Shannon Lectures 2016 – Critical Care: Treatment of Body and Mind in Social and Cultural History

rush-medical-college-yearbookThe Shannon Lectures in History is a series of thematically linked public lectures offered annually at Carleton University made possible through the Shannon Donation, a major anonymous gift from a friend of the Department of History. In recent years, renowned Canadian and international scholars have explored animals and history, food and drink in history, the history of emotions, and how storytelling and history intersect.

The Shannon Lecture Series for 2016 examines the social, intellectual and cultural history of health, sickness, disease and medicine. The lectures will consider cultural perceptions of the body, health and illness and will tease out the shifting patterns of treatment.

About this year’s series:

Co-convenors: Christine Chisholm and Susanne M. Klausen

The History Department’s Shannon Lecture Series for 2016, commencing September 30, examines the social, intellectual and cultural history of health, sickness, disease and medicine. The lectures will consider cultural perceptions of the body, health and illness and will tease out some of the shifting patterns of treatment over the past three hundred years. It is the first lecture series at Carleton University to foreground medical history, reflecting a renewed academic interest in health issues that are currently being pursued in different departments.

Medical history is a complex, multi-faceted field of historical inquiry that touches on almost every other aspect of historical study, including politics, religion, science, gender, race and culture. Scholars in this field are captivated by the many ways it can provide glimpses into the mindsets of people in the past, and by the relevance of past concepts of disease and medicine to current heath care challenges. While one lecture series is unable to capture all the intriguing aspects of this historical field, we are thrilled to welcome four scholars who will draw attention to a diverse spectrum of topics, including mental health, disability, First Nations’ experience in the healthcare system, and even death. This public lecture series is made possible by the Shannon Fund, an endowment created by an anonymous friend of the Department of History.


Friday, September 30, 2016

“Trials of Madness: Civil Law and Lunacy in a Trans-Atlantic World During the 18th and 19th Centuries”

Dr. James Moran (Department of History, University of Prince Edward Island)

Special Reception Event: During the reception guests will have the opportunity to explore the Remedies, Elixirs, and Medical Men exhibit from the Pinhey’s Point Foundation, which explores health care in nineteenth-century March Township and Bytown, drawing on documentation and artifacts from Ottawa’s Pinhey family and their circle. The Hon. Hamnett Pinhey apprenticed in London with a surgeon, and though he never practised the profession he brought a ship apothecary kit and numerous medical books with him to Canada in 1820 and assisted neighbours with medical problems on the frontier in the absence of physicians.  The exhibit also surveys the lives of Dr A.J. Christie of Bytown, Pinhey’s son-in-law Dr Hamnett Hill, and Christie’s grandson who had a pharmacy on Sparks Street in the 1870s and an aerated water factory on Queen.  These Ottawa personalities and a selection of Pinhey’s 18th and 19th century medical books are set in the context of changing medical knowledge over the course of the 19th century.

The exhibition will be housed in Carleton University’s Department of History, 4th floor Paterson Hall, from September through December 2016.


Friday, October 14, 2016

“Escaping Judgement/Embracing Judgement: Disability, Protection and Liberty in Twentieth Century Ontario”

Dr. Melanie Panitch (School of Disability Studies, Ryerson University)

Co-sponsored by the Disability Studies Program, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies

Special Reception Event: During the reception of the October 14th lecture, Carleton University’s Disability Research Group will launch Envisioning Technologies, an accessible exhibit dedicated to the history of educational technologies for people who are blind or partially sighted in Canada from 1820-present.


Friday, November 18, 2016
“Medicare and Medicine Chests:  Indian Hospitals and the Construction of National Health in Postwar Canada”

Dr. Maureen Lux (Department of History, Brock University)

Co-sponsored by the Department of Health Sciences


Friday, December 2, 2016

“A Cultural History of Caring for the Dead Body”

Dr. Thomas Laqueur (Department of History, UC Berkeley)


The lecture will take place in the Multi-Media Lab, Discovery Centre (482), 4th floor MacOdrum Library starting at 2:30pm, followed by a reception in the History Lounge (433PA) at 4pm.

The Shannon series was announced on the blog Historiens de la santé yesterday.

Neue Ausgabe – Medizinhistorisches Journal

1e5962967dIn der aktuellen Ausgabe des Medizinhistorischen Journals finden sich zwei Artikel, die von Interesse für die H-Madness Leser sein könnten. Es handelt sich zum einen um einen Beitrag von Alexa Geisthövel, wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am Institut für Geschichte der Medizin und Ethik in der Medizin an der Berliner Charité, mit dem Titel Aktenführung und Autorschaft: Ärztliches Schreiben in der Subjektmedizin Viktor von Weizsäckers (1920er bis 1950er Jahre).


(de) In der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts artikulierten viele Ärzte das Bedürfnis nach einer erneuerten Medizin, die der leibseelischen ,,Ganzheit“ des Menschen Rechnung tragen sollte. Dies bezog sich nicht nur auf den Patienten, sondern auch auf den Arzt, dessen emotionale und hermeneutische Kompetenzen verstärkt zur Geltung kommen sollten. Anhand der ,,Subjektmedizin“ Viktor von Weizsäckers (konzeptionell und im Alltag der von ihm geleiteten klinischen Abteilungen) stellt sich die Frage nach der Umsetzung dieses Programms in einer zentralen ärztlichen Praxis, dem Schreiben, das zwischen arbeitsteiliger Aktenführung und der individuellen Autorschaft elaborierter Krankengeschichten changierte.

(en) Many physicians in the first half of the 20th century were seeking to create a renewed medicine which would promote psychophysical unity in humans. This related not just to the patient but also to the physician who was expected to make use of his / her emotional and hermeneutic faculties. Viktor von Weizsäcker’s “subject medicine“ (both its theory and the clinical departments he headed) offers an opportunity to examine how this program was put into practice. Focusing on writing as a central feature of medical routines, this paper asks to what extent physicians’ individual authorship of elaborate medical histories and management of records based on hospital labor divisions succeeded in shaping a new professional identity.


Der zweite Artikel trägt den Titel ,,Auf strengster wissenschaftlicher Grundlage“. Die Etablierungsphase der modernen Konstitutionslehre 1911 bis 1921 und ist von Nadine Metzger verfasst, die als wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am Institut für Geschichte und Ethik der Medizin an der Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg tätig ist.


(de) In den Jahren zwischen 1911 und 1921 etablierte sich die moderne Konstitutionslehre als interdisziplinäres Forschungsprogramm im deutschsprachigen Raum. Noch kaum berührt durch eine spätere holistische Interpretation und weit vor der ,,Krise der Medizin“ der mittleren und späten 1920er Jahre besaß ihr naturwissenschaftlich ausgerichtetes Konzept große Attraktivität, die ihren fächerübergreifenden Erfolg bedingte. Diese Arbeit untersucht Geschichte und inhaltliche Grundlinien der modernen Konstitutionslehre im deutschsprachigen Raum zwischen 1911, dem Jahr der öffentlichen Thematisierung auf dem Internistenkongress in Wiesbaden, über den Ersten Weltkrieg bis zu den ersten Lehr- und Einführungswerken von 1921.

(en) In the years between 1911 and 1921, modern constitutional medicine established itself as an interdisciplinary research program in German-speaking countries. Untouched by later holistic interpretations and still far from the ,,crisis of medicine“ of the late 1920s early constitutional medicine was very attractive due to its scientific self-characterisation. Thus, it became influential across the medical disciplines. This paper examines history and subject matter of German modern constitutional medicine in its first decade, starting in 1911, the year constitutional medicine was first publicly discussed by the Wiesbaden congress for internal medicine, including its development during World War I and closing with the first textbooks for medical students in 1921.


Thinking in Cases: On and Beyond the Couch (London Freud Museum, 30 October 2016)



John Forrester tragically died in November 2015. His long-standing research project, ‘thinking in cases’ was an attempt to theorise the particular kind of thinking that pertains to psychoanalysis and psychotherapy; different from ‘scientific’ and deductive reasoning but, he asserted, a valid form of knowledge all the same. Can one move from a textured particularity, like that in Freud’s famous cases, to a level of reliable generality? In his last book, to be published in October, Forrester teases out the meanings of the psychoanalytic case, how to characterise it and account for it as a particular kind of thinking and writing. While he was principally concerned with analysing the style of reasoning that was dominant in psychoanalysis and related disciplines, Forrester’s path-breaking account of thinking in cases will be of great interest to scholars, students and professionals across a wide range of disciplines, from history, law and the social sciences to medicine, clinical practice and the talking therapies. This conference brings together speakers from a range of disciplines to debate the pros and cons of ‘thinking in cases’.


ANDREAS MAYER (Centre Alexandre Koyré, Paris)

MATT FFYTCHE (Essex University)


STEPHEN FROSH (Birkbeck College)


RALUCA SOREANU (Wellcome Trust)


30 October 2016
2pm – 5.30pm

For more information, click here.

New book – “Zugriffe auf das Ich: Psychoaktive Stoffe und Personenkonzepte in der Schweiz 1945-1980”

10131_00_detailDas Verlagshaus Mohr Siebeck veröffentlichte soeben den vierten Teil seiner Reihe zur Historischen Wissensforschung. Es handelt sich um Magaly Tornays (ETH Zürich) Zugriffe auf das Ich: Psychoaktive Stoffe und Personenkonzepte in der Schweiz 1945-1980.


Wie beeinflussen psychoaktive Stoffe unser Bild von uns selbst? Verstehen wir seit der psychopharmakologischen Wende unser Inneres anders und wie hat sich dies auf unsere Vorstellungen von Gesundheit und Krankheit ausgewirkt? Entlang dieser Fragen zeichnet Magaly Tornay die Geschichte psychoaktiver Stoffe in der Schweiz seit dem Aufkommen des LSD nach. Das Spektrum der psychoaktiven Stoffe wurde in der Folge um Antidepressiva, Tranquilizer und Anregungsmittel erweitert. Der Mikroblick der Psychiater, die sich individuellen Patienten widmeten, wurde überlagert von einer Sichtweise, die psychische Störungen als chemisch veränderbar, experimentalisierbar und statistisch erfassbar begriffen. Die Autorin zeigt auf, wie im Schnittfeld von psychiatrischen Kliniken, Pharmaunternehmen und Wissenschaft ein neues Objekt Kontur gewann: eine psychopharmakologische Grammatik, die den Diskurs über unser Inneres entscheidend mitprägte.

Das Buch wird morgen, am Samstag, den 17. September 2016 ab 19.30 Uhr im Rahmen einer Buchvernissage mit anschließender Podiumsdiskussion vorgestellt. Die Veranstaltung findet im Provitreff am Sihlquai 240 in Zürich statt, es diskutieren Laura Rischbieter, Jakob Tanner und Raul Zelik.

New article – “The mirror image of asylums and prisons: A study of institutionalization trends in France (1850–2010)”

home_coverOn July 26th, Punishment & Society published an article in it’s OnlineFirst section that might be interesting for h-madness readers: Sacha Raoult, Aix-Marseille University, France and Bernard E Harcourt, Columbia University, USA, write about the “The mirror image of asylums and prisons: A study of institutionalization trends in France (1850–2010)“.


This article analyzes trends in prison rates and mental hospital rates in France since the earliest available statistics. It shows that, on almost two centuries of data and amidst an agitated political history, every asylum trend in France is “countered” by an inverse prison trend, and vice-versa. Both trends are like a mirror image of each other. We reflect on the possible explanations for this intriguing fact and show that the most obvious ones (a population transfer or a building transfer) are not able to account for most of the relationship. After these explanations have been dismissed, we are left with an enigma with wide theoretical and practical implications. How is it that when prisons fall, asylums rise and when prison rise, asylums fall? We suggest possible research avenues drawing on the 1960s and 1970s critical literature on “total institutions” and offer implications for current theories of the “punitive turn” and current quantitative studies of prison rates.

Call for Abstracts: “Philosophical Perspectives on Critical Psychiatry” (San Diego, May 2017)


Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry Call for Abstracts
29th ANNUAL MEETING, May 20-21, 2017
San Diego, California

Philosophical Perspectives on Critical Psychiatry: Challenges and Opportunities

Conference co-chairs: Christian Perring, Douglas Porter, and G. Scott Waterman

Critical Psychiatry is a wide-ranging movement that encompasses a highly varied, and possibly incommensurable, array of concepts, concerns, and activities. Broadly speaking, Critical Psychiatry has taken the profession to task for being a source of oppression, asserting that the power and authority of psychiatry functions to marginalize and disempower people who experience mental distress or extreme psychological states and/or use mental health services. Psychiatry has also been seen as a means of social control, serving to oppress communities that have already been marginalized due to race, gender, orientation, economic class, culture, ethnicity, or immigration status. Whether this oppression is conceived as an inevitable or contingent aspect of psychiatric practice, the concern for oppression has led Critical Psychiatry to focus attention on social, political, and ideological aspects of psychiatric theory and practice — topics not typically addressed in the mainstream discourse of the discipline. But critical psychiatry has also directly engaged conventional psychiatric thinking and practice, challenging empirical claims and methodologies, as well as interpretation of data.

For the purposes of this conference, Critical Psychiatry can be seen as fertile territory for an interdisciplinary engagement between philosophy and psychiatry. Critical Psychiatry has drawn upon the philosophical resources of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory to criticize the implicit positivism at work in mainstream psychiatry and the power/knowledge complexes discerned by Foucault to challenge entrenched notions of epistemic authority within psychiatry. The concern for oppression within Critical Psychiatry is shared by queer theory, feminist theory, and broader theoretical concerns with social justice. Critical Psychiatry’s challenge to the empirical claims of psychiatric science implicate matters of direct concern for the philosophy of science, while the relation between empirical and theoretical concerns that arise within Critical Psychiatry pose challenges to philosophy, in particular the traditional disciplinary division between the philosophy of science and political and moral philosophy.

Possible topics for the conference include but are not limited to:

  • Is Critical Psychiatry best conceived of as a contemporary incarnation of “Anti-Psychiatry” or as a resource for psychiatric reform? Can psychiatry be emancipatory or is it inherently oppressive and coercive?
  • What should be the fundamental aims of psychiatry? Who should have the authority to formulate those aims?
  • How should we conceptualize madness and distress? Do certain ontological assumptions about the nature or “reality” of mental disorders inherently marginalize mental health service users?
  • What is the significance of empirical “sites of resistance” such as the psychiatric survivors’ movement?
  • What are the political and social dimensions of a “biological psychiatry”?
  • Have biomedical conceptualizations of mental distress become hegemonic, both withinmedicine and in the wider society? If so, what are the implications of that hegemony for the prospects of improving care for people who seek it?
  • Is there an undue influence of Big Pharma and the Medical Industrial Complex on the production of psychiatric science? Are there means to responsibly address the inevitable influence of politics and economics on science? Does a politicization of science undermine scientific integrity and the concern for, or claim to, objectivity
  • Are the philosophical assumptions of conventional psychiatry antithetical to the recovery movement? What is the role of expertise in psychiatric practice? Do challenges to epistemic authority run the risk of compromising scientific and clinical integrity?
  • Are there ways of reforming psychiatric education and training that could serve to empower mental health service users and redress some of the shortcomings of conventional psychiatry identified by Critical Psychiatry? 

    Presentations will be strictly limited to 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for discussion. Abstracts will be peer reviewed blindly, so the author’s identifying information should be attached separately. We especially encourage submissions by service users. Detailed abstracts should be 600-1000 words and sent via email by November 15, 2016 to Christian Perring (, Douglas Porter (, and Scott Waterman ( Notices of acceptance or rejection will be distributed in January.

Bedlam: the asylum and beyond (Wellcome Trust exhibition) September 2016 – January 2017

Bedlam: the asylum and beyond


15 September 2016 – 15 January 2017

Follow the rise and fall of the mental asylum and explore how it has shaped the complex landscape of mental health today. Reimagine the institution, informed by the experiences of the patients, doctors, artists and reformers who inhabited the asylum or created alternatives to it.

Today asylums have largely been consigned to history but mental illness is more prevalent than ever, as our culture teems with therapeutic possibilities: from prescription medications and clinical treatment to complementary medicines, online support, and spiritual and creative practices. Against this background, the exhibition interrogates the original ideal that the asylum represented – a place of refuge, sanctuary and care – and asks whether and how it could be reclaimed.

Taking Bethlem Royal Hospital as a starting point, ‘Bedlam: the asylum and beyond’ juxtaposes historical material and medical records with individual testimonies and works by artists such as David Beales, Richard Dadd, Dora García, Eva Kotátková, Madlove: A Designer Asylum, Shana Moulton, Erica Scourti, Javier Téllez and Adolf Wölfli, whose works reflect or reimagine the institution, as both a physical and a virtual space.

This Way Madness Lies: The Asylum and Beyond’, a highly illustrated book produced to accompany the exhibition, will be available from the Wellcome Shop and online.

For more information, click here.

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