Archive for April, 2016

Registration now open – “Medicine and Modernity in the Long Nineteenth Century” (Oxford, Sept. 2016)

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Medicine and Modernity in the Long Nineteenth Century
St Anne’s College, University of Oxford
Saturday 10 – Sunday 11 September 2016

Saturday 10 September

9.00        Arrivals and registration

9.30        Welcome and Introduction

9.45        Keynote lecture: Christopher Hamlin, What is your Complaint?  Health as Moral Economy in the Long Nineteenth Century

11.00     Coffee break

11.30     Panel sessions

Session A: The Making of Psychological Identities

Mikko Myllykangas, Suicide as a Sign of Modernity and its Criticism in Finnish Suicide Discourse in the 19th Century

Bernhard Leitner, The Mirror Stage of Pathology: Trajectories of Psychiatric Concepts in the Making of Modern Japan

Katariina Parhi, Dangerous Age of Nervousness: Modernity, Crime, and Legal Responsibility

Session B: Medical Marketing

Alice Tsay, Pills for Our Ills: Patent Medicine Marketing and the Formation of Global Modernity

Lesley Steinitz, Swallowing Modernity: Advertising a Nerve-Strengthening Food

Sophie Ratcliffe, “Giovanni’s got some splendid pills!” Daisy Miller and the ‘Virus of Suggestion’

Session C: Disseminating Scientific Knowledge

Andrew Mangham, William Gaskell, Sanitary Reform and the Diseases of Modern Manchester

Jeffrey Zalar, Strain: Catholic Reactions to Science in Germany, 1840–1914

Jens Lohfert Jørgensen, Bacteriological Modernism

1.00        Lunch

2.00        Panel sessions

Session A: Illness and Politics

Laurens Schlicht, The Revolutionary Shock: The French Revolution and the Medical Construction of the Modern Subject (France, 1800–1830s)

Alex Chase-Levenson, Sanitation and Civilization: The Eastern Question and the Plague

Daphne Rozenblatt, Political Origins of the Modern Psychopath

Session B: Maintaining Health Abroad

Jennifer Kain, ‘Few can benefit more than the over-taxed and over-worried brain worker’: 19th-Century Voyages for Health

Daniel Simpson, Poison Arrows and Unsound Minds: Medical Encounters in the Victorian South Pacific

Angharad Fletcher, Sex, Drugs and Suicide: Nursing Encounters on the ‘Frontiers’ of Empire, 1880–1914

Session C: Masculinity, Modernity, and Mental Health

Amy Milne-Smith, “I have Overworked my Brain”: Men’s Relationship to Work in Modern Britain

Philippa Lewis, An Outdated Emotion? Feeling Shy in fin-de-siècle France

Matthew Klugman, Football Fever – A Disease of Modern Life?


3.30        Coffee break

4.00        Panel sessions

Session A: Sick Landscapes

Erin Lafford, ‘Your vile fenny atmosphere’: Clare’s Fenlands and Climatic Susceptibility

Manon Mathias, Excrement and Infectious Disease in the Late 19th-Century French Novel

Keir Waddington, Drought, Disease, and Modernity in Rural Wales, c.1880–1914

Session B: Health, Disease, and Technology

David Trotter, Digital Disease: Communication in the Telegraph Era

Projit Mukharji, Metaphoric Modernity: Railways, Telegraphs and the New Ayurvedic Body in Victorian Bengal

Galina Kichigina, Electrical Therapy for the Heart: German Scientific Medicine and British Physiology. The Cases of Hugo von Ziemssen and John MacWilliam

Session C: Fatigue

Laura Mainwaring, Deficiency of the Vital Forces: The Rhetoric of Overwork in the 19th-Century Medical Marketplace

Susan Matt and Luke Fernandez, Focus and Fatigue: Cerebral Hyperaemia and the Perils of Specialized Knowledge in 19th-Century America

Steffan Blayney, ‘Drooping with the century’: Fatigue and the fin-de-siècle

5.30        Break

6.00        Drinks reception

7.00        Dinner in St Anne’s Dining Hall


Sunday 11 September

9.30        Panel sessions

Session A: Children’s Health and Disease

Mallory Cohn, Modern Complaints: Victorian Precocity and the Regulation of the Child

Steven Taylor, Imperfect Bodies: The Waifs and Strays Society, Childhood Disability, and Improvement

Jutta Ahlbeck, The Nervous Child and the Disease of Modernity

Session B: Illness, Identity, and Migration

Brad Campbell, Neurasthenia and the New Negro: The 19th-Century Psychiatric Origins of a Modern American Type

Sally Swartz, Migration, Dislocation and Trauma: The Case of Jewish Immigrants to Cape Colony during the 19th Century

Jessica Howell, Enervated India: Tropical Neurasthenia and the Fictions of Empire

Session C: The Body and Modernity

Agnes Arnold-Foster, Pathology of Progress: Cancer in 19th-Century Britain

Helen Goodman, Symptoms of Stress and the Modern Man of Science

F.E. Thurston, The (Re-) Discovery of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in the 19th Century

11.00     Coffee break

11.30     Panel sessions

Session A: Physical Culture and the Regulation of the Body

Zachary Turpin, “Manly Health and Training”: Whitman’s Long-Lost Guide to Fitness and 19th-Century Anxieties about Physiological Purity and Perfectibility

Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Anorexia Nervosa: Modernity and Appetite

Alexander Pyrges, Corpulence as an Affliction of the Modern World. Medical and Popular Views in 19th-Century Germany

Session B: Nervousness

Sonsoles Hernández Barbosa, Diversification or Sensory Unification? Ideas around the Evolution of the Senses in fin-de-siècle Culture

Michael Guida, Sonic Therapy: Harmony for Disordered Nerves

David Freis, Preventing Mental Illness in One’s Sleep: Nervousness, Psychiatric Prophylaxis and the Invention of Mental Hygiene in fin-de-siècle Germany

Session C: Medical Practitioners

Sam Nesamony, Medical Philanthropy: ‘Medical Chest’ and ‘Touring Clinics’ of Missionaries in Colonial India

Torsten Riotte, Science, Technology and Individual Responsibility: The Professional, Judicial and Public Debate about Medical Negligence during the 19th Century

Carol-Ann Farkas, The Woman Doctor as Medical and Moral Authority: Nervous Disorders, Purity Campaigns, and Gender Relations in Helen Brent, MD

1.00        Lunch

2.00        Panel sessions

Session A: Rhythmic and Non-Rhythmic Bodies

Laura Marcus, Rhythm and Adaptation in the Machine Age

Karen Chase, Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

Josephine Hoegaerts, Victims of Civilization: Recording, Counting and Curing Stammerers in 19th-Century Western Europe

Session B: Addiction

Alessia Pannese, Sense and Sensibility in 19th-Century Addiction

Thembisa Waetjen, Habit-Forming Substances and Medicinal Modernities in Colonial South Africa, 1885–1910

Douglas Small, Cocaine, Technology, and Modernity, 1884–1914

Session C: Understanding and Managing Psychiatric Disorder

Kristine Swenson, Phrenology as Neurodiversity: The Fowlers and Modern Brain Disorders

Alfons Zarzoso, A New Medicine for the Insane in a Modern and Industrial Barcelona

Susan Sidlauskas, Picturing/Narrating the ‘Voluntary Boarder’ at Holloway Sanatorium c.1890

3.30        Coffee break

4.00        Keynote lecture: Laura Otis, What’s at Stake in Judging the Health and Pathology of Emotions?

5.00        Conference close

For more information:

CFP – Matters of the Mind: The Materialities of Mental Ill-Health and Distress

CFP: Matters of the Mind: The Materialities of Mental Ill-Health and Distress

Edited by Anna Lavis, University of Birmingham and Karin Eli, University of Oxford

From medications to diagnostic manuals, somatic sensations to brain images, the landscape of mental health and illness is replete with diverse materialities. Against the background of a wider ‘material turn’ across the social sciences and humanities, this edited collection will offer the first text on mental ill-health and distress from a materialities perspective. Cross-disciplinary explorations of personhood and subjectivity have engendered nuanced understandings of lived experiences of mental ill-health and distress. Explorations of these as socio-culturally patterned have been accompanied by an attention to social marginalisation and structural inequalities. This has highlighted the dynamics of stigma and the structural contexts of mental ill-health and suffering. Scholars across the social sciences and humanities have also undertaken theoretical and applied evaluations of diagnostic and treatment processes, and the reach of their global flows. Yet, although these existing cross-disciplinary strands of thought have all acknowledged the roles of material environments, discourses, and substances, to date none has drawn the myriad clinical, symbolic, and mundane (im)materialities of mental health, illness, and distress to the fore of analysis.

The editors of this volume are interested in soliciting chapters that explore how an attention to materialities offers a novel critical lens onto otherwise obscured aspects of mental ill-health and distress, ranging in focus from the intimate and individual, to the cultural and societal.

With a particular emphasis on engaging with lived experiences, we welcome contributions from scholars within anthropology and sociology; medical humanities; critical and cultural theory; critical psychiatry, psychology and public health; history; literary studies; architecture and design; science and technology studies; and geography. Relevant topics may include, but are not restricted to, the following:

· Object(ive)s of psychiatry: the materialities of diagnosis and treatment.

· Global flows of psychiatry’s objects: texts, pharmaceuticals, diagnostic and treatment devices.

· The materia medica of healing and (self-)care, both clinical and mundane.

· Somatic and experiential (im)materialities: voice hearing and visions.

· Bodies and minds: corporeal materialities and embodied subjectivities of distress.

· Materialities of neuroscience and the ‘new genetics.’

· Spaces and places of suffering and care: clinics, homes, neighbourhoods.

Interested authors are invited to submit an abstract of approximately 250 words, accompanied by a bio of 100 words, to Anna Lavis ( by May 22nd. If accepted, submissions of no more than 8,000 words each (including abstract, notes, and references) must be submitted by December 2016.

Spring events in honour of John Forrester (1949-2015)

colloque_forresterTo honour the memory of John Forrester, renowned historian of psychoanalysis and the human sciences who passed away in late 2015, two conferences are being held this spring in Cambridge and Paris:

THE JOHN FORRESTER CASE (Cambridge, 18 May 2016)


Simon Schaffer and Liba Taub to Chair

9.15 Arrival: Coffee/Tea will be served in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science

9.45 Welcome: Liba Taub and Simon Schaffer

10.15 Session 1: Boris Jardine, The master of the marginal annotation

10.25 Session 2: Bonnie Evans, John’s Insight and ability to raise new questions

10.40 Session 3: Alexandra Bacopoulos-Viau, John Forrester, Doktorvater

10.50 Session 4: Emm Barnes, The supervisor as psychoanalyst

10.55 Session 5: Leon Rocha, What does it have to do with my penis?

11.10 Break

11.30 Session 6: Richard Ashcroft

11.45 Session 7: Amanda Rees, John as a supervisor and rugby fan

12.00 Session 8: Julia Borossa, John’s vision of psychoanalysis and his gift as a supervisor

12.15 Session 9: Katherine Angel

12.25 Session 10: Matt Drage

12.45 Buffet Lunch will be served in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science

14.00 Session 11: Andreas Mayer, Thinking in cases and its ramifications for HPS

14.40 Session 12: Michael Molnar, Emails and the origins of psychoanalysis

15.00 Session 13: Laura Cameron, On generosity

15.15 Session 14: Jim Secord

15.20 Session 15: Nick Hopwood and colleagues, Generation to Reproduction

15.40 Session 16: Rich McKay, Tiree Love Song

15.45 Final words

16.15 Memorial in Kings College Hall and Afternoon Tea

17.45 Drinks Reception in the Whipple museum

20.00 Finish

REGISTRATION: to register email Registration is free but places are limited. When registering, please let us know if you have any special needs or dietary requirements.


Penser et écrire l’histoire de la psychanalyse et des sciences humaines: autour de l’œuvre de John Forrester

EHESS, Amphithéâtre François Furet (105, bd Raspail, 75006 Paris), 23 mai 2016

John Forrester (1949-2015) fut l’historien de la psychanalyse le plus marquant de sa génération. Depuis sa thèse sur les rapports entre les sciences du langage et la psychanalyse – publiée en 1980 – il s’attacha à inscrire celle-ci pleinement dans l’histoire des sciences. Des rencontres décisives avec Thomas Kuhn, Michel Foucault et Jacques Lacan (dont il traduisit les premiers séminaires en anglais), scandaient son parcours et inspiraient sa manière inimitable de faire dialoguer dans ses travaux et dans son enseignement plusieurs approches et traditions intellectuelles. Professeur au département d’histoire et de philosophie des sciences à l’université de Cambridge, sa renommée était internationale, la plupart de ses travaux étant traduits dans une dizaine des langues. Au moment de sa disparition prématurée, deux ouvrages importants (l’un consacré à l’histoire de la psychanalyse en Grande Bretagne et l’autre à son projet « Penser par cas ») furent presque achevés et paraîtront de façon posthume. Ce colloque est un hommage au travail de John Forrester : il présente les acquis et les ouvertures d’une œuvre qui nous invite à penser et à écrire l’histoire de la psychanalyse et des sciences humaines d’une nouvelle manière.


Coordination : Andreas Mayer (Centre Alexandre Koyré, CNRS-EHESS-MNHN)

e-mail :


10h00-11h00. Ouverture et Introduction

10h00-10h20 Antonella Romano (Paris, Directrice du CAK, EHESS)

10h20-11h00 Andreas Mayer (Paris CAK, CNRS), « What else can it be ? » Inscrire la psychanalyse dans l’histoire des sciences


11h00-12h30. Session 1 : Langages de la psychanalyse 

11h00-11h40 Alain Vanier (Université de Paris 7), John Forrester et le temps de Lacan

11h40-12h20 Dany Nobus (University of Brunel), Translating Lacan: On John Forrester’s rendition of Lacan’s First Public Seminar


13:30-15:30. Session 2 : Penser par cas 

13h30-14h10 Gianna Pomata (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore), Styles of Reasoning and Epistemic Genres

14h10-14h50 Leon Rocha (University of Liverpool), Western Science and the Chinese Case

14h50-15h30 Jacqueline Carroy (Paris CAK, EHESS), Penser par cas ou penser en terme d’affaire? l’exemple des phénomènes de possession de Morzine (années 1860)


15h30-16h00 Pause café


16h00-18h00. Session 3 : Le siècle de Freud. Topographies, généalogies 

16h00-16h40 Nathalie Richard (Université du Maine, Le Mans), Archéologie et psychanalyse : quelques pistes pour une histoire croisée

16h40-17h20 Elizabeth Lunbeck (Harvard University), Hidden in Plain Sight:  Finding Psychoanalysis in Unexpected Places

17h20-18h00 Matt ffytche (University of Essex), John Forrester’s The Freudian Century: a Passagenwerk for Psychoanalysis?


18h00-18h30. Session finale

Lisa Appignanesi (London) en dialogue avec Andreas Mayer (Paris)





Charcot, Hysteria & La Salpêtrière

Screenshot from 2016-04-20 06-23-06

The forthcoming exhibition at the Royal Society of Medicine Library is entitled: Charcot, Hysteria, & La Salpêtrière.

Jean Martin Charcot (1825 – 1893) was appointed physician to the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris in 1862 and remained working there for the rest of his professional life. This exhibition concentrates on Charcot’s controversial theories regarding hysteria, the patients at the Salpêtrière who were diagnosed with this problematic condition, and its depiction in the visual arts especially photography.

It runs from 3 May 2016 – 23 July 2016

Admission free

Open to all

Dissertations – Hans Asperger and the Ward for Therapeutic Pedagogy of the Viennese University’s Children’s Clinic

Ina Friedmann: Hans Asperger and the Ward for Therapeutic Pedagogy (Heilpädagogische Abteilung) of the Viennese University’s Children’s Clinic. Concepts and continuities in the institutional treatment of children categorized as ‘maladjusted’ between 1911 and 1977.


Patients at the Ward for Therapeutic Pedagogy, 1920s (Josephinum, Sammlungen und Geschichte der Medizin, MedUni Wien, Sign. MUW-FO-S-004464-0082)

The Ward for Therapeutic Pedagogy of the Viennese University’s Children’s Clinic was a central institution from its opening in 1911 onwards concerning diagnosis and treatment of children and youth, who were labeled ‘difficult’, ‘maladjusted’ or to be in ‘need of education’. Science and institutional care were converging and interacting with socially widespread opinions. The Ward was founded under participation of pediatrician Erwin Lazar (1877-1932), who headed it until his death. He was succeeded by Valerie Bruck (1894-1963), who had been working at the Ward since 1923 and then led it until 1935. In this year, Hans Asperger (1906-1980), best known for describing the Asperger Syndrome, replaced her and stayed in this position until 1957, when Paul Kuszen (*1920) took over until 1985. It was especially Asperger who influenced not only the treatment of so-called ‘difficult’ children by decades of work in therapeutic pedagogy, but also had an impact on how those children and youth were perceived in the public as well as social and medical institutions. Already shortly after the opening of the Ward a close cooperation with the Youth Welfare Office, Juvenile Court, schools, children’s and correctional education homes and similar institutions was established, but also parents soon made use of the possibility of having children examined there.

The reasons for acceptance to the Ward were manifold and besides school and educational problems of any kind also included petty crimes, enuresis, masturbation, (sexual) violence, ‘vagrancy’ and ‘neglect’, but also epilepsy, speech disorders or the clarification of fits. The personnel of the Ward consisted of doctors, nurses, but also pedagogues and, from the 1920s onwards also of a psychologist. This correlated with Lazar’s conception of therapeutic pedagogy, who postulated the equal concurrence of pediatrics, pedagogy, psychology and psychiatry with the task to liberate children of their alleged ‘behavioral problems’ by the means of individually applied pedagogical-therapeutic methods.

This thesis focuses on the concepts which were used in the diagnosis, or rather judgment, therapy and further treatment of the patients. It tries to establish which scientific opinions on ‘social abnormity’ were dominating in the research period of 1911 to 1977, and if and how they changed. Therefore, the medical records of the Ward of the first half of the 20th century are the foundation of the thesis, allowing insight into the institutional treatment of children who were judged as ‘abnormal’ and ‘deviant’. Thus, it is also possible to contribute to the history of ‘institutionalized childhood’ in Austria.

Ina Friedmann is writing her thesis at the University of Vienna and is currently working at the University of Innsbruck.


New Issue – Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences


The latest issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Science is out and contains at least one article that may interest readers of h-madness.

“My resisting getting well’: neurasthenia and subconscious conflict in patient-psychiatrist interactions in prewar America, by Susan Lamb

This study examines experiences of individual patients and psychiatrists in the Henry Phipps Psychiatric Clinic at Johns Hopkins between 1913 and 1917. The dynamics of these patient-psychiatrist interactions elucidate the well-known conceptual shift in explanations of mental illness during the twentieth century, from somatic models rooted in the logic of “neurasthenia” and damaged nerves to psychodynamic models based on the notion of “subconscious conflict.” A qualitative analysis of 336 cases categorized as functional disorders (a catchall term in this period for illnesses that could not be confirmed as organic diseases), shows that patients explained their symptoms and suffering in terms of bodily malfunctions, and, particularly, as a “breakdown” of their nervous apparatus. Psychiatrists at the Phipps Clinic, on the other hand, working under the direction of its prominent director, Adolf Meyer, did not focus their examinations and therapies on the body’s nervous system, as patients expected. They theorized that the characteristic symptoms of functional disorders—chronic exhaustion, indigestion, headaches and pain, as well as strange obsessive and compulsive behaviors—resulted from a distinct pathological mechanism: a subconscious conflict between powerful primal and social impulses. Phipps patients were often perplexed when told their physical symptoms were byproducts of an inner psychological struggle; some rejected the notion, while others integrated it with older explanations to reconceptualize their experiences of illness. The new concept also had the potential to alter psychiatrists’ perceptions of disorders commonly diagnosed as hysteria, neurasthenia, or psychoneuroses. The Phipps records contain examples of Meyer and his staff transcending the frustration experienced by many doctors who had observed troubling but common behaviors in such cases: morbid introspection, hypochondria, emotionalism, pity-seeking, or malingering. Subconscious conflict recast these behaviors as products of “self-deception,” which both absolved the sufferer and established an objective clinical marker by which a trained specialist could recognize functional disorder. Using individual case studies to elucidate the disjunction between patients’ and psychiatrists’ perspectives on what all agreed were debilitating illnesses, this analysis helps to illuminate the origins of a radical transformation in psychiatric knowledge and popular culture in the twentieth century—from somatic to psychodynamic explanations of mental illness.

The Cost of Insanity: Public, Voluntary and Private Asylum Care in Nineteenth-Century Ireland

Screenshot from 2016-04-13 08-28-00

The Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland has its own Media Lab to diffuse its results. The latest podcast may interest the readers of h-madness. Under the title, “The Cost of Insanity: Public, Voluntary and Private Asylum Care in Nineteenth-Century Ireland”, Alice Mauger tells a financial history of psychiatry.

How did Irish medical practitioners and lay people interpret and define mental illness? What behaviours were considered so out of the ordinary that they warranted locking up, in some cases never to return to society? Did exhibiting behaviour that threatened land and property interests, the financial success of the family or even just that which caused embarrassment eclipse familial devotion and render some individuals ‘unmanageable’?

The nineteenth century saw the evolution of asylum care in Ireland. While Jonathan Swift famously left most of his fortune to found Ireland first lunatic asylum in 1746, it would be 70 years before the government followed his lead. In 1817 it enacted legislation permitting districts throughout Ireland to form asylums and by 1900, twenty-two such hospitals accommodated almost 16,000 patients. Growing demand for care for other social groups prompted the decision, in 1870, to admit some fee-paying patients, charged between £6 and £24 per annum, depending on their means. Out of this 16,000 only around 3% actually paid for their care. Private asylums, meanwhile, charged extremely high fees that were out of reach for the majority of society (usually several hundred pounds per year) and by 1900, thirteen private asylums housed 300 patients. Occupying a sort of middle ground, voluntary asylums, established by philanthropists, offered less expensive accommodation to those who could not afford high private asylum fees (from around £24 to a few hundred pounds). By 1900, these four voluntary asylum had outstripped the thirteen private ones, providing for 400 patients.

To listen to the podcast, click here.

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