Archive for April, 2017

New book – Freedom and the Cage: Modern Architecture and Psychiatry in Central Europe, 1890–1914

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The book Freedom and the Cage: Modern Architecture and Psychiatry in Central Europe, 1890–1914 written by Leslie Topp could be of interest to H-madness readers. It is published by Penn State University Press as part of the series Buildings, Landscapes, and Societies. The abstract reads:

Spurred by ideals of individual liberty that took hold in the Western world in the late nineteenth century, psychiatrists and public officials sought to reinvent asylums as large-scale, totally designed institutions that offered a level of freedom and normality impossible in the outside world. This volume explores the “caged freedom” that this new psychiatric ethos represented by analyzing seven such buildings established in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy between the late 1890s and World War I.

In the last two decades of the Habsburg Empire, architects of asylums began to abandon traditional corridor-based plans in favor of looser formations of connected villas, echoing through design the urban- and freedom-oriented impulse of the progressive architecture of the time. Leslie Topp considers the paradoxical position of designs that promoted an illusion of freedom even as they exercised careful social and spatial control over patients. In addition to discussing the physical and social aspects of these institutions, Topp shows how the commissioned buildings were symptomatic of larger cultural changes and of the modern asylum’s straining against its ideological anchorage in a premodern past of “unenlightened” restraint on human liberty.

Working at the intersection of the history of architecture and the history of psychiatry, Freedom and the Cage broadens our understanding of the complexity and fluidity of modern architecture’s engagement with the state, with social and medical projects, and with mental health, psychiatry, and psychology.

Conference – Les infirmières de la folie (8 May 2017, Montréal) and launch of the special issue of Santé Mentale au Québec

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On the 8th of May 2017 there will be a conference in Montreal titled Les infirmières de la folie. Histoire et évolution des soins infirmiers en psychiatrie au sein de l’espace francophone. Below you find the abstract and the programme of the conference. For more information see the ACFAS website.

During the conference the special issue of Santé Mentale au Québec on l’archive psychiatrique will be launched. The issue is coordinated by Marie-Claude Thifault, Isabelle Perreault, Alexandre Klein and Jean Caron.

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New issue – Bulletin of the History of Medicine

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The Bulletin of the History of Medicine published its first issue of 2017 and includes at least two articles that could be of interest to H-madness readers.

Benjamin Zajicek, ‘Banning the Soviet Lobotomy: Psychiatry, Ethics, and Professional Politics during Late Stalinism’. The abstract reads:
This article examines how lobotomy came to be banned in the Soviet Union in 1950. The author finds that Soviet psychiatrists viewed lobotomy as a treatment of “last resort,” and justified its use on the grounds that it helped make patients more manageable in hospitals and allowed some to return to work. Lobotomy was challenged by psychiatrists who saw mental illness as a “whole body” process and believed that injuries caused by lobotomy were therefore more significant than changes to behavior. Between 1947 and 1949, these theoretical and ethical debates within Soviet psychiatry became politicized. Psychiatrists competing for institutional control attacked their rivals’ ideas using slogans drawn from Communist Party ideological campaigns. Party authorities intervened in psychiatry in 1949 and 1950, persecuting Jewish psychiatrists and demanding adherence to Ivan Pavlov’s theories. Psychiatrists’ existing conflict over lobotomy was adopted as part of the party’s own campaign against harmful Western influence in Soviet society.
Jennifer Lynn Lambe, ‘Revolutionizing Cuban Psychiatry: The Freud Wars, 1955–1970’. The abstract reads:
This article traces the battle over Freud within Cuban psychiatry from its pre-1959 origins through the “disappearance” of Freud by the early 1970s. It devotes particular attention to the visit of two Soviet psychiatrists to Cuba in the early 1960s as part of a broader campaign to promote Pavlov. The decade-long controversy over Freud responded to both theoretical and political concerns. If for some Freud represented political conservatism and theoretical mystification, Pavlov held out the promise of a dialectical materialist future. Meanwhile, other psychiatrists clung to psychodynamic perspectives, or at least the possibility of heterogeneity. The Freudians would end up on the losing side of this battle, with many departing Cuba over the course of the 1960s. But banishing Freud did not necessarily make for stalwart Pavlovians—or vanguard revolutionaries. Psychiatry would find itself relegated to a handmaiden position in the work of revolutionary mental engineering, with the government itself occupying the vanguard.

 

H-madness goes finally social!

 

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We are glad to announce that H-madness finally joined social media. You can now find us on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to like and follow us to stay updated about our latest posts!

The H-madness team

New book – Governing Habits: Treating Alcoholism in the Post-Soviet Clinic

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The book Governing Habits: Treating Alcoholism in the Post-Soviet Clinic by Eugene Raikhel could be of interest to H-madness readers. The abstract on the website of Cornell University Press reads:

Critics of narcology—as addiction medicine is called in Russia—decry it as being “backward,” hopelessly behind contemporary global medical practices in relation to addiction and substance abuse, and assume that its practitioners lack both professionalism and expertise. On the basis of his research in a range of clinical institutions managing substance abuse in St. Petersburg, Eugene Raikhel increasingly came to understand that these assumptions and critiques obscured more than they revealed. Governing Habits is an ethnography of extraordinary sensitivity and awareness that shows how therapeutic practice and expertise is expressed in the highly specific, yet rapidly transforming milieu of hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation centers in post­-Soviet Russia. Rather than interpreting narcology as a Soviet survival or a local clinical world on the wane in the face of globalizing evidence-based medicine, Raikhel examines the transformation of the medical management of alcoholism in Russia over the past twenty years.

The website New Books Network also did an interview with the author. You can listen to this 60-minute podcast here.

This information was retrieved from the blog Advances in the history of psychology.

New Facebook Site for Hidden Persuaders Project

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The Hidden Persuaders is a research project based at Birkbeck, University of London that examines the history of brainwashing and persuasion in culture, clinical knowledge and the Cold War human sciences. It has now established a Facebook site (https://www.facebook.com/hiddenpersuaders1) as well.  The newest post links to a piece written by h-madness editor Andreas Killen entitled “Grey Walter in the Age of Brainwashing.”

New article – Alexandre Klein, De la scientificité de la psychiatrie francophone. Unité linguistique et continuité historique des représentations de la santé mentale au Québec entre 1948 et 1960

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The first 2017 issue of Histoire, Économie & Société includes at least one article that may be of interest to h-madness readers. Alexandre Klein, ‘De la scientificité de la psychiatrie francophone. Unité linguistique et continuité historique des représentations de la santé mentale au Québec entre 1948 et 1960‘. The abstract reads:

Contre une tradition historiographique qui sépare les psychiatries québécoises anglophone et francophone pour mieux affirmer le retard scientifique et thérapeutique de cette dernière, cet article s’attache à démontrer la scientificité des recherches psychiatriques francophones dans le Québec des années 1950. Pour ce faire, il analyse un corpus d’articles de psychiatres québécois francophones publiés dans différentes revues médicales canadiennes entre 1948 et 1960, afin de mettre en lumière la continuité et l’unité de l’histoire de la santé mentale dans cette province canadienne.

 

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