Archive for August, 2017

New issue: Social History of Medicine

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The new issue of Social History of Medicine includes at least two articles that could be of interest to H-Madness readers:

Katariina Parhi and Petteri Pietikainen, Socialising the Anti-Social: Psychopathy, Psychiatry and Social Engineering in Finland, 1945–1968.

This article argues that in Finland during the two decades after the Second World War, the diagnosis of psychopathy represented a failed attempt to adjust ‘difficult’ individuals to the social order. Discussing the social and medical character of the diagnosis, we examine psychopathy using the analytic and historical framework of social engineering in post-war Finland. We utilise patient records, official documents and psychiatric publications and analyse the diagnostic uses of psychopathy and its associations with social maladjustment. We also address the question of how mental health care in the less-developed northern part of Finland grappled with behavioural deviance, and especially with behaviour deemed ‘anti-social’. Contextualising psychopathy as a marker of individual disorganisation within the development of social organisation, this article contributes to historical scholarship that maps mental disorders onto the historical development of the nation.

Concepts used by historians are as historical as the diagnoses or categories that are studied. The example of Munchausen syndrome (deceptive presentation of illness in order to adopt the ‘sick role’) is used to explore this. Like most psychiatric diagnoses, Munchausen syndrome is not thought applicable across time by social historians of medicine. It is historically specific, drawing upon twentieth-century anthropology and sociology to explain motivation through desire for the ‘sick role’. Ian Hacking’s concepts of ‘making up people’ and ‘looping effects’ are regularly utilised outside of the context in which they are formed. However, this context is precisely the same anthropological and sociological insight used to explain Munchausen syndrome. It remains correct to resist the projection of Munchausen syndrome into the past. However, it seems inconsistent to use Hacking’s concepts to describe identity formation before the twentieth century as they are given meaning by an identical context.

 

New issue: L’Évolution Psychiatrique

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The new issue of L’Évolution Psychiatrique includes multiple articles related to the history of psychiatry that could be of interest to H-Madness readers:

Jean Garrabé, La place de l’histoire dans l’enseignement de la clinique mentale

Jacques Hochmann, Réflexions sur les rapports entre l’histoire et la psychiatri

Thierry Haustgen, Les psychiatres historiens

Clément Fromentin, Pourquoi faire l’histoire de la psychiatrie ? Le cas de l’Évolution psychiatrique (1925–1985)

Hervé Guillemain, Le retour aux sources. Points de vue sur l’histoire sociale de la psychiatrie et de la maladie mentale

Thomas Lepoutre, La psychiatrie néo-kraepelinienne à l’épreuve de l’histoire. Nouvelles considérations sur la nosologie kraepelinienne

Loig Le Sonn, Le test d’intelligence Binet-Simon dans les asiles (1898–1908). L’invention d’une nouvelle pratique d’interrogatoire

Laurence Guignard, Crime et Psychiatrie. Antoine Léger, le lycanthrope : une étape dans la généalogie des perversions sexuelles (1824–1903)

Emmanuel Delille, Crise d’originalité juvénile ou psychose débutante ? Les représentations de l’adolescence « à risque » après-guerre en France et en Allemagne

Benoît Majerus, Fragilités guerrières – Les fous parisiens dans la Grande Guerre

Pierre Chenivesse and Manuella De Luca, Le théâtre du Grand Guignol et l’aliénisme

 

 

 

New Book: “Homo Cinematicus” (Andreas Killen)

Homo CinematicusHomo Cinematicus
Science, Motion Pictures, and the Making of Modern Germany

Andreas Killen

Andreas Killen, Professor of History at the City College of New York and the CUNY Graduate Center (and H-Madness co-editor), has a new book out entitled Homo Cinematicus. Science, Motion Pictures, and the Making of Modern Germany with University of Pennsylvania Press.

In the early decades of the twentieth century, two intertwined changes began to shape the direction of German society. The baptism of the German film industry took place amid post-World War I conditions of political and social breakdown, and the cultural vacuum left by collapsing institutions was partially filled by moving images. At the same time, the emerging human sciences—psychiatry, neurology, sexology, eugenics, industrial psychology, and psychoanalysis—began to play an increasingly significant role in setting the terms for the way Germany analyzed itself and the problems it had inherited from its authoritarian past, the modernizing process, and war. Moreover, in advancing their professional and social goals, these sciences became heavily reliant on motion pictures.

Situated at the intersection of film studies, the history of science and medicine, and the history of modern Germany, Homo Cinematicus connects the rise of cinema as a social institution to an inquiry into the history of knowledge production in the human sciences. Taking its title from a term coined in 1919 by commentator Wilhelm Stapel to identify a new social type that had been created by the emergence of cinema, Killen’s book explores how a new class of experts in these new disciplines converged on the figure of the “homo cinematicus” and made him central to many of that era’s major narratives and social policy initiatives.

Killen traces film’s use by the human sciences as a tool for producing, communicating, and popularizing new kinds of knowledge, as well as the ways that this alliance was challenged by popular films that interrogated the truth claims of both modern science and scientific cinema. In doing so, Homo Cinematicus endeavors to move beyond the divide between scientific and popular film, examining their historical coexistence and coevolution.

For more information about this book, click here.

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