Archive for April, 2014

Psychophatie und Psychopathologisierung in urbanen und provinziellen öffentlichen Räumen um 1900

Screenshot from 2014-04-27 14:19:15Donnerstag, 22. Mai 2014

15:00 Uhr Heinz-Peter Schmiedebach (Hamburg/München): Begrüßung und Einführung

15:50 Uhr Kai Sammet (Hamburg): Wozu man die Schizophrenie gebrauchen kann: Semantik, Pragmatik, Öffentlichkeit(en), ca. 1910 bis 1930

16:40 Uhr Kaffeepause

17:10 Uhr Felicitas Söhner (Ulm): Zwischen häuslicher Versorgung und Einweisung in die Klink. Begründungszusammenhänge und Motive ländlicher und städtischer Familienfürsorge im frühen 20. Jahrhundert
18:00 Uhr Thomas Müller (Ravensburg): Rückführung des Irren in die Gesellschaft? Außerklinische Versorgungsformen und Behandlungsorte des Wahnsinns (ca. 1850–1914)

Freitag, 23. Mai 2014

9:00 Uhr Marietta Meier (Zürich) Auf der Kippe. Spannungskonzepte in der klassischen Moderne
9:50 Uhr Thomas Beddies (Berlin) „In den Symptomen des Niedergangs, über die sich so viele entrüstet haben, habe ich nichts erblicken können als Krankheitserscheinungen.“ Profilierung und Positionierung deutscher Psychiater nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg

10:40 Uhr Kaffeepause
11:10 Uhr Urs Germann (Olten/Bern) Umstrittene Grenzen: Psychopathie zwischen Medizin und Justiz. Zur inter-institutionellen Stabilisierung des Psychopathiekonzepts in der Schweiz um 1900
12:00 Uhr Stefan Wulf (Hamburg) Morphinismus, Kokainismus, Heroinismus – Anmerkungen zum Konstrukt der “Psychopathie“ im psychiatrischen Drogendiskurs der 1920er Jahre

14:30 Uhr Sonja Mählmann/Cornelius Borck (Lübeck) Der Querulantenwahn – oder wie die Psychiatrie zu ihrem Recht kam
15:20 Uhr Rupert Gaderer (Bochum) Krach in der Provinz/ Weimar um 1900
16:10 Uhr Volker Roelcke (Gießen) Kommentar
16:55 Uhr Kaffeepause
17:25 Uhr Julie Clauss/Christian Bonah (Strasbourg) In der Provinz und in der Hauptstadt: Der in der psychiatrischen Klinik hospitalisierte Wahnsinn im Vergleich: Strasbourg – Berlin von 1900 bis 1930
18:15 Uhr Volker Hess/Chantal Marazia (Berlin/Strasbourg) Inside/Outside. Die Klientel der Poliklinik im Vergleich zu den stationären Patienten am Beispiel Berlin und Strasbourg um 1900

Samstag, 25. Mai 2014
9:00 Uhr Rainer Herrn (Berlin): Sexualwissenschaft und Psychiatrie
9:50 Uhr Gabriele Dietze (Berlin):  „Heller Wahn“. Echoräume zwischen psychiatrischen „Genie- und Wahnsinnsdiskursen“ und künstlerischen Avantgarden der Moderne um die Jahrhundertwende
10:40 Uhr Kaffeepause
11:10 Uhr Flurin Condrau (Zürich)/ Brigitta Bernet (Zürich)
Kommentare und Abschlussdiskussion

Donnerstag, 22. Mai 2014 – Samstag, 24. Mai 2014

Historisches Kolleg, Kaulbachstr. 15, 80539 München

For more information, click here.

New issue of “Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Studies”

2.coverA new issue of Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Studies is available online. The April issue 2014 contains following articles that may interest readers of h-madness.

Anita Magowska, The Unwanted Heroes: War Invalids in Poland after World War I

This article focuses on the unique and hitherto unknown history of disabled ex-servicemen and civilians in interwar Poland. In 1914, thousands of Poles were conscripted into the Austrian, Prussian, and Russian armies and forced to fight against each other. When the war ended and Poland regained independence after more than one hundred years of partition, the fledgling government was unable to provide support for the more than three hundred thousand disabled war victims, not to mention the many civilians left injured or orphaned by the war. The vast majority of these victims were ex-servicemen of foreign armies, and were deprived of any war compensation. Neither the Polish government nor the impoverished society could meet the disabled ex-servicemen’s medical and material needs; therefore, these men had to take responsibility for themselves and started cooperatives and war-invalids-owned enterprises. A social collaboration between Poland and America, rare in Europe at that time, was initiated by the Polish community in the United States to help blind ex-servicemen in Poland.

Matthew Oram, Efficacy and Enlightenment: LSD Psychotherapy and the Drug Amendments of 1962

The decline in therapeutic research with lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in the United States over the course of the 1960s has commonly been attributed to the growing controversy surrounding its recreational use. However, research difficulties played an equal role in LSD psychotherapy’s demise, as they frustrated researchers’ efforts to clearly establish the efficacy of treatment. Once the Kefauver Harris Drug Amendments of 1962 introduced the requirement that proof of efficacy be established through controlled clinical trials before a drug could be approved to market, the value of clinical research became increasingly dependent on the scientific rigor of the trial’s design. LSD psychotherapy’s complex method of utilizing drug effects to catalyze a psychological treatment clashed with the controlled trial methodology on both theoretical and practical levels, making proof of efficacy difficult to obtain. Through a close examination of clinical trials performed after 1962, this article explores how the new emphasis on controlled clinical trials frustrated the progress of LSD psychotherapy research by focusing researchers’ attention on trial design to the detriment of their therapeutic method. This analysis provides a new perspective on the death of LSD psychotherapy and explores the implications of the Drug Amendments of 1962.

Edgar Jones, Neuro Psychiatry 1943: The Role of Documentary Film in the Dissemination of Medical Knowledge and Promotion of the U.K. Psychiatric Profession

In 1943, Basil Wright produced a documentary film about the treatment of servicemen and civilians with psychological disorders at Mill Hill Emergency Medical Service Hospital. Funded by the Ministry of Information, Neuro Psychiatry was shot to convince influential clinicians and policy makers in North America that the British had developed expertise in the management of psychiatric casualties. By emphasizing novel and apparently effective interventions and excluding severe or intractable cases from the film, Wright encouraged an optimistic sense of achievement. Filmed at a time when victory was considered an eventual outcome, the picture presented a health service to which all had access without charge. Children and unemployed women, two groups excluded under the 1911 National Insurance Act, had been required to pay for healthcare in the prewar period and were shown receiving free treatment from the Emergency Medical Service. However, the therapeutic optimism presented in the film proved premature. Most U.K. battle casualties arose in the latter half of the conflict and follow-up studies failed to confirm the positive outcome statistics reported in the film. Aubrey Lewis, clinical director of the hospital, criticized research projects conducted at Mill Hill for a lack of rigor. The cinematographic skills of Wright and director Michael Hankinson, together with their reformist agenda, created a clinical presentation that emphasized achievements without acknowledging the limitations not only of the therapies offered by doctors but also the resources available to a nation at war.


Announcement: After Freud Left wins book prize


The University of Chicago Press book, After Freud Left: A Century of Psychoanalysis in America, with contributions by Jean-Christophe Agnew, Ernst Falzeder, Elizabeth Lunbeck, George Makari, Louis Menand, Dorothy Ross, Sonu Shamdasani, Richard Skues, and Hale Usak-Sahin, edited by John Burnham, has won the Courage to Dream book prize of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

New book – “Trials of Passion: Crimes in the Name of Love and Madness” (Lisa Appignanesi)

This book journeys into the heart of dark passions and the crimes they impel. When passion is in the picture, what is criminal, what sane, what mad or simply bad? Brighton, 1870: A well-respected spinster infuses chocolate creams with strychnine in order to murder her lover’s wife. Paris, 1880: A popular performer stalks her betraying lover through the streets of the city for weeks and finally takes aim. New York, 1906: A millionaire shoots dead a prominent architect in full view of a theatre audience. Through court and asylum records, letters and newspaper accounts, this book brings to life a period when the psychiatric professions were consolidating their hold on our understanding of what is human. An increasingly popular press allowed the public unprecedented insight into accounts of transgressive sexuality, savage jealousy and forbidden desires. With great story-telling flair, Lisa Appignanesi teases out the vagaries of passion and the clashes between the law and the clinic as they stumble towards a (sometimes reviled) collaboration. Sexual etiquette and class roles, attitudes to love, madness and gender, notions of respectability and honour, insanity and lunacy, all are at play in that vital forum in which public opinion is shaped – the theatre of the courtroom.

Lisa Appignanesi is a prize-winning writer, novelist, broadcaster and cultural commentator.  A Visiting Professor at King’s College London, she is former President of the campaigning writers association, English PEN, and Chair of London’s Freud Museum.  She will be taking part in the Swindon Literature Festival next month. For more information, see the festival website.

For a recent review of Trials of Passion in The Telegraph, click here.


New issue of “History of the Human Sciences”

F1.mediumA new issue of History of the Human Sciences is available online. The April issue 2014 contains following articles that may interest readers of h-madness.

Mical Raz, Deprived of touch: How maternal and sensory deprivation theory converged in shaping early debates over autism.

In 1943, a distinguished child psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University, Leo Kanner, published what would become a landmark article: a description of 11 children who suffered from a distinct disorder he called ‘infantile autism’. While initially quite obscure, in the early 1950s Kanner’s report garnered much attention, as clinicians and researchers interpreted these case studies as exemplifying the ill-effects of maternal deprivation, a new theory that rapidly gained currency in the United States. Sensory deprivation experiments, performed in the mid-1950s, further complicated the picture, as experts debated whether maternal deprivation was unique or simply a form of environmental stimulation. As experts strove to make sense of this new disorder, they relied on concepts of maternal and sensory deprivation, both to promote their own theories and to critique or refute those of their colleagues. This interplay between the two theories also informed new forms of intervention, including ‘rage reduction therapy’, which served as a precursor for controversial forms of therapy today termed as the ‘attachment therapies’. This article sheds light on a little-known aspect of the history of autism, and examines the far-reaching effect popular etiological theories have in shaping debates over emerging medical concerns.

David Pilgrim, Historical resonances of the DSM-5 dispute: American exceptionalism or Eurocentrism?

This article begins with arguments evident at the time of writing about the 5th revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association. The historical lineages of those arguments are international and not limited to the USA (the current focus in the DSM-5 controversy). The concern with psychiatric diagnosis both internationally and in the USA came to the fore at the end of the Second World War with the construction of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-I) and the World Health Organization’s classification of ‘Diseases, Injuries and Causes of Death’ (ICD-6). However, the linkage between categories of morbidity, assumptions about natural biological categories and treatment specificity with ‘magic bullets’ emerged in the middle of the 19th century in physical medicine. This article explores the legitimacy of current psychiatric diagnoses in the light of that international, not national, history of medical knowledge. In conclusion it explores judgements about current cultural imperialism (at times made about US psychiatry) and an older picture of Eurocentrism, which is now being refracted in more recent globalizing knowledge-claims about mental disorder.


New issue of “History of Psychiatry”

F1.mediumA new issue of History of Psychiatry is available online. The March issue 2014 contains the following articles:
Andreas-Holger Maehle: The powers of suggestion: Albert Moll and the debate on hypnosis

The Berlin physician Albert Moll (1862–1939) was an advocate of hypnotic suggestion therapy and a prolific contributor to the medical, legal and public discussions on hypnotism from the 1880s to the 1920s. While his work in other areas, such as sexology, medical ethics and parapsychology, has recently attracted scholarly attention, this paper for the first time comprehensively examines Moll’s numerous publications on hypnotism and places them in their contemporary context. It covers controversies over the therapeutic application of hypnosis, the reception of Moll’s monograph Der Hypnotismus (1889), his research on the rapport between hypnotizer and subject, his role as an expert on ‘hypnotic crime’, and his views on the historical influence of hypnotism on the development of psychotherapy. My findings suggest that Moll rose to prominence due to the strong late-nineteenth-century public and medical interest in the phenomena of hypnosis, but that his work was soon overshadowed by new, non-hypnotic psychotherapeutic approaches, particularly Freud’s psychoanalysis.

Harry Oosterhuis: Mental health, citizenship, and the memory of World War II in the Netherlands (1945–85)

After World War II, Dutch psychiatrists and other mental health care professionals articulated ideals of democratic citizenship. Framed in terms of self-development, citizenship took on a broad meaning, not just in terms of political rights and obligations, but also in the context of material, social, psychological and moral conditions that individuals should meet in order to develop themselves and be able to act according to those rights and obligations in a responsible way. In the post-war period of reconstruction (1945–65), as well as between 1965 and 1985, the link between mental health and ideals of citizenship was coloured by the public memory of World War II and the German occupation, albeit in completely different, even opposite ways. The memory of the war, and especially the public consideration of its victims, changed drastically in the mid-1960s, and the mental health sector played a crucial role in bringing this change about. The widespread attention to the mental effects of the war that surfaced in the late 1960s after a period of 20 years of public silence should be seen against the backdrop of the combination of democratization and the emancipation of emotions.

Ana Antic: Therapeutic Fascism: re-educating Communists in Nazi-occupied Serbia, 1942–44

This article probes the relationship between psychoanalysis and right-wing authoritarianism, and analyses a unique psychotherapeutic institution established by Serbia’s World War II collaborationist regime. The extraordinary Institute for compulsory re-education of high-school and university students affiliated with the Communist resistance movement emerged in the context of a brutal civil war and violent retaliations against Communist activists, but its openly psychoanalytic orientation was even more astonishing. In order to stem the rapid spread of Communism, the collaborationist state, led by its most extreme fascistic elements, officially embraced psychotherapy, the ‘talking cure’ and Freudianism, and conjured up its own theory of mental pathology and trauma – one that directly contradicted the Nazi concepts of society and the individual. In the course of the experiment, Serbia’s collaborationists moved away from the hitherto prevailing organicist, biomedical model of mental illness, and critiqued traditional psychiatry’s therapeutic pessimism.

Laura Allison and Joanna Moncrieff: ‘Rapid tranquillisation’: an historical perspective on its emergence in the context of the development of antipsychotic medications

This paper examines factors involved in the theory and practice of emergency sedation for behavioural disturbance in psychiatry in the mid-twentieth century, and the emergence of the concept of ‘rapid tranquillisation’. The practice received little attention until the arrival of antipsychotic drugs, which replaced older sedatives and became the agents most strongly associated with the treatment of aggression and challenging behaviour. Emergency sedation was subsequently portrayed in psychiatric literature and advertising as a therapeutic and diagnosis-driven endeavour, and the concept of rapid tranquillisation emerged in this context in the 1970s. Use of non-antipsychotic sedatives, like the benzodiazepines, is barely visible in contemporary sources, and the research suggests that antipsychotics became the mainstay of rapid tranquillisation strategies because of beliefs about their specific therapeutic properties in psychosis and schizophrenia, and not because of demonstrated superiority over other agents.

Niall McCrae: Resilience of institutional culture: mental nursing in a decade of radical change

Mental nursing has continued to be neglected in the history of psychiatry. This paper considers the impact of a decade of radical developments on the role and outlook of nurses in British mental hospitals during the 1930s. The Mental Treatment Act 1930 introduced voluntary admission for early, supposedly treatable cases, although there was paucity of effective treatment. In the mid-1930s shock therapies, administered with great enthusiasm by asylum doctors, promised to cure insanity by physical means. Although these were important milestones in the progress of psychiatry, for the majority of nurses and patients life continued much as before. Despite advances in training, working conditions and therapeutic activity, the institutional culture of nursing was remarkably resilient to the forces of change.

Jan Dirk Blom: When doctors cry wolf: a systematic review of the literature on clinical lycanthropy

This paper provides an overview and critical reassessment of the cases of clinical lycanthropy reported in the medical literature from 1850 onwards. Out of 56 original case descriptions of metamorphosis into an animal, only 13 fulfilled the criteria of clinical lycanthropy proper. The remaining cases constituted variants of the overarching class of clinical zoanthropy. Forty-seven cases involved primary delusions, and nine secondary delusions on the basis of somatic and/or visual hallucinations which may well have affected the patients’ sense of physical existence, also known as coenaesthesis. Cases of secondary delusions in particular warrant proper somatic and auxiliary investigations to rule out any underlying organic pathology, notably in somatosensory areas and those representing the body scheme.

Olga Alexandrovna Vlasova and Dr Allan Beveridge: Karl Jaspers’ phenomenology in the light of histological and X-ray metaphors

The study considers the origins of Karl Jaspers’ phenomenology. What did phenomenology mean to Jaspers and what was his personal perspective? What metaphors did he associate with it? This paper describes his phenomenological method by using the metaphors of histology and the X-ray. This perspective enables a better understanding, not only of the origins and essence of his phenomenology but also of its value for Jaspers himself. In Jaspers’ daily life, he would have been familiar with microscopes and X-ray machines.

CfP: History of Melancholy Conference (Heidelberg, October 2014)

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

Call for Abstracts for an International Conference at the University of Heidelberg

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

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, literature 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 betweendifferent 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 inthese transnational processes of knowledge transfer and circulation of melancholy concepts
  • the circulation and application of certain practices concerning health and knowledgewhich 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 will 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
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