Archive for March, 2015

Hidden Persuaders: Brainwashing, Culture, Clinical Knowledge and the Cold War Human Sciences


Under the direction of Daniel Pick, the Birkbeck College project ‘Hidden Persuaders: Brainwashing, Culture, Clinical Knowledge and the Cold War Human Sciences’, has launched a website with an accompanying blog:

Upcoming events and announcements include the following:

14 May seminar with Catalina Bronstein
Prof. Catalina Bronstein will lead a seminar on “Working in Fear: Memories of Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis during the Argentinian Dictatorship.” This seminar will be held from 11:45-13:30 on Thursday, 14 May, at Birkbeck. Catalina Bronstein is a Visiting Professor in the Psychoanalysis Unit, Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology within the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences (PALS) at University College, London where she is the coordinator of the MSc seminars on Melanie Klein. She is a Training Analyst and Supervisor and a Fellow of the British Psycho-Analytical Society. Prof. Bronstein originally trained in Medicine and became a Psychiatrist in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She will be speaking about her experiences as a psychiatrist during Argentina’s ‘Dirty War.’
21 May seminar with Robert Jay Lifton
Robert Jay Lifton will lead a seminar on Thursday, 21 May at Birkbeck. Prof. Lifton is a psychiatrist and well-respected author of many books, including Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism (1961) and The Nazi Doctors (1986). Prof. Lifton will speak on his early research on Chinese ‘thought reform’ – exploring what this can tell us about what he calls ‘totalism’ – and his study of the psychological and ethical issues surrounding the atomic attack on Hiroshima. He will reflect on his psychohistorical research methods, including the development of his interview approach, use of psychoanalytical principles, and his perspective on the psychoanalytical movement in America.
Doctoral Studentship—deadline 1 July
The project’s website has announced a doctoral studentship. Students interested in applying for this can find more information here:


Book announcement – Rencontres, thérapie et création

27574100061500LChristophe Boulanger, Anouck Capte et Catherine Denève viennent de publier un livre sur la relation entre Henry Bauchau, écrivain et thérapeute, et Lionel, un de ses patients. Le quatrième de couverture indique: Continue reading

Témoin de l’histoire de la folie

jour-etude-archives-220Compte tenu des contraintes économiques et spatiales entourant la conservation des archives médicales, une réflexion commune s’impose sur les enjeux et pratiques courantes liés à l’exploitation de ces archives d’une valeur scientifique et sociale incontestable. Or, un dossier médical peut aussi bien parler à un historien, un sociologue, un anthropologue, un psychiatre qu’il renseigne le médecin, l’infirmière ou le patient sur le suivi clinique et les traitements proposés. Généralement devenu caduc pour le personnel hospitalier après la fin du suivi médical, il prend une tout autre importance et signification entre les mains des chercheurs qui y puisent notamment le sens de la pratique médicale d’hier à aujourd’hui, ou encore l’évolution des réactions sociales face aux comportements identifiés comme relevant de problèmes de santé mentale. Continue reading

New Issue – Histoire, médecine et santé


The new issue of the French journal Histoire, médecine et santé is dedicated to mental health. It contains the following articles

  • Stéphanie PACHE, Introduction. Les rapports entre théories et pratiques en santé mentale. Pour une dialectique heuristique
  • Silvia CHILETTI, Infanticide and Mental Illness: Theories and Practices involving Psychiatry and Justice (Italy 19th-20th century)
  • Elisabetta BASSO, L’épistémologie clinique de Ludwig Binswanger (1881-1966) : la psychiatrie comme « science du singulier »
  • Vincent PIDOUX, Psychotrope, dépression et intersubjectivité : l’épistémologie clinique de Roland Kuhn ou le faire science de la psychiatrie existentielle
  • Emilie BOVET, Mobiliser l’histoire pour mieux visibiliser les enjeux actuels de la recherche sur le cerveau
  • Camille JACCARD, Point d’orgue. Pratiques et théories dans le champ de la santé mentale : quelle histoire ?

New book by Edward Shorter: “What Psychiatry Left Out of the DSM-5” (2015)

Historian of psychiatry Edward Shorter, author of numerous books including A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac (1997); Before Prozac. The Troubled History of Mood Disorders in Psychiatry (2009) and How Everyone Became Depressed: The Rise and Fall of the Nervous Breakdown (2013), has published a new book:

What Psychiatry Left Out of the DSM-5

Historically-Based Mental Disorders and the DSM: What Psychiatry Left Out covers the diagnoses that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) failed to include, along with diagnoses that should not have been included, but were. Psychiatry as a field is over two centuries old and over that time has gathered great wisdom about mental illnesses. Today, much of that knowledge has been ignored and we have diagnoses such as “schizophrenia” and “bipolar disorder” that do not correspond to the diseases found in nature; we have also left out disease labels that on a historical basis may be real. Edward Shorter proposes a history-driven alternative to the DSM.

For more information, click here.

To access the author’s interview on H-Madness, click here.

BBC 3 “Madness in Civilisation, Night Walking” program with Lisa Appignanesi, Andrew Scull

In this new BBC Radio 3 programme, Matthew Sweet talks to Andrew Scull, author of Madness in Civilisation, about how different cultures around the world and through time have dealt with what we might call madness, insanity or the loss of reason and how the experience, felt or observed, has been interpreted by writers and artists. They are joined by Lisa Appignanesi, author of Trials of Passion and Mad, Bad and Sad to discuss whether the west’s long-term belief that madness had its roots in the body was bad news for women.

Matthew Beaumont also presents his history of an ancient crime but one still on the statute books of Massachussetts – Night Walking. Via the pens of Samuel Johnson who blamed London’s noxious night hours on arrogant aristocrats, to William Blake’s evocations of London’s Darkness, Free Thinking hears from those who had nothing in common with their slumbering fellows and who like Charles Dickens, enjoyed a time that brought some sense of better things, else forgotten and unattainable. Alongside, Deborah Longworth with a view of the flaneuse, the female solitary ambler and a pen-portrait of Dorothy Richardson whose relationship with the city of London outweighed all other passions in her life.

To access the programme, click here.

Esprit – Aux bords de la folie

Screenshot from 2015-03-10 07:59:56

Esprit, the French literary magazine, dedicates its March-April 2015 issue to ‘Madness’. Several articles may be interesting for our readers: Nicolas Henckes on the sectorisation, Sophie Rohe on how Esprit has covered psychiatry and madness in the last 60 years, Marc-Olivier Padis on the psychiatrist Gladys Swain, Didier Fassin on the link between prison and asylum…

For more information, click here.

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