Archive for March, 2014

Book announcement: Der Freud-Komplex by Anthony D. Kauders

9141a173bbThe blurb reads:

Die einen feierten Freud als Befreier von bürgerlichen Moralvorstellungen, die anderen beklagten seine Lehre als rationales Aufklärungsprojekt, das der deutschen Seele zutiefst fremd sei.

Anthony D. Kauders legt in seinem Buch die Deutschen auf die Couch: Wie haben sie auf Freud und seine Ideen reagiert? Was verraten die Reaktionen über ihr Verhältnis zur Sexualität, zur Gewalt und die Vorstellungen vom »bürgerlichen Ich«, von Ohnmacht und Selbstbestimmung? Und wie haben sich die Einstellungen zur Psychoanalyse im Verlauf des 20. Jahrhunderts verändert?

Der Autor zeigt auf verblüffende Weise, wie wir anhand der Auseinandersetzung mit Freud die Ideale und Utopien, die Ängste und Hoffnungen der deutschen Gesellschaft rekonstruieren können. Ein überraschendes Sittengemälde und ein ebenso faszinierendes wie abgründiges Panorama der deutschen Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts.

Abraham Myerson papers available at the Countway Library

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the acquisition of the personal and professional papers of Abraham Myerson, M.D. (1881-1948). Myerson, a neurologist, psychiatrist, clinician, pathologist, and researcher, believed in the interdependence of mind and body and a physiological approach in psychiatry and neurology. He had a special interest in the heredity of psychiatric and neurologic disease.

During the first decades of the 20th century, the eugenics movement became prominent and widely supported by lay and professional groups. Myerson was an opponent of the involuntary sterilization of feeble-minded and mentally ill patients. While at Taunton State Hospital, he conducted a study and published his findings in The Inheritance of Mental Disease (1925), which showed that only ten percent of inpatients had a relative who had been confined to the hospital since its opening in 1854. Myerson believed that while there could be a heredity factor involved, social environment also played a major role.

Among his many professional roles, Myerson served as Massachusetts state forensic examiner for eight years. He interviewed Sacco and Vanzetti and later testified at their trial.

The collection contains correspondence with colleagues, peers, and the general public on many topics, including the need and possible uses for Benzedrine, notes of his conversations with Sacco, unpublished writings, and photographs. A subseries contains the inventory of state resources provided for the mentally ill and retarded in the United States compiled by Dr. Harry Best, which later resulted in a publication, and related correspondence with Best.

Born in Lithuania, the son of a schoolteacher, Myerson came to the United States at age five. In 1892, the family moved to Boston, Massachusetts where Myerson attended the Boston public schools. He later attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and Tufts Medical School; he graduated from the latter in 1908. Myerson held several appointments in Boston-area hospitals and medical schools in neurology, neuropathology, pathology, and clinical psychiatry, including working with Harvard Medical School neuropathologist Elmer E. Southard, joining the first group of residents (with Myrtelle Canavan and Harry Solomon) at the newly opened Boston Psychopathic Hospital (1912), serving as clinical director and pathologist at Taunton State Hospital (1913-1917) and as director of research at Boston State Hospital (1927-1940). He was appointed Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School (1935-1940) and Chair of the Department of Neurology at Tufts Medical School (1921-1940). Myerson was chief of the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Beth Israel Hospital, from 1942 to 1945.

Myerson was active in many professional organizations: the American Psychiatric Association (representative to the National Research Council), the American Neurological Association, the Greater Boston Medical Society, the American Psychopathological Society (president, 1938-1939), the Advisory Council for Research in nervous and mental disease for the U.S. Public Health Service, and director of the Mental Hygiene Society. He published ten books, all of which can be found in HOLLIS, and numerous scholarly research articles.

Performing Medicine Festival – New York Academy of Medicine, April 5th

Performing Medicine: An all-day celebration of medically inclined theater, music, and dance

New York Academy of Medicine

Performers include Dr. Richard Kogan with a musical performance and lecture on creative genius and psychiatric illness; Brian Lobel on his comedic adventures as a cancer patient; Parkinson’s coach and dancer Pamela Quinn on reading bodies; David Leventhal with DANCE FOR PD® from Mark Morris Dance Group/Brooklyn Parkinson Group, and Mount Sinai’s Academy for Medicine and the Humanities on the art of listening. Dr. Danielle Ofri leads a panel discussion, and musicians from Weill Cornell’s Music and Medicine Initiative provide musical interludes.

Throughout the day there will be guided behind-the-scenes tours, your opportunity to get an introduction to our Coller Rare Book Reading Room and Gladys Brooks Book & Paper Conservation Laboratory. Spaces are limited to 20 people per tour; make sure to get your tickets early!

Schedule: April 5th, 11-6pm, more details here.

$15 for NYAM Fellows, Members and Friends of the Rare Book Room, $25 for general admission, Free for students and house staff (ID required).

Collection tours (limited to 20 people per tour) $5, 11 AM, 12 noon, 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 4 PM

All prices are $5 higher the day of the event.

See more at:


BBC News Article: Craiglockhart Hospital and Shell Shock

An article entitled “Did Craiglockhart hospital revolutionize mental healthcare?” was published yesterday on the BBC News website. It discusses the pioneering treatment(s) of shell shock offered to patients in that Scottish War Hospital during and after WWI, Craiglockhart’s literary legacy, the different cures for shell shock in various other hospitals at the time, as well as the legacy of shell shock in modern culture.

To access the article and podcast, presented by Claudia Hammond, click here.

Book Announcement – Moderne.Weltkrieg.Irrenhaus

i-klartext-1134-irrenhausThe blurb reads:

Der Band, ein Katalog zur gleichnamigen Ausstellung des psychatriegeschichtlichen Dokumentationszentrums Düren, setzt sich mit Widersprüchen und Fortschritten der Psychiatrie am Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts auseinander. Fortschritte und höchst problematische Aspekte psychiatrischen Handelns werden mit Ausstellungssequenzen zur Baugeschichte, zum Leben und Alltag in der Anstalt, Emanzipation der Pflege und zur Behandlung im Schatten des Krieges aufgezeigt. Das Ausstellungsgebäude, ein forensisches Bewahrungshaus aus dem Jahr 1900, steht – obwohl mit Gittern versehen – für eine weitreichende Liberalisierung der Psychiatrie im Rheinland während der Kaiserzeit.


Call for Papers: Gloom Goes Global: Towards a Transcultural History of Melancholy Since 1850

Edvard Munch, Melancholy (1891). From:

Edvard Munch, Melancholy (1891). From:

CFP: Gloom Goes Global – Towards a Transcultural History of Melancholy since 1850

Location: University of Heidelberg, Karl Jaspers Centre
Date: 2–4 October 2014
Organisers: Frank Grüner and Maike Rotzoll,
Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”, University of Heidelberg

This interdisciplinary conference focuses on the study of melancholy as a historical-anthropological phenomenon and scientific medical concept from a transcultural perspective. It will discuss influential narratives and perceptions of gloom as articulated in various national and cultural contexts – in Europe, Russia and Asia – since the middle of the 19th century, and will examine their mutual penetration and transformation. The central question concerns the extent to which the paradigm shift from a perception of melancholy shaped by natural philosophy, lite! rature and art to a psychopathological condition conceptualised using scientific terminology can be described as a global phenomenon.

The production of certain concepts and ontologies of melancholy in a specific historical context is to be understood as a dynamic cross-border process in which “traditional”, more or less established, forms of knowledge and science – among them medical systems – are affected, challenged or closely intertwined by “wandering ideas” in the sense of a “circulation of knowledge” or “culture on the move”.

The key concern of this conference is to discuss competing concepts of melancholy and their mutual penetration and transformation against the backdrop of cultural flows, in particular flows of knowledge and science between Europe, Russia and Asia. In concrete terms, this conference seeks books or texts and ideas (medical and scientific as well as philosophical or social) produced in one cultural context and transmitted or transferred to another, translated from one to the other language, or adapted, changed, transformed, etc. Further, the conference addresses the people and institutions as well as agents and brokers involved in or affected by these kinds of transcultural flows and cross-border activities.

Last but not least, this conference focuses on global flows of cosmopolitan psychiatry and the circulation of concepts of mental illnesses such as melancholy or depression and the ontologies that they produced in different historical and cultural contexts.

Topics of the conference papers can focus on the following aspects in particular:

• prevalent concepts of melancholy in Europe, Russia and/or Asia in the time from around 1850 to the present in literature, the arts, philosophy, sciences and medicine

• epistemological and ontological transfers in the field of science and medicine between different cultures which shaped the understanding,

•redefinitions and experience of melancholy and gloom in various historical contexts of Europe, Russia and Asia

• exchange processes and transcultural entanglements in the field of melancholy

• cultural brokers, itineraries and the institutions or places of knowledge involved in these transnational processes of knowledge transfer and circulation of melancholy concepts

• the circulation and application of certain practices concerning health and knowledge which played a role in regard to the (medical or social) treatment of melancholy and depression

Formal requirements:

Applicants should submit the title of a paper, an abstract of max. 300 words and a short CV to Frank Grüner ( or Maike Rotzoll ( by 15 April 2014.

Successful applicants will be requested to submit a full paper (5,000 words max.) by 10 September 2014. The papers wil! l serve as a basis for discussion during the conference. Selected papers are expected to be published.

The presentations at the conference in Heidelberg last a maximum of 20 minutes.
Accommodation costs and travel expenses will (at least partially) be covered by the organisers.


Dr. Frank Grüner
Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe”
University of Heidelberg
Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies
Building 4400, Room 016
Voßstr. 2
D-69115 Heidelberg
Phone: ++49-(0)6221-544302

Dr. med. Maike Rotzoll
Institute for the History and Ethics of Medicine
University of Heidelberg
INF 327
D-69120 Heidelberg

Freud: New graphic novel by Corinne Maier and Anne Simon

From the website Brain Pickings:

Freud’s Life and Legacy, in a Comic

While Freud may have engineered his own myth and many of his theories may have been disputed in the decades since his heyday, he remains one of the most influential figures in the history of psychiatry and psychology. And yet for many, Freud is more metaphor than man and his name summons only a vague idea of his work — “something to do with penises,” our marginally informed collective conscience might whisper — rather than a true understanding of just how profoundly he influenced contemporary culture, from our mechanisms of consumerism to our notions about the self.

In recent years, the comic book genre has been applied to a wealth of graphic nonfiction for grownups, ranging from famous biographies to philosophy, but nowhere does the genre shine more exquisitely than in Freud (public library) — a magnificent biography-as-graphic-novel of the founding father of psychoanalysis by Swiss-born writer, economist, historian, and psychoanalyst Corinne Maier, illustrated by celebrated French cartoonist Anne Simon. Published by British indie press Nobrow — which also gave us Blexbolex’s brilliant No Man’s Land and some gorgeous illustrated chronicles of aviation and the Space Race — this unusual illustrated biography takes us through Freud’s life and legacy with equal parts scientific-historical rigor, sociocultural insight, and disarming wit, both visual and narrative.

For more information, click here.

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