Archive for April, 2015

Book announcement – Arbeitsrhythmus und Anstaltsalltag

Screenshot from 2015-04-30 20:33:44Monika Ankele and Eva Brinkschulte have edited a book on the notion of “work” in German psychiatry from the early 19th century to national socialism. On the book cover, the two editors explain the topic of the book:

Wie kein anderes Behandlungskonzept hat die Arbeit dem als therapeutisches Mittel die Anstaltspsychiatrie von Beginn an begleitet und hat noch heute – wenn auch in stark veränderter Form – ihren festen Platz im Therapieangebot psychiatrischer Einrichtungen. Trotz dieses herausragenden Stellenwerts, den sie einnahm und einnimmt, ist sie bisher kaum erforscht. Dieser Band bietet nun erstmals einen historischen Überblick über das therapeutische Konzept von Arbeit und dessen Bedeutung für die Behandlung  psychisch Kranker seit dem frühen 19. Jahrhundert bis in die NS-Zeit. Die Beiträge beleuchten quellennah und mit unterschiedlichen Schwerpunkten die Praxis der Arbeitstherapie in einzelnen Anstalten und setzen diese in den Kontext der politischen, ökonomischen und sozialen Strategien ihrer Zeit. So werden Brüche und Kontinuitäten des arbeitstherapeutischen Konzepts, sich wandelnde Zielsetzungen wie auch die vielfältigen Effekte seiner Anwendung sichtbar. Soziologische und philosophische Annäherungen erweitern Konzept zudem den Blick auf die unterschiedlichen Konzepte von Arbeit und ihrer Funktionalisierung durch die Psychiatrie.

To get more information, click here.

Obituary: Norman Dain (1926-2015)

One of the leading American historians of psychiatry, Norman Dain, Emeritus Professor of History at Rutgers University and a member of the DeWitt Wallace Institute for the History of Psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, passed away on April 16, 2015 at the age of 89. He is survived by his wife Phyllis Dain, and his son Bruce Russell Dain.

Dain’s relationship with the DeWitt Wallace Institute for the History of Psychiatry began in 1958. While completing his doctorate degree at Columbia University, Dain was appointed research fellow in the History of Psychiatry at the Payne Whitney Clinic and worked alongside director, Dr. Eric T. Carlson from 1958 to 1961. Norman was a devoted member of the Institute for over half a century, and retired as Adjunct Professor of History in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College.

An eminent scholar, Professor Dain published widely over the course of his career. His research interests included the American mental hygiene movement, the intellectual history of early American psychiatry, and the history of the anti-psychiatry movement. His three books were Clifford W. Beers: Advocate for the Insane (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1980); Disordered Minds: the First Century of Eastern State Hospital in Williamsburg, Va., 1766-1866 (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, University Press of Virginia, 1971); and his important work, Concepts of Insanity in the United States, 1789-1865 (Rutgers University Press, 1964). He received numerous honors, including a Guggenheim fellowship and the Benjamin Rush Award of the American Psychiatric Association.

Warm, wise, and deeply knowledgeable, Norman Dain was one of the guiding lights to the Cornell’s History Section as it developed into the DeWitt Wallace Institute. He will be greatly missed.

George J. Makari, M.D.

(To see the New York Times obituary, click here.)

New Issue – Ab Imperio

cover_medThe “rather obscure” (quoting the reader who called our attention to it) Russian journal, Ab Imperio published in its latest number in 2014 four articles dealing with psychiatry in the early Soviet Union. Please find below the titles and abstracts of the papers.

Forum: Sociobiological Science in the Early Soviet Union – Guest Editors: Elena Astafieva and Wladimir Berelowitch

Elena Astafieva and Wladimir Berelowitch, “Humanities and Social Sciences in the Russian Empire and the USSR: An Unwritten History,” Ab Imperio 4 (2014): 94-135. [subscription required]

This introduction to the forum places its contributions into a larger context of debates about dynamics in the fields of humanities and social sciences in imperial Russia and the Soviet Union. This research perspective informed the focus ofthe collaborative research project “The Constitution of Humanities and Social Sciences in Russia: Networks and Circulations of Models of Knowledge from the Eighteenth Century to the 1920s.” The primary impetus for the project’s organizers came from the French academic tradition, specifically, studies of”cultural transfers,” or to use the terminol­ogy preferred by some project participants, “histoire croisee” or cultural circulation that have been popular since the 1980s. Of no less importance was the desire to modify this paradigm by introducing the approaches of imperial history and the repertoire of research problems characterizing studies of Soviet modernity.

Continue reading

Trinity Term 2015 – Research Seminars in the History of Medicine, Oxford

H_ccf91f7a4aThe Trinity Term 2015 Seminar Series of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, is this year dedicated to ‘Medicine and Modern Warfare’ and has several topics that may interest the readers of h-madness.

Week 1 – 27 April
Ben Shephard, Bristol
‘Culture, politics or biology? How does American PTSD relate to European war trauma?’

Week 2 – 4 May
Bank Holiday – No Seminar Continue reading

Religion & Anti-psychiatry in Imperial Germany

111146d0H-Madness co-editor Eric Engstrom will be speaking on “Pastoral Psychiatry and Irrenseelsorge: Religious Aspects of the Anti-psychiatry Debates in Imperial Germany.” at the BPS History of Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series on Monday, 20 April. The abstract reads:

Historians of psychiatry have often enough interpreted the relationship between psychiatry and religion within narrative frameworks that focus on diagnoses and treatments (religious madness, exorcism) or that emphasise broader historical processes such as secularisation, medicalisation, and biologisation. While there is considerable merit to such frameworks, recent critiques of the secularisation paradigm have suggested a larger place for religion and spirituality in late 19th-century urban culture than is often assumed. The work of the American historian Edward R. Dickinson in particular has reminded us of the enduring influence and inertia of conservative Christian organisations in shaping moral discourse and social policy in the Kaiserreich.

My paper examines more closely the interdisciplinary topography between psychiatric and religious professionals, mapping out some of the common terrain on which they cooperated and/or disagreed with one another. In particular, I will examine debates about the place of religion in 19th-century asylum culture and the role of the so-called ‘Irrenseelsorger’. Against this backdrop and drawing especially on examples from Berlin, I will then explore efforts by religious organisations to expand their role in psychiatric after-/extramural care and show how those efforts contributed decisively to a nascent ‘anti-psychiatry’ movement in the years leading up to World War One.

For more information have a look at the blog Advances in the History of Psychology.

Book announcement – Les antipsychiatries : une histoire

Electre_978-2-7381-3179-9_9782738131799Jacques Hochmann, psychiatre et psychanalyste, spécialiste de l’enfance, est entre autres auteur d’une Histoire de la psychiatrie dans la collection Que sais-je. Dans un nouveau livre, il s’intéresse à l’histoire de l’antipsychiatrie.La quatrième de couverture annonce:

L’histoire de la psychiatrie est indissociable de celle d’une antipsychiatrie. Jacques Hochmann met ici au jour le constant balancement entre critiques et réactions, entre démarches « alternatives » et reprises en main qui a habité la psychiatrie depuis ses origines. Analysant en particulier l’antipsychiatrie anglaise ainsi que la psychiatrie démocratique italienne des années 1970, il retrace aussi tous les mouvements qui, dès le XIXe siècle, se sont opposés à la médecine officielle, aux pratiques thérapeutiques attentatoires aux libertés, à l’asile d’aliénés rebaptisé hôpital psychiatrique, etc. Il propose enfin les bases scientifiques qui pourraient permettre de sortir de ce combat permanent. Une relecture complète de l’histoire de la psychiatrie qui permet d’éclairer les débats actuels.

News: FDA recognizing “drinking less” an an acceptable outcome

Top of counter Bar with Blurred beer bottle Restaurant Interior

Writer Anne Fletcher has written a piece describing a change in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) criteria for an acceptable outcome in the treatment of alcohol abuse.  As Fletcher notes:

… [the] FDA issued an official draft to guide development of drugs for the treatment of “alcoholism” that allows not only for abstinence as an outcome of studies showing efficacy of medications for their approval for clinical use but also allowing for a pattern of reduced drinking – described as “no heavy drinking days” – as an outcome.

(Many thanks to our reader Laura for drawing our attention to this).

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