Archive for November, 2014

This week in the NY Times: “Sybil: A Brilliant Hysteric?”

This week, columnist Clyde Haberman published a piece in the New York Times dealing with the fluidity of the Dissociative Identity Disorder diagnosis. The author chronicles its troubled past and uncertain future by making various references to the history of psychiatry.

The article is accompanied by a 12-minute video documentary entitled “Sybil: A Brilliant Hysteric?” which features archival footage and interviews with this story’s key protagonists.

Readers of H-Madness might also be interested in having a look at the accompanying comments, some of which read very like an ode to anti-psychiatry.

To access the piece and video, click here.

Postdoctoral Positions in Society and Neuroscience (Columbia University)

Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience

Columbia University is pleased to announce three postdoctoral positions for researchers who have earned the doctorate, or its equivalent, in a humanities or social science discipline—such as psychiatry, psychology, public health, law, history, economics, literature, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, journalism, music and the arts—and who have extensive acquaintance with and critical understanding of neuroscience research.  These Presidential Scholars will form the inaugural members of an innovative program that will eventually include nine postdoctoral positions and a large group of mentors and affiliated faculty from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

Over the last decade, Columbia University has assembled a distinguished group of neuroscientific researchers in the Zuckerman Mind, Brain, Behavior Institute which, with the infusion of new funds and a new building, stands poised to become one of the most important loci of neuroscience research in the world. Columbia University is committed to supplementing the groundbreaking experimental inquiry of the neuroscience faculty by systematic investigation into the conceptual underpinnings and the social foundations and consequences of such newly obtained knowledge.  The Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience will add the perspective of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences to intensify and broaden the neuroscientific research base and help advance transformative interdisciplinary research throughout the University.

The goal of this interdisciplinary experiment is to train and foster a new generation of scholars with the capacity to advance understanding of the humanist and social dimensions of mind, brain, and behavior.  In order to foster true interdisciplinary research, each Presidential Scholar will work very closely with two senior mentors, one drawn from neuroscience and the other from the humanities or social science discipline closest to the work of the scholar.  The Presidential Scholars, mentors, and affiliated faculty will meet bi-weekly throughout the academic year, inviting guest discussions from accomplished scholars around the world and serving as a locus for the Presidential Scholars’ presentation of their own work.

Successful applicants will be appointed in the Center for Science and Society at Columbia University.  Appointments will be made at the level of postdoctoral scholar or scientist, or associate research scholar or scientist, with a start date of July 1, 2015 for the 2015-16 academic year.  Renewal for the second and third years will be based on satisfactory performance.  The annual salary will be approximately $80,000, plus benefits.


Eligibility Requirements: Candidates must hold the doctoral degree by July 1, 2015 (and have received the doctorate after July 1, 2010) in a humanities or social science discipline, and must demonstrate extensive acquaintance with and critical understanding of an aspect of neuroscience.

Review of applications will begin on January 15, 2015 and will continue until the positions are filled.  All applications must be submitted through Columbia University’s online Recruitment of Academic Personnel System (RAPS) and must include:  a cover letter of application, curriculum vitae, dissertation abstract, writing sample of up to 30 pages (article or book chapter),  proposal for an interdisciplinary research project (or projects) that builds on your own disciplinary background and an aspect of neuroscientific research,  work sample or portfolio (if applicable – for applicants with a background in the Arts), and three letters of reference.   For more information and to apply, please go to

For questions about the application process, please contact

Columbia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.


Projection – Quand la Guerre rend fou

La Société d’Etudes et de recherches Historiques en Psychiatrie et sa présidente, Agnès Bertomeu ont l’honneur de vous inviter à une projection exceptionnelle de

« Quand la Guerre rend fou »

Documentaire réalisé par Gregory Laville et Jean-Yves Le Naour avec la contribution de la SERHEP

En présence de M. Louis Crocq

Samedi 22 novembre 16h30

Auditorium Médiathèque Saint-Exupéry

100, avenue du 8 mai 1945 à Neuilly sur Marne

Près de la place des Victoires, quartier des Fauvettes, bus 127 ou 113.

Entrée Libre

Louis Crocq : Médecin militaire de 1947 à 1987 (Algérie métropole, Val-de-Grâce, Bordeaux et Lyon) ensuite affecté aux services de recherche du Service de Santé des Armées, et à la Direction des Recherches, Etudes et Techniques ; puis médecin général consultant en psychosociologie au Secrétariat Général de la Défense Nationale à Paris.

Professeur associé (psychologie pathologique) à l’Université René Descartes (Paris V), jusqu’en 1995, il coordonne encore l’enseignement de deux diplômes d’université sur le stress et le traumatisme psychique. En 1995, au lendemain de l’attentat terroriste de la station de RER Saint-Michel à Paris, Louis Crocq est chargé par le Président de la République Jacques Chirac et le Ministre de l’Action humanitaire d’Urgence Xavier Emmanuelli de créer le réseau national des cellules d’urgence médico-psychologiques sur les 100 départements du territoire français. Actuellement président du Comité national de l’urgence médico-psychologique, Coordinateur scientifique du réseau euro-méditerranéen « CHILD TRAUMA NETWORK » pour le soutien psychologique des enfants traumatisés (action soutenue par la Commission Européenne, 2005-2006). Nommé consultant en février 2006 auprès de l’ONU (UNDSS consultative working group on stress management). Il est membre de l’International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, et de l’European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

Book announcement – A new biography on Freud by Elisabeth Roudinesco


Screenshot from 2014-11-16 18:02:43Elisabeth Roudinesco publishes a new biography on Sigmund Freud. Due to her central position in the French intellectual life – among others she regularly writes in Le Monde – this French historian and psychoanalyst has become a major actor in the never ending and sometimes very violent discussions on the legacy of Freud.

New Issue of Social History of Medicine

4.coverThe latest issue of Social History of Medicine contains at least one article that interests the readers of h-madness directly.

Mental Hygiene and Child Guidance in Post-war Greece: The Case of the Centre for Mental Health and Research, 1956–1970 by Despo Kritsotaki

This paper focuses on the Centre for Mental Health and Research, an organisation launched in Athens in 1956 and that is still operational today. Its story up to 1970 is analysed as a case study of the development of mental hygiene and child guidance in Greece, where international movements became relevant within the context of the social transformations of the post-war period. Seizing the opportunities created by the ‘modernisation’ of Greece and the anxiety around it, the Centre managed to secure funding and develop a number of services and activities. It is concluded that, although it was not successful in its broader social projects, it had an impact at the micro-level of the family and played a part in opening up new possibilities for the ‘psy’ disciplines in post-war Greece beyond the pathological and the hospital, so addressing the ‘normal’ individual and society as a whole.

Today (16 November) on BBC 3: Freud in Asia

BBC 3 Sunday Feature

Christopher Harding, John Gallagher

Documentaries presented by two of Radio 3’s New Generation Thinkers.


Christopher Harding explores the influence of Freud on psychotherapy in Japan and India. Freud’s travels around Europe and the USA a century ago catapulted psychotherapy to fame.

The invitations to Japan and India came too late for him to travel but he found his work debated throughout Asia. In India he was discussed by British colonial officers, who penned amateur tracts about Indian nationalism as mere sexual trauma.

Thousands of miles further east in Tokyo, Freud was partnered with a medieval Buddhist saint in the hybrid psychoanalytic technique of Heisaku Kosawa. Mishima read and was influenced by his work. Christopher Harding explores the spread of Freud’s influence and its significance.


John Gallagher focuses on the history of a long-overlooked form of literature: the foreign language phrase book. The British often assume that most people we meet abroad will speak English – and many of them do.

This was not the case three or four centuries ago, when the Grand Tour became a rite of passage and an increasing number of entrepreneurs forged trade links across Europe and beyond. At that time English was a minority language.

Phrase books and travel guides of the time reveal the preoccupations of the day and, in the varied dialogues and phrases they offered, reflect the needs of a variety of travellers, be they tourists keen to visit the art of Italy or the salons of Paris, merchants seeking to make deals in Dutch marketplaces, or spies intent on learning the secrets of continental powers.

Producers Fiona McLean and Mohini Patel

For more information:

Happy Birthday – History of Psychiatry

F1.mediumThe December 2014 issue of History of Psychiatry is now out. It’s number 100. Congratulations to the team that publishes the journal since 25 years. German E. Berrios makes a short introduction to the history of the journal, an article that can be downloaded for free. All the papers have been written by current members of the Editorial Board.

Some reflections on madness and culture in the post-war world by Andrew Scull

This article examines the treatment of madness as a theme in drama, opera and films, concentrating its attention for the most part on the period between World War II and the 1980s. These were the years in which psychoanalysis dominated psychiatry in the USA, and so Freud’s influence in the broader culture forms the central though not the sole focus of the analysis.

Nostalgia: a conceptual history by Filiberto Fuentenebro de Diego and Carmen Valiente Ots

The term nostalgia was first proposed in 1688 by Johannes Hofer as equivalent to the German term Heimweh. It referred to a state of moral pain associated with the forced separation from family and social environment. Consecutive clinical descriptions from the seventeenth century up to the present day have been subjected to the aetiopathogenic and clinical paradigms of each period. Golden-age descriptions of nostalgia that are of particular interest were derived from the observation of conscript soldiers in Napoleonic campaigns by authors such as Gerbois and Larrey. In 1909 Jaspers devoted his doctoral thesis to this topic (Nostalgia und Verbrechen). From a cultural history point of view, it could be considered today as an example of ‘transient illness’. The nosological relay has taken place through clinical pictures such as the pathology associated with exile, forced displacements and psychosis of captivity.

‘An atmosphere of cure’: Frederick Mott, shell shock and the Maudsley by Edgar Jones

Although recognized as a medical scientist, the work of Frederick Mott as a physician, educator and clinical policymaker has been overshadowed. As a late entrant to the asylum system, Mott questioned established practices of treating mentally-ill patients and campaigned for reform. During World War I, entrusted with the management of the Maudsley neurological section, he sought to raise clinical standards and experimented with a range of therapies designed to treat the most severe or intractable forms of shell shock. While Mott believed that psychiatric disorder was underwritten by inherited characteristics, he did not dismiss the impact of the environment. The diversity of his interests has led to an understatement of his contribution as a physician, not only to the design and founding of the Maudsley Hospital but also to the therapeutic regime practised there during the interwar period.

Langues et histoire de la psychiatrie by Jean Garrabé

Les historiens datent la naissance de la psychiatrie de l’époque où les médecins renoncent à utiliser le latin comme langue scientifique internationale. A partir de la fin du XVIIIe siècle ils publient désormais leurs travaux sur la pathologie mentale dans une langue européenne moderne comme l’anglais, le français, l’allemand, l’italien ou l’espagnol. Certains de textes publiés dans une de celles-ci d’entre sont traduits plus ou moins rapidement dans une ou plusieurs autres. Mais des textes importants ne le sont pas ou très tardivement; les nouveaux concepts psychopathologiques introduits restent méconnus des médecins qui ne connaissent pas la langue originale. Ils sont oubliés et les termes qui les désignent sont remplacés dans les classifications récentes des troubles mentaux par de nouvelles dénominations sans référence à une conception théorique du trouble initialement décrit. L’histoire de la psychiatrie doit étudier l’évolution dans le temps de ces termes traditionnels depuis leur premier emploi par un auteur dans une de ces langues modernes jusqu’à leur éventuel abandon actuel pour comprendre si celui-ci est justifié.

The birth of schizophrenia or a very modern Bleuler: a close reading of Eugen Bleuler’s ‘Die Prognose der Dementia praecox’ and a re-consideration of his contribution to psychiatry by Anke Maatz and Paul Hoff

After Eugen Bleuler introduced ‘schizophrenia’ in 1908, the term was hotly debated but eventually led to the abandonment of Kraepelin’s previous term ‘dementia praecox’. Bleuler’s contribution has subsequently been interpreted in two main ways. One tradition holds that Bleuler merely renamed ‘dementia praecox’ while conceptually continuing the Kraepelinian tradition. The other, focusing on Bleuler’s characterization of ‘dementia praecox’ in terms of specific psychological alterations, accredits him with a genuine re-conceptualization. Based on a close reading of ‘Die Prognose der Dementia praecox’, the paper in which Bleuler first mentioned ‘schizophrenia’, we suggest a further interpretation of Bleuler’s contribution and argue that the main motive for his re-conceptualization is to be found in his rejection of Kraepelinian nosology.

Madness as disability by Sander L Gilman

How does society imagine mental illness? Does this shift radically over time and with different social attitudes as well as scientific discoveries about the origins and meanings of mental illness? What happens when we begin to think about mental illness as madness, as a malleable concept constantly shifting its meaning? We thus look at the meanings associated with ‘general paralysis of the insane’ in the nineteenth century and autism today in regard to disability. In this case study we examine the claims by scholars such as the anthropologist Emily Martin and the psychiatrist Kay Jamison as to the relationship between mental illness, disability and creativity. Today, the health sciences have become concerned with mental illness as a form of disability. How does this change the meaning of madness for practitioners and patients?

Psychiatric ‘diseases’ in history by David Healy

A history of psychiatry cannot step back from the question of psychiatric diseases, but the field has in general viewed psychiatric entities as manifestations of the human state rather than medical diseases. There is little acknowledgement that a true disease is likely to rise and fall in incidence. In outlining the North Wales History of Mental Illness project, this paper seeks to provide some evidence that psychiatric diseases do rise and fall in incidence, along with evidence as to how such ideas are received by other historians of psychiatry and by biological psychiatrists.

Subjectivity in clinical practice: on the origins of psychiatric semiology in early French alienism by Rafael Huertas

The aim of this article is to contribute to the analysis of the origins of psychiatric semiology, which by emphasizing subjectivity in clinical practice, gave birth to psychopathology as the scientific and intellectual enterprise of alienism. In other words, beyond simple anatomical and clinical observation, there was an effort to ‘listen to’ and ‘read’ the patient’s delirium. In essence, the basic thesis which this short paper seeks to defend is that, despite a growing anatomical and clinical mind-set and a clear interest in physically locating mental illness within the body, during the Romantic period, psychiatry was able to construct a semiology largely based on the experience of the ego, on the inner world of the individual. This makes it possible to establish, from a clinical perspective, that the birth of alienism – of psychiatry – must be situated within the framework of a modernity in which the culture of subjectivity was one of its most characteristic features.

White men and weak masculinity: men in the public asylums in Victoria, Australia, and New Zealand, 1860s–1900s by Catharine Coleborne

This article reveals a set of formulations of masculine identity through the fragments of extant casebook evidence from nineteenth-century psychiatric institutions in Victoria, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand. It shows that some patterns in the identification of masculinity and insanity emerge, also highlighting the relevance of individual stories and ‘cases’ to fully understand how masculine identities were fashioned through medical institutional language.

The distinction between ‘Passion’ and ‘Emotion’. Vincenzo Chiarugi: a case study by Louis C Charland

The distinction between ‘passion’ and ‘emotion’ has been largely overlooked in the history of psychiatry and the psychopathology of affectivity. A version of the distinction that has gone completely unnoticed is the one proposed by Florentine physician Vincenzo Chiarugi (1759–1820). The purpose of the present discussion is to introduce this Italian version of the distinction and to inquire into its origins.

The ten most important changes in psychiatry since World War II by Mark S Micale

Writing the recent history of a subject is notoriously difficult because of the lack of perspective and impartiality. One way to gain insight and understanding into the recent past of a discipline of knowledge is to consult directly the living practitioners who actually experienced first-hand the major changing circumstances in the discipline during the period under study. This article seeks to explore the most significant changes occurring in Western, and especially American, psychiatry from the end of World War II up to the present by interrogating a representative selection of psychiatrists and psychologists about the subject. Over a three-year period, the author surveyed approximately 200 mental health experts on their perceptions of change in the world of psychiatric theory and practice during this enormously eventful 70-year period. After presenting the survey results, the article then attempts to analyse the answers that the author did (and did not) obtain from his poll-taking subjects.

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