierlijk magnetisme 1770-1830 (2001). He was involved in the creation of the national museum for psychiatry ‘Het Dolhuys’ (‘The Madhouse’) in Haarlem 2005. Recently he completed historical-sociological research on patient records from the first half of the twentieth century, published as Het gesticht, enkele reis of retour (or: ‘The asylum, single fare or return’). Currently he is working on a biography of the Dutch reformer of psychiatry J.L.C. Schroeder van der Kolk (1797-1862). The main focus of his research these days is on the use of electricity in explanation and therapy of mental illness and nervous disease from the eighteenth century onwards.

Bachelor research seminar – The Asylum, Inside Out. Department of History and Art History, Utrecht University

This course is an intensive research seminar, part of an obligatory program during the third and last year of the bachelor study in the Department of History. It comprises an introduction to the theme (in this case the history of the Dutch asylum), the analysis of both primary and secondary sources, independent research by the students themselves on a subject of their own choice, and the writing of a final essay (30 pages A4, spaced 1,5). The essay is regarded as the bachelors thesis. As many students do not have first-hand experience in analyzing primary sources and are not acquainted with archives, I emphasize the importance of reading and interpreting primary source material, requiring students to analyze such sources in class within the context of the secondary literature. As part of the course I ask students to prepare a research proposal more or less according to the regulations of the National Organisation of Scientific Research. An important aim of the seminar, therefore, is the training of historical skills.

As to the history of psychiatry, I use Roy Porter’s Madness, a brief history as a general introduction, complemented by the book of Ido Weijers and Ruud Abma (both of Utrecht University) Met gezag en deskundigheid (a history of the profession of psychiatry in the Netherlands) as the overview of the Dutch history. Articles and book chapters pertaining to specific subjects are used as supplementary literature. The program covers the coming into existence of the asylum during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the development of the therapeutic regime, the organization and the disciplines of psychiatry up to the 1950s, and both the antipsychiatric movement and the process of deinstitutionalization, focusing on the question (particularly relevant to the Netherlands) of whether the asylum is disappearing. As stated above, students read and analyze primary texts such as articles, chapters of main textbooks, annual reports, ego documents, and architectural descriptions.

Subjects that students in the past have dealt with in their research were, among others: the architectural history of a city asylum; occupational therapy during the interwar years; the character of the Dutch central Jewish asylum; orthodox protestants and psychoanalysis; military psychiatry in the Dutch East Indies; the influence of military psychiatry on antipsychiatry; lobotomy in the Netherlands; the psychoanalysis of psychosis at the University of Leyden around 1930; the therapy of anorexia nervosa, etc.

This year I will organize a similar research seminar on the history of psychiatry and electricity from the 18th century to the present.

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