Archive for November, 2012

Digitale Psychiatriegeschichte: das Devon County Mental Hospital

Beinah am äußersten Zipfel Englands, am süd-westlichen Ende des Landes zwischen Cornwall und Somerset, liegt das County Devon, dessen Psychiatriegeschichte seit kurzem online zu entdecken ist. Quasi als Nebenprodukt der langjährigen Forschung zweier Mitglieder des Centre of Medical History der Universität Exeter, Dr. Nicole Baur und Prof. Jo Melling, entstand in Zusammenarbeit mit John Draisey vom Devon Heritage Centre eine Website, die sich selbst als eine „fascinating journey“ durch die Geschichte eines psychiatrischen Krankenhauses, des Devon County Mental Hospital, beschreibt.

Neben einem kurzen historischen Abriss der bereits 1845 gegründeten Anstalt (damals noch Devon County Lunatic Asylum) wird die lokale Geschichte in vier, an der englischen „Irrengesetzgebung“ orientierten Etappen in den nationalen Kontext eingebunden: Als Ausgangspunkt jeder Etappe dient illustrierend – bzw.  kontrastierend – eine Fallstudie aus dem Aktenbestand des Krankenhauses.

Zusätzlich dazu enthält die Website eine ausführliche Bibliographie, die u. a. auch die Angaben der für die Seite genutzten Archivmaterialien enthält. Darüber hinaus werden in der Sektion Memories Erinnerungen von Menschen gesammelt, die, in der ein oder anderen Form, als PatientIn, ÄrztIn oder KrankenpflegerIn, mit der Institution in Berührung gekommen sind.

Entdeckt haben wir das „digitale Archiv“ über einen Post in Advances in the History of Psychology. Selbst zu entdecken ist Devon’s Psychiatriegeschichte hier.

CfP: Deinstitutionalisation and After: Post-War Psychiatry in Global Perspective

Glasgow, UK, 9-10 May 2013 | Submissions deadline: 31 January 2013

Despite the popularity of the history of psychiatry, and twentieth-century psychiatry in particular, little attention has been paid to the history of deinstitutionalisation. Much of the research remains focused on psychiatric hospitals, although the proliferation of institutional forms of mental health care was among the key transformations in 20th-century psychiatry. This conference seeks to redress this imbalance in the historiography of psychiatry by addressing the broader historical context of deinstitutionalisation and how psychiatry and understandings of mental illness changed as a result.

The conference welcomes paper proposals from a broad range of disciplines, such as history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, psychology and psychiatry. It aims to gather scholars who are working on different national contexts or who adopt a transnational or comparative perspective.

Issues that could be addressed might include, but are not limited to:

  • Types and characteristics of the mental health care institutions conceived and implemented after the Second World War as alternatives to the psychiatric hospital (e.g. day care centres and out-patient services).
  • Theoretical models and therapeutic practices of open mental health care services: the strands of biopsychiatry, psychoanalysis and social psychiatry.
  • Agents of reform: psychiatrists and other mental health care professionals; scientists, such as sociologists and anthropologists; the state; international organisations; contest movements, voluntary and patient groups.
  • Boundaries and interplay between different professionals in community mental health care, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and nurses.
  • Influences, parallels and variances among different paradigms of extra-mural mental health services; international exchanges and the interaction between local and global practices and thinking; the development of international organisations and standards; the impact of politics, ideology and international relations.
  • The patient experience of desintitutionalisation and of its aftermath and impacts.

Graduate and Postgraduate students are strongly encouraged to submit papers on research in-progress or recently completed studies.

The conference is organised by Despo Kritsotaki, Matthew Smith, Jim Mills and Erin Lux, and is hosted by the University of Strathclyde and the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare (

Place: Glasgow, UK

Dates: 9-10 May 2013

Working language of the conference: English

Please submit a paper abstract (300 words) and a short CV to:

Submissions deadline: 31 January 2013

Notification of Acceptance: February 2013

Please address all inquiries to:

Financial support may be available, depending on need and the success of funding bids for the conference.

Panel organization – Canadian Society for the History of Medicine 2013

A message from Kathryn McKay, PhD candidate at Simon Fraser University:

Hi H-Madness members,

We are organizing a panel for the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine (CSHM) conference to be held in Victoria, British Columbia June 1-3, 2013. We are looking for papers to complement two that broadly examine aspects of activism, patient rights, disability, and labour practices.

This conference attracts scholars from all time periods and disciplines and thus, feedback one receives can be both specific and broad. The conference occurs in conjunction with the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences which brings together academics from a wide range of disciplines. For more information you can visit their website at:

If you have research that you think would complete our panel, please contact us right away. The proposals require a 350 word abstract and a one page CV and will be submitted together as soon as we have a 3-4 participants. The submission is due on November 30th, so we would appreciate your proposal no later than November 23rd.

Thank you

Dustin Galer ( and Kathy McKay (

New issue: History of Psychiatry

A new issue of History of Psychiatry is now available online and includes the following articles:

Hebephrenia: a conceptual history (Abdullah Kraam and Paula Phillips)

This paper traces the conceptual history of hebephrenia from the late nineteenth century until it became firmly embedded into modern psychiatric classification systems. During this examination of the origins and the historical context of hebephrenia it will be demonstrated how it became inextricably linked with twentieth-century notions of schizophrenia. The first detailed description of hebephrenia in 1871 by Ewald Hecker, then a virtually unknown German psychiatrist, created a furore in the psychiatric establishment. Within a decade hebephrenia was a firmly embedded concept of adolescent insanity. Daraszkiewicz, Kraepelin’s brilliant assistant in Dorpat, broadened Hecker’s concept of hebephrenia by including severe forms. This paved the way for Kraepelin to incorporate it together with catatonia as a subtype of dementia praecox. We recognize Hecker’s hebephrenia in DSM-IV as schizophrenia, disorganized type. Although DSM-5 will probably abolish subtypes of schizophrenia, characteristic features of hebephrenia will be found within the proposed domains of disorganization, restricted emotional expression and avolition.

The limits of comparison: institutional mortality rates, long-term confinement and causes of death during the early twentieth century (Waltraud Ernst)

This article presents a case study of institutional trends in a psychiatric institution in British India during the early twentieth century. It focuses on mortality statistics and long-term confinement rates as well as causes of death. The intention is two-fold: first, to provide new material that potentially lends itself to comparison with the few existing institutional case studies that have explored this particular period; second, to highlight some of the problems inherent in the status of the statistics and the conceptual categories used, and to consider the challenges these pose for any intended comparative and transnational assessment. Furthermore, it is suggested that historians working on the history of western institutions ought to look beyond the confining rim of Eurocentric self-containment and relate their research to other institutions around the world. It is important for social historians to abstain from uncritically reproducing hegemonic histories of the modern world in which western cultures and nations are posited by default as the centre or metropolis and the rest as peripheries whose social and scientific developments may be seen to be of exotic interest, but merely derivative and peripheral.

Racial experiments in psychiatry’s provinces: Richard S Lyman and his colleagues in China and the American South, 1932–51 (Anne C Rose)

The worldwide expansion of psychiatry as a science at times followed pathways already laid by Christian medical missions to cultures seen as disadvantaged by sponsors. Interracial contacts were one outcome, and racial issues gained visibility in psychiatric inquiry and treatment. Richard S. Lyman gathered socially diverse psychiatric teams at Peking Union Medical College in the 1930s and Duke University in the 1940s, both programs funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. Bingham Dai, a Chinese-born theorist and therapist, and Leo Alexander, Holocaust refugee and later medical investigator for the Nuremberg prosecutors, worked with Lyman at both sites. These itinerant professionals repeatedly struggled to comprehend and influence localities. Lyman’s liberal aim to integrate psychiatry succeeded better in China than in segregated North Carolina.

Mad doctors? The significance of medical practitioners admitted as patients to the first English county asylums up to 1890 (Alannah Tomkins)

‘Mad doctors’ specialized in treating the insane, but what about the doctors whose own mental health was jeopardized? Oppenheim found that doctors who attended the mad were presumed to be particularly vulnerable, but there has been no research investigating this claim, nor identifying practitioners’ experiences as patients. This article analyses medical admissions to asylums via both case notes and other sources such as newspaper reports, revealing the responses of medical superintendents to their former colleagues and, in some cases, the judgements of practitioners on their institutional surroundings. It indicates the impact of work-related stress, as medicine became self-consciously professional, and the evolution of public reactions to doctors who could not maintain an appropriately sane identity.

‘Irresistible impulse’: historicizing a judicial innovation in Australian insanity jurisprudence (Mark Finnane)

In twentieth-century Australian criminal law a distinctive departure from the M’Naghten Rules developed as a critique of the discourse of reasoning and verdicts applying in the relevant English trials from the 1880s. The English verdict of ‘guilty but insane’ was criticized by the leading jurists as contradictory. In a sequence of influential judgments, the jurist Owen Dixon articulated an approach to the insanity defence that made room for a medico-legal discourse which broadened the possible referents of what it meant to ‘know’ the legality of an act, and also acknowledged the complex behavioural factors that might determine an act of homicide. This paper explores the shaping and significance of this departure and its comparative judicial, medical and social contexts. A concluding discussion considers whether the more flexible interpretation of the insanity defence implied by the direction of Dixon’s decisions made as much of a difference to frequency of use of the defence as the contemporaneous decline and eventual abolition of capital punishment.

The toxic oil syndrome as a catalyst to psychiatric reform in Spain (1981–85) (Gregoria Hernández-Martín, José Martínez-Pérez, and Dr Tom Dening)

In 1981 Spain had an outbreak of a previously unknown disease. It became known as ‘toxic oil syndrome’ and it not only caused many deaths but also involved an alarming range of symptoms, with many patients suffering from mental problems, which left many of the victims disabled. Toxic oil syndrome, which occurred during the difficult transition from dictatorship to democracy, highlighted the inability of the Spanish health care system to deal with the myriad problems posed by the epidemic. The aim of this paper is illustrate how the epidemic was a catalyst in helping to bring about the transformation of psychiatric care in Spain. The toxic oil syndrome made it possible to try out new approaches to mental health which were being propounded by many psychiatrists. In fact, some of the methods adopted to deal with those affected by toxic oil syndrome also became mainstays of the so-called ‘psychiatric reform’ in Spain.

Secret suffering: the victims of compulsory sterilization during National Socialism (Stefanie Westermann)

From the second half of the 19th century, eugenics claimed the medical and social need to intervene in human reproduction. During National Socialism, 300,000–400,000 people in Germany were subjected to compulsory sterilization because they had psychological diseases, impairments and social behavioural problems, which were regarded as genetically determined. After the end of the Third Reich, these interventions were not recognized as National Socialist injustice, and the victims were initially excluded from ‘compensation’. As shown in letters and interviews, the victims of compulsory sterilization suffered physically and psychologically throughout their lives. In particular, feelings of social ‘inferiority’, and of shame and suffering from compulsory childlessness and broken relationships, are found in many of the sources examined.

The issue also contains the classic 1854 text by Jean-Pierre Falret, ‘De la non-existence de la monomanie’  (Part 2) introduced and translated by Thomas Lepoutre and Dr Tom Dening; an essay review by Matthew Smith entitled ‘Madness in the USA from the gilded age to the progressive era’, and a number of book reviews.

For more information, click here.

Colloque « La folie à l’écran » – EHESS

« La folie à l’écran  »

Colloque pluridisciplinaire organisé par Jean-Christophe Coffin (MCF Paris V Descartes), Nausica Zaballos (doctorante Centre Alexandre Koyré – IRIS) et Alessandro Manna (doctorant IRIS)

5 et 6 décembre 2012


Réceptacle de nos peurs les plus profondes, la figure du fou est depuis longtemps projetée sur des écrans cinématographiques. Mais les films ayant mis en scène des patients d’asiles ou d’hôpitaux psychiatriques ont-ils une valeur de témoignage historique? La grande diversité des genres de films consacrés au traitement médical et social de la folie n’est-elle que le reflet de la subjectivité des réalisateurs ou s’inscrit-elle dans l’évolution des réponses thérapeutiques et éthiques apportées aux personnes atteintes de troubles mentaux? Enfin, de quelle manière la réappropriation de la mise en scène de l’expérience psychiatrique par des collectifs regroupant des acteurs de la psychiatrie au sens large du terme (usagers mais aussi aidants familiaux et professionnels de santé)modifie et enrichit les représentations traditionnelles du patient psychiatrique?

Ce carnet, créé à l’occasion du colloque international et transdisciplinaire “Patients et Traitements Psychiatriques à l’Ecran: pratiques militantes, soins et processus de subjectivation” qui aura lieu à l’EHESS les 5 et 6 décembre 2012, a pour vocation de recenser les différentes recherches sur la représentation des usagers en psychiatrie dans une perspective historique, anthropologique ou esthétique.

Pour voir le programme complet, cliquer ici.

British Psychological Society History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series

British Psychological Society History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series

Sponsored by the British Psychological Society. Open to the public.

Organiser: Professor Sonu Shamdasani (UCL)

Wednesday 21st November

Dr. Maria Teresa Brancaccio (Maastricht University) – “War Trauma in France and Italy (1920s-1980s)”

Time: 6pm to 7.30pm

In the twentieth century, medical-psychological theories on the health effects of war-related suffering as well as their social recognition presented large variations in different European countries. Focusing on the medical debates and on the diagnostic categories adopted in France and in Italy in the aftermaths of the two World Wars, the paper will investigate how changes in medical, social, and political thinking influenced the understanding of war trauma in the two countries.

Location: UCL Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, Room 544,* 5th Floor, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HB Directions: From the main reception, go through the double doors at the back and turn left, walk the length of this corridor and at the very end turn left again – you will find yourself in front of the ‘West’ Lifts. Take these to 5th Floor. On exiting the lift, turn right through double doors and then left through single door, walk the length of this corridor pass through another door and then turn right – you will see a marble table ahead. Room 544 is straight ahead.

For more information, click here.

CfP: History of Counselling in Canada

Call for Papers for a Special Issue of the Canadian Journal of Counselling
and Psychotherapy: History of Counselling in Canada

Submit proposal by Jan. 7, 2013

The Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy intends to publish a
special issue devoted to the History of Counselling in Canada. Dr. Sharon
Robertson and Dr. William Borgen will be the Guest Editors for this theme

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Counselling and
Psychotherapy Association in 2015, it is timely to reflect on the past,
present, and anticipated future of counselling in Canada. One-page
proposals for manuscripts are requested for this special issue that
centres on conceptual, research, and practical issues related to the
history of counselling in Canada.

Manuscripts should address topics pertaining to the evolution of
counselling in Canada such as the following: the development of ethical
standards, certification and credentialing standards, program
accreditation standards; changes in counselling paradigms, the practice of
counselling, counselling diverse clients; developments in speciality areas
such as career counselling, school counselling, family counselling,
post-secondary counselling; research in counselling; and the evolution of
counselling in various regions of Canada. Other topics related to the
history of counselling in Canada are encouraged.

The proposals should be submitted to the Guest Editors by January 7, 2013.

The deadline for manuscripts of accepted proposals is July 2, 2013.

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