Archive for October, 2012

Nouveau numéro – Revue d’histoire du XIXe siècle

In the latest number of Revue d’histoire du XIXe siècle, Alexandra Bacopoulos-Viau has published an article entitled La danse des corps figés. Catalepsie et imaginaire médical au XIXe siècle. The abstract reads:

In Psychiatry, wrote Michel Foucault, the 19th century could be characterized as one of convulsions. From the mesmeric crises in its opening years to the spectacular apogee of Charcot’s fin-de-siècle theatre, the patient, in 19th-century Psychiatry, was all too agitated. One imagines a parade of hysterics, epileptics and other neurotics dancing alongside one another, forbidden to speak their ills, demonstrating their excessive irrationality through their gesticulating bodies. Yet for all this talk of contractures and contortions, little has been said by contemporary historians of that other, “frozen” state; that which through hypnotism transformed subjects into statues, and which permeated much of the medical and psychological discourse of that period. Catalepsy: what to make of this immobile condition—pathological stigma or harmless state, mere symptom or full-fledged nosological entity? And how to approach its often disturbing manifestations in the light of prevalent scientific understanding? In this paper we examine the representations of catalepsy in some important but under-studied French 19th-century medical texts before turning to the importance of this condition in the so-called “discovery of the unconscious”. In so doing we wish to shed light on the ambivalent ways through which the medical world dealt with this troubling and often mysterious figure.


Journée consacrée à Georges Lantéri-Laura

Le psychiatre Georges Lantéri-Laura a été une des figures marquantes de la revue L’Évolution Psychiatrique

À l’occasion de l’inauguration du « Fonds du Professeur Georges Lantéri-Laura » offert par sa famille, l’ASM 13 est heureuse de vous inviter à une journée d’étude autour de son œuvre.

Jeudi 29 novembre 2012

10h – 12h30 : Travailler avec G. Lantéri-Laura

sous la présidence de Jean Garrabé

avec la participation de M. Gros, L. Del Pistoia, J. Arveiller, R. Tevissen

14h – 16h : Lire G. Lantéri-Laura

sous la présidence de Bernard Odier

avec la participation de C. Rumen, C. Fromentin, X. Bonnemaison

16h : Conclusion

R. Rechtman, V. Kapsambelis

La journée se déroule au

Centre Alfred Binet, 76 avenue Edison – 75013 Paris, 1er étage – Salle René Diatkine (103)

L’entrée est libre mais il faut s’inscrire auprès de Catherine Lefèvre :

Conference – DSM: The History,Theory, and Politics of Diagnosis. University of Surrey, Guildford, 25-27 March 2013

DSM: The History,Theory, and Politics of Diagnosis



History & Philosophy of Psychology Section
Annual Conference
25-27 March 2013
University of Surrey, Guildford

Keynote Speaker: Professor Ian Parker

2013 marks the 40-year anniversary of the vote by the members of the American Psychiatric Association to remove ‘homosexuality’ from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). 2013 is also the publication date of the fifth edition of the DSM.

To mark this anniversary and this event, the History and Philosophy Section have themed the 2013 conference ‘DSM:The History,Theory, and Politics of Diagnosis.’

Individual papers or symposia in any area dealing with conceptual and historical issues in Psychology, broadly defined, are invited.

The conference is open to independent and professional scholars in all relevant fields, not just Section or British Psychological Society members. A limited number of bursaries will be available to students who have had their paper accepted for presentation.

All submissions (abstracts of 200 words) should be sent via email to Dr Geoff Bunn: by Friday 14 December 2012. Further information is available on the Section’s website:

Cambridge Festival of Ideas – “Dreams and Nightmares”

From 24 October to 4 November 2012, the University of Cambridge Festival of Ideas is organising hundreds of free talks, performances and exhibitions under the theme “Dreams and Nightmares”. The events include:

Is purgatory a dream or a nightmare? (24 October)

An Anglican-Catholic dialogue and discussion on John Henry Newman’s ‘Dream of Gerontius’ with Reverend Peter Hayler, Chaplain to the University Staff and Father Andrew Ekpenyong, St Edmund’s College. Part of the Multi-Faith Series.

Walking the dreams and nightmares – FULLY BOOKED (24 October)

Were ‘Winnie The Pooh’ and ‘Arthur Dent’ dreamed up in Cambridge? Gallop through a galaxy of genres with the Society of Cambridge Tourist Guides on this family-friendly stroll of literary vistas. Book groups and bookworms welcome! Supported by Society of Cambridge Tourist Guides.

Disturbed nights and dreamy days (24 October)

Dr Charlotte Woodford, Department of German and Dutch, explores women’s emotional worlds in the German fictional works of psychoanalyst Lou Andreas-Salomé.

‘The Science of Sleep’ (24 October)

Lucy Cavendish College, in partnership with the Arts Picturehouse, will be showing a screening of Michel Gondry’s film, which explores the inner workings of a young artist’s imagination and dreams as he falls in love with his neighbour. The film screening will be followed by a short talk from Dr Isabelle McNeill, who teaches French cinema and literature in the Department of French. Ages 15+

Living the dream (24 October)

Buddhists reflect on the simile of the dream as a way to develop inner freedom. As we begin to awaken not just from the dream of life, but also from the dreaming self,through practical exercises and discussion. Part of the Multi-Faith Series.

A trail of polar dreams and nightmares (25 October)

Throughout the Festival, explore our trail of polar dreams and nightmares. Find untold secrets hidden in draws and strange objects that have crept into the cases.

Night thoughts and waking dreams (25 October)

A set of readings in response to the dreaming unconscious, curated by members of the English Faculty. People may join or leave at pauses rough on the hour, every hour. Watch live at

Poincaré’s dream (25 October)

What is the real geometry of space? Surely we can just go and measure it? Find out how Henri Poincaré, the French mathematical genius, had a dream that he could resolve the issue.

Dreams and nightmares in science fiction and fantasy (25 October)

Much science fiction and fantasy involves imagining worlds where our dreams or our nightmares have come true. As well as stimulating short papers from science fiction writers and researchers, there will be a panel discussion. Panel members: Dr Una McCormack, Toby Venables and Professors Sarah Annes Brown, Farah Mendlesohn and Rowlie Wymer. Presented by Anglia Ruskin University.

The search for the self in early 20th century German thought (26 October)

Dr Liz Disley, Department of German and Dutch, will explore the links between dreams and German philosophy. Descartes famously worried that all his experiences were dreams. However, for Edmund Husserl and his correspondents, and perhaps for us, dreams could be the key to unlocking the secrets of consciousness.

Creating dreamtimes (27 October)

Create stories in words and pictures based on ancient and modern dreaming, including Australian Aboriginal art and stories, and the ‘Creation Tales’ of poet Ted Hughes, who studied Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge. Presented by Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, and Anglia Ruskin University.

For more information and to access the complete programme of events, click here.

Call for Papers – Psy Cultures

Psy Cultures is a new, fully peer reviewed, on-line only, free-access international journal devoted to the discussion and debate of the transnational circulation of “psy knowledge” and the practices associated with it. We welcome papers for Vol 1 number 1 –to be published in August 2013- on topics related to the transnational diffusion of “psy knowledge”, understood in a broad sense, including psychoanalysis, psychiatry, psychology, neuro science, etc. By “psy culture” we do not only mean the development of the scientific disciplines related to the study of subjectivity and the mind, but also the emergence and development of all the associated discourses and practices, including different forms of reception, diffusion and circulation, whether they take place within the bounds of the scientific realm or not.

We particularly encourage the submission of manuscripts that take an interdisciplinary approach and accept them in Spanish, Portuguese, English and French, which will be published in their original language with abstracts in the other three. We also accept proposals for dossiers and for book reviews.

The deadline for the submission of papers for number 1 is April 2nd 2013. Please consult our page: for style. Papers should not be longer than 12000 words, including bibliography. We encourage authors to take advantage of the electronic format and include videos and interactive material.

Manuscripts and proposals for dossiers should be sent to:

Proposals for book reviews should be sent to:

Editor: Mariano Ben Plotkin, CONICET-IDES, University Tres de Febrero (Argentina).

Book Review Editor: Mariano Ruperthuz, University of Santiago de Chile (Chile).

Editorial Assistant: Alejandra Golcman, CONICET (Argentina).


Editorial Committee:

Uffa Jensen, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin (Germany).

Anne-Cécile Druet, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée (France).

Carlos Maffi, Buenos Aires Psychoanalytical Association and International Psychoanalytic Association (Argentina).

Jane Russo, Institute of Social Medicine, State University of Rio de Janeiro-UERJ- (Brazil).

Francisco Ortega, Instituto de Medicina Social, Universidad del Estado de Rio de Janeiro -UERJ- (Brazil).


Advising International Committee:

Roberto Aceituno (Chile).

Joy Damousi (Australia).

Luiz Fernando Dias Duarte (Brazil).

John Forrester (England).

Annick Ohayon (France).

Carlos Alberto Uribe Tobon (Colombia).

Carmen Lucía Valladares Oliveira (Brazil).

Eli Zaretsky (United States).

New issue – History of the Human Sciences

The October 2012 issue of History of the Human Sciences is now online and includes the following articles:

Contested psychiatric ontology and feminist critique: ‘Female Sexual Dysfunction’ and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (Katherine Angel)

In this article I discuss the emergence of Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD) within American psychiatry and beyond in the postwar period, setting out what I believe to be important and suggestive questions neglected in existing scholarship. Tracing the nomenclature within successive editions of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), I consider the reification of the term ‘FSD’, and the activism and scholarship that the rise of the category has occasioned. I suggest that analysis of FSD benefits from scrutiny of a wider range of sources (especially since the popular and scientific cross-pollinate). I explore the multiplicity of FSD that emerges when one examines this wider range, but I also underscore a reinscribing of anxieties about psychogenic aetiologies. I then argue that what makes the FSD case additionally interesting, over and above other conditions with a contested status, is the historically complex relationship between psychiatry and feminism that is at work in contemporary debates. I suggest that existing literature on FSD has not yet posed some of the most important and salient questions at stake in writing about women’s sexual problems in this period, and can only do this when the relationship between ‘second-wave’ feminism, ‘post-feminism’, psychiatry and psychoanalysis becomes part of the terrain to be analysed, rather than the medium through which analysis is conducted.

Freud’s social theory: Modernist and postmodernist revisions (Alfred I. Tauber)

Acknowledging the power of the id-drives, Freud held on to the authority of reason as the ego’s best tool to control instinctual desire. He thereby placed analytic reason at the foundation of his own ambivalent social theory, which, on the one hand, held utopian promise based upon psychoanalytic insight, and, on the other hand, despaired of reason’s capacity to control the self-destructive elements of the psyche. Moving beyond the recourse of sublimation, post-Freudians attacked reason’s hegemony in quelling disruptive psycho-dynamics and, focusing upon the social domain, they sought strategies to counter the oppressive (repressive) social restrictions and conformist impositions impeding individual freedom that result from thwarted desire. Postmodern celebration of desire at the expense of reason and sublimation leaves the Enlightenment prospects altogether and moves psychoanalysis into a new terrain, where the very notion of rationality and an autonomous ego upon which much of Freudianism rests has been deconstructed. Thus the debate that begins with Freud’s social theories reflects the deeper divisions, which arose with postmodern ethics and discarded Cartesian–Kantian notions of personal identity. Here we consider the moral framework in which Freudian social theory sits and a contrasting understanding of agency that confronts his modernist conception. In that debate, we discern the larger humanist confrontation with postmodernity. Yet, all who engaged Freud shared some version of his utopian ethos, albeit radically restructuring the theory upon which social reform might occur.

The enigma of the brain and its place as cause, character and pretext in the imaginary of dementia (Alan Blum)

An analysis of the collective engagement with the disease known as Alzheimer’s and the dementia reputed of it reveals recourse to a socially standardized formula that attributes causal agency to the brain in the absence of clinching knowledge. I propose that what Baudrillard calls the model of molecular idealism stipulates such a neurological view of determinism in order to provide caregivers with reassurance in the face of the perplexing character of dementia and the depressing reactions to mortality that it brings to the surface.

The issue also contains a review of the book Portrait of the Psychiatrist as a Young Man: The Early Writing and Work of R.D. Laing, 1927–60.

For more information and a complete table of contents, click here.

New issue – Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences

The October 2012 issue of the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences is now online and includes an article by Lisa O’Sullivan entitled “The Time and Place of Nostalgia: Re-situating a French Disease”. The abstract reads:

The history of nostalgia as a clinical category has many highly specific national stories. This paper traces an aspect of this history, examining aspects of nostalgia’s changing meanings in nineteenth-century France. Nostalgia was a disease triggered by displacement, which became medically and politically important after the French Revolution, when military surgeons encountered epidemics of nostalgia in the armed forces. Understood as a form of pathological homesickness, the category straddled environmental medicine and emerging ideas about insanity. The diagnosis became particularly important to Idéologue writers as a case study in regulating and redirecting the emotions, demonstrating the efficacy of their new “moral” treatments and an ability to generate patriotic attachment to the new nation state. Over the course of the century, nostalgia disintegrated as a medical condition reflecting a decline in environmental explanations for disease within medicine, and increasingly plastic meanings attached to nostalgic desire.

For a complete table of contents, click here.

(From the blog Advances in the History of Psychology)

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