Archive for May, 2016

New Issue – Transcultural Psychiatry

home_coverThe latest issue of Transcultural Psychiatry contains an article on the history of cultural psychiatry by Emmanuel Delille from the Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin.

On the history of cultural psychiatry: Georges Devereux, Henri Ellenberger, and the psychological treatment of Native Americans in the 1950s

Henri Ellenberger (1905–1993) wrote the first French-language synthesis of transcultural psychiatry (“Ethno-psychiatrie”) for the French Encyclopédie Médico-Chirurgicale in 1965. His work casts new light on the early development of transcultural psychiatry in relation to scientific communities and networks, particularly on the role of Georges Devereux (1908–1985). The Ellenberger archives offer the possibility of comparing published texts with archival ones to create a more nuanced account of the history of transcultural psychiatry, and notably of the psychological treatment of Native Americans. This paper examines some key moments in the intellectual trajectories of Devereux and Ellenberger, including Devereux’s dispute with Ackerknecht, the careers of Devereux and Ellenberger as therapists at the Menninger Foundation (Topeka, Kansas) in the 1950s, and their respective positions in the research network developed by McGill University (Montreal, Quebec) with the newsletter Transcultural Research in Mental Health Problems. Finally, I consider their ties to other important figures in this field as it transitioned from colonial medicine to academic medicine, including Roger Bastide (France), Henri Collomb and the Ortigues (France and Africa), as well as Eric Wittkower and Brian Murphy (Canada) and Alexander Leighton (United States and Canada).

Psychoanalysis in the Age of Totalitarianism: Panel Discussion and Launch (London, June 2016)

Below please find information about a book launch for Psychoanalysis in the Age of Totalitarianism, which contains a lengthy discussion between John Forrester and Eli Zaretsky about telling the history of psychoanalysis in the twentieth century.

psa and totalitarianism

(*IMPORTANT* 18 JUNE UPDATE: Please note that the event below is a ticket event, by invitation. People can apply to attend by emailing Hidden Persuaders <>)

Psychoanalysis in the Age of Totalitarianism

Edited by Matt ffytche, Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex, UK and Daniel Pick, Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, Birkbeck University of London, UK

Series: The New Library of Psychoanalysis ‘Beyond the Couch’ Series

Much of the important early growth of psychoanalysis took place against the backdrop of the rise of fascism, the Second World War and the Cold War. This atmosphere, in which totalitarianism flourished, was hugely significant for the development of psychoanalytic theory and practice. Here, internationally renowned psychoanalysts, historians and cultural theorists explore the impact of this political and social background on psychoanalysis, and of psychoanalysis on our subsequent understanding of the war and the totalitarian systems after 1945. They look at how lessons drawn from this era can help us understand the interplay between politics, culture and psychoanalysis now.

20% Discount Available – enter the code IRK71 at checkout*

Contributors Include: Sally Alexander, Ana Antic, John Forrester, Stephen Frosh, Dagmar Herzog, Derek Hook, Joel Isaac, Ruth Leys, Erik Linstrum, Peter Mandler, Knuth Müller, Jacqueline Rose, Michael Rustin, Michal Shapira, Lyndsey Stonebridge, Ross Truscott, and Eli Zaretsky.

For more details, or to request a copy for review, please contact: Paulina Miller, Marketing Assistant,


(*IMPORTANT* 18 JUNE UPDATE: Please note that this event is a ticket event, by invitation. People can apply to attend by emailing Hidden Persuaders <>)


Thursday, 30 June 2016, 6pm to 8.30pm

Wine reception at the Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1H 0PD

Professor Catherine Hall, University College, London
Dr Nicholas Temple, President of the British Psychoanalytical Society
Dr D’Maris Coffman, UCL (Bartlett)
Professor Alessandra Lemma, Series editor, New Library of Psychoanalysis, and BPS Dr Matt ffytche, Director of the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, Essex
Professor Daniel Pick, Birkbeck College and BPS

will be in conversation about the themes of the book (from 6.45pm)

This event is hosted by the Hidden Persuaders project. Space is limited. Please email to reserve tickets.

New Blog on the History of Mental Health (Chiara Thumiger)


Historian of medicine Chiara Thumiger has begun a new blog examining the stories and histories of mental health from the ancient world to contemporary times. She is the author of numerous articles on the history of madness in the ancient world, and her new monograph – a study of mental life and mental disorders in fifth- and early fourth-century medical thought – will soon be published by Cambridge University Press.

Dr. Thumiger is presently Research Fellow at Warwick University, where she holds a Wellcome Trust grant in Medical Humanities and is collaborating with experts in the Department of Classics in ancient Greek and Arabic medicine.

The blog promises to offer a number of resources for historians of madness and mental health. One especially novel example – an ancient medical diseases symptom checker. Just fill out an assessment test, and find out how an ancient physician might diagnose your patient.

Neue Ausgabe: Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft

zfg_05_2014In der aktuellen 5. Ausgabe der Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft im Jahr 2016 publizierte Stephanie Coché von der Universität Köln einen psychiatriehistorisch relevanten Artikel. Der Titel lautet: Über die Grenzen der Normalität. Psychiatrische Einweisungen in der frühen Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der DDR (S. 446-463.)

Zur weiteren Lektüre finden Sie hier ein Interview mit der Autorin zu ihrer Dissertation Psychiatrie und Gesellschaft. Psychiatrische Einweisungspraxis im ‚Dritten Reich‘, in der DDR und der BRD (1941-1963).

La pathologie du suicide
 Pour une nouvelle histoire des enjeux médicaux et socio-politiques aux 19e-20e siècles

Screenshot from 2016-05-20 18-20-36

Date: Lundi 13 juin 2016, 9h-17h30

Lieu: Institut universitaire d’histoire de la médecine et de la santé publique (IUHMSP)

Salle de colloques de l’IUHMSP

82, av. de Provence

CH-1007 Lausanne

Tél. secrétariat : (+41) 21 314 70 50

Dès sa dépénalisation en France au tournant du 19e siècle, le statut du suicide se transforme en un objet médical. Cette transformation relève des nouveaux développements médicaux, mais aussi d’une collaboration entre le médical, le politique et le juridique.

En élargissant les frontières de son expertise et son champ d’action, la médecine cherche à circonscrire, définir, prévenir et soigner ce phénomène complexe. Dans ce colloque, il s’agira de comprendre comment s’est construit cet objet médical et, plus précisément, comment cette construction a été influencée voire définie par d’autres discours non médicaux, notamment juridique, journalistique et littéraire, moral et politique.

Concrètement, nous étudierons comment certaines institutions, comme la prison, la justice et la presse, ont été concernées par cette nouvelle distribution des savoirs.

Continue reading

BPS/UCL Talk – “Psychiatrists, psychiatry and the colonial state in the first half of 20th century India”

acc-bpsAdvances in the History of Psychology announced the next talk a seminar series hosted by The British Psychological Society‘s History of Psychology Centre in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines: On May 31st, Shilpi Rajpal (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali) will be speaking on “Psychiatrists, Psychiatry and the Colonial State in the first half of Twentieth Century India.”

Abstract: By the mid-20th century some psychiatrists were performing important roles in transforming the nature of psychiatry in India. Wider exposure to international trends was an important feature of 20th-century psychiatry in India as its enthusiastic practitioners not only travelled widely but also experimented with new methods of treatment. These efforts were frequently confined to individuals and cannot be generalised. The colonial state maintained an apathetic attitude towards the mentally ill and mental illness. Nonetheless, the concept of a specialist emerged in this period. Some of these specialists dedicated their lives to the cause of studying insanity, and some of the central asylums became hubs for psychiatric deliberations. These deliberations were among these individuals and the colonial state. These negotiations were sometimes successful but at other times failed. What should be kept in mind is that innovation and interest depended entirely on the zeal of the superintendent-in-charge. His motivation was his own as the government did not have much stake in the process. The change also included bringing psychiatry in India in line with international developments in the field. These changes however should not be understood in terms of teleological growth. The paper attempts to analyse the novelties in terms of psychoanalysis and other international factors, such as the mental hygiene movement. It focuses on debates in the official circles, and juxtaposes these individual efforts to governmental attempts to revamp the psychiatric infrastructure.

Location: Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, University College London.

Time: 6-7:30pm

Directions: From the Torrington Place entrance to UCL, enter the campus on Malet Place. After fifty metres, you wind Foser Court on the right hand side. Turn right under the underpass, and enter via the second door on the right. The common room is straight ahead.

New Issue: Canadian Bulletin of Medical History

cbmh.33.issue-1.coverIn the Spring 2016 Issue of the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History two articles and two book reviews concern the history of psychiatry. The articles’ abstracts in english and french can be found below. As for the book reviews: Sarah Glassford is writing about Hyperactive: The Controversial History of ADHD by Matthew Smith, Delphine Peiretti-Courtis about L’Empire des hygiénistes. Vivre aux colonies by Olivier Le Cour Grandmaison.


Johanne Collins & David Hughes: Entre médecine, culture et pensée sociopolitique : le concept de dégénérescence au Québec (1860–1925)

La présente étude se penche sur les rapports entre la psychiatrie, la culture et la pensée sociopolitique au Québec. Notre approche s’inspire des travaux de Mark Micale sur le concept d’hystérie en France. Dans The Mind of Modernism, Micale démontre l’omniprésence de l’hystérie dans l’imaginaire collectif français au tournant du siècle. Notre objectif est de déterminer si un concept psychiatrique a pu jouer un rôle semblable au Québec à la même période. Nous démontrons que le concept de dégénérescence a pénétré la nosographie officielle, les publications médicales, les revues, la fiction ainsi que les discours sociopolitiques québécois.


In The Mind of Modernism, Mark Micale demonstrates the ubiquity of the concept of hysteria in the French imagination at the turn of the century. Taking this approach as our starting point, our study attempts to determine if the notion of degeneration played a similar role in the interactions of psychiatry, culture and politics in Quebec. Our analysis of a variety of historical sources demonstrates that the concept of degeneration did indeed penetrate aspects of psychiatric nosology, medical literature, news media, fiction, and political discourse in Quebec.

C. Elizabeth Koester: An Evil Hitherto Unchecked: Eugenics and the 1917 Ontario Royal Commission on the Care and Control of the Mentally Defective and Feeble-Minded

In 1917, the Ontario government appointed the Royal Commission on the Care and Control of the Mentally Defective and Feeble-Minded, headed by Justice Frank Hodgins. Its final report made wide-ranging recommendations regarding the segregation of feeble-minded individuals, restrictions on marriage, the improvement of psychiatric facilities, and the reform of the court system, all matters of great concern to the eugenics movement. At the same time, however, it refrained from using explicitly eugenic vocabulary and ignored the question of sterilization. This article explores the role the commission played in the trajectory of eugenics in Ontario (including the province’s failure to pass sterilization legislation) and considers why its recommendations were disregarded.

En 1917, le gouvernement de l’Ontario met sur pied la Commission royale d’enquête sur les soins et le contrôle des déficients mentaux et des faibles d’esprit, présidée par M. Frank Hodgins. Son rapport final propose un éventail de recommandations portant sur la ségrégation des individus faibles d’esprit, sur les restrictions au mariage, sur l’amélioration des instituts psychiatriques, ainsi que sur la réforme du système judiciaire; autant de sujets au coeur des préoccupations des mouvements eugénistes. En revanche, il s’abstient d’utiliser un vocabulaire spécifiquement eugéniste et ignore la question de la stérilisation. Cet article explore le rôle joué par la commission dans le parcours de l’eugénisme en Ontario (incluant l’échec de la province à adopter une loi sur la stérilisation) et considère les raisons ayant mené au rejet de ses recommandations. Il soutient qu’en évitant la question de la stérilisation eugéniste, la commission a volontairement fait dévier le débat de cette question délicate et a cherché à attirer l’attention publique sur d’autres domaines de réforme sociale. Ce faisant, la commission a ultimement contribué à l’échec de l’Ontario à adopter une loi sur la stérilisation inspirée par l’eugénisme.

For the table of contents of the whole issue, click here.

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