Archive for October, 2017

New book – On the Other Hand. Left Hand, Right Brain, Mental Disorder, and History


The book On the Other Hand. Left Hand, Right Brain, Mental Disorder, and History  could be of interest to H-Madness readers. The book is written by Howard I. Kushner and published by John Hopkins University Press. The abstract on the publishers website reads:

Since the late Stone Age, approximately 10 percent of humans have been left-handed, yet for most of human history left-handedness has been stigmatized. In On the Other Hand, Howard I. Kushner traces the impact of left-handedness on human cognition, behavior, culture, and health.

A left-hander himself, Kushner has long been interested in the meanings associated with left-handedness, and ultimately with whether hand preference can even be defined in a significant way. As he explores the medical and cultural history of left-handedness, Kushner describes the associated taboos, rituals, and stigma from around the globe. The words “left” and “left hand” have negative connotations in all languages, and left-handers have even historically been viewed as disabled.

In this comprehensive history of left-handedness, Kushner asks why left-handedness exists. He examines the relationship—if any—between handedness, linguistics, and learning disabilities, reveals how toleration of left-handedness serves as a barometer of wider cultural toleration and permissiveness, and wonders why the reported number of left-handers is significantly lower in Asia and Africa than in the West. Written in a lively style that mixes personal biography with scholarly research, On the Other Hand tells a comprehensive story about the science, traditions, and prejudices surrounding left-handedness.

Workshop: Ajuriaguerra en héritage (7/11/17)

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The workshop Ajuriaguerra en héritage at CH Sainte-Anne could be of interest to H-Madness readers.

Le mardi 7 novembre 2017 (9h-13h). CH Sainte-Anne, Amphi Morel, rue Cabanis 1 – 75014 Paris.

Inscriptions: gratuite mais obligatoire auprès du service Communication. 


Cette demi-journée scientifique sera l’occasion d’approcher la richesse et la variété des champs de recherche et des enseignements dispensés par le Pr Julian de Ajuriaguerra, grande figure fondatrice de la neuropsychiatrie de l’enfant et de l’adolescent en France ayant exercé à Sainte-Anne de 1933 à 1959.

Le début de la matinée sera  consacrée aux films d’observation de bébés réalisés par l’équipe du Pr Julian de Ajuriaguerra, dans les années 1970-1980. Ces films proviennent du fonds d’archive de recherche de Marguerite Auzias, proche collaboratrice d’Ajuriaguerra durant 30 ans.

La seconde partie de la matinée permettra d’évoquer certaines pratiques cliniques et axes de recherche actuels, en vigueur à Sainte-Anne,  découlant directement de l’héritage d’Ajuriaguerra : il s’agira alors de s’intéresser aux enfants plus grands,  au moment où ils entrent dans les apprentissages, où ils se mettent à lire, à écrire et à compter…

Marguerite Auzias souhaitait que l’œuvre du Pr Julian de Ajuriaguerra puisse être transmise et comprise dans son originalité et l’importance capitale de son apport, aussi bien dans le domaine de la psychiatrie de l’adulte que dans celui de la neuropsychiatrie et neuropsychologie de l’enfant. Elle souhaitait également que soit conservé ce précieux héritage pour la formation scientifique, la recherche, la prévention et les thérapies en santé mentale et en éducation.

Situer cet héritage dans la clinique et la recherche contemporaines constitue l’ambition de notre matinée.

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New article – “Volksseuche” oder Randerscheinung? Die “Kokainwelle” in der Weimarer Republik aus medizinhistorischer Sicht


The new issue of Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin includes one article that could be of interest to H-Madness readers: Volksseuche” oder Randerscheinung? Die “Kokainwelle” in der Weimarer Republik aus medizinhistorischer Sicht by Hannes Walter. The abstract reads:

An empirical investigation refutes the popular conception that excessive drug usage was a widespread social phenomenon in the Weimar Republic. Although physicians warned the public and politicians of a “cocaine wave” that threatened the public health, there is no evidence that indicates a significant increase of cocaine use during the twenties. The decisive cause for this moral panic was caused instead by the disease pattern of “Cocainism”. The addiction carried the imprint of an infectious disease and would destroy the body, the will, and the civic life of its victims. According to medical doctrine, chronic cocaine consumption also produced the tendency towards deviant sexual activities and criminal activity. For this reason, the use of this substance was in particular linked to deviant social milieus like the so-called Bohemian or demimonde. However, historical sources in fact show that it was primarily a problem of the medical professions. Against the background of the desperate political, social and economic situation in Germany after the First World War, physicians regarded cocaine and morphine addictions as a threat to the hoped for political and biological renewal of the nation.


New book – Managing Madness Weyburn Mental Hospital and the Transformation of Psychiatric Care in Canada



The book Managing Madness.Weyburn Mental Hospital and the Transformation of Psychiatric Care in Canada by Erika Dyck and Alex Deighton that could be of interest to H-Madness readers. The abstract reads:

The Saskatchewan Mental Hospital at Weyburn has played a significant role in the history of psychiatric services, mental health research, and community care in Canada. Its history provides a window to the changing nature of mental health services over the twentieth century.

Built in 1921, the Saskatchewan Mental Hospital was billed as the last asylum in North America and the largest facility of its kind in the British Commonwealth. A decade later, the Canadian Committee for Mental Hygiene cited it as one of the worst institutions in the country, largely due to extreme overcrowding. In the 1950s, the Saskatchewan Mental Hospital again attracted international attention for engaging in controversial therapeutic interventions, including treatments using LSD.

In the 1960s, sweeping health care reforms took hold in the province and mental health institutions underwent dramatic changes as they began moving patients into communities. As the patient and staff population shrank, the once palatial building fell into disrepair, the asylum’s expansive farmland fell out of cultivation, and mental health services folded into a complicated web of social and correctional services.

Managing Madness examines the Weyburn mental hospital, the people it housed, struggled to understand, help, or even tried to change, and the ever-shifting understanding of mental health.


Conference – Les inventions de l’inconscient au XIXe siècle (13-14/10/17, Paris)


The Université Paris-Diderot organises a two-day conference titled Les inventions de l’inconscient au XIXe siècle (13 & 14 October 2017) that could be of interest to H-Madness readers. Below you find more information about the conference program.


Le substantif l’inconscient semble n’apparaître dans la langue française qu’en 1877, à la faveur de la traduction de la Philosophie de l’inconscient de Hartmann, qui marquera les écrivains français de la fin du XIXe siècle. Mais c’est l’ensemble de ce siècle qui voit se développer les usages de l’adjectif inconscient et, avec l’exploration des profondeurs de la psyché, un intérêt renouvelé pour les phénomènes en-deçà de la conscience. Un des points d’aboutissement de ce renouvellement sera à la fin du siècle l’apparition de la psychanalyse, qui n’est qu’un des points d’aboutissement d’une pluralité d’investigations des phénomènes situés hors du champ de la conscience : failles, marges, déboîtements, glissements qui ébranlent le sujet et sa présence au monde mais aussi perception d’un ailleurs….



Vendredi 13 octobre – Université Paris-Diderot – Amphithéâtre Turing 

(Bâtiment Sophie Germain)

 9h30 : ouverture du colloque

Session 1 : Présidence Jacqueline Carroy

9h45 : Andreas Mayer (Centre Alexandre Koyré ­– EHESS-CNRS-MNHN) :
« Émergences de l’inconscient : éléments pour une histoire concrète des sciences du psychisme »

10h15 : Philippe Artières (IIAC – CNRS/EHESS)

« L’hypothèse scripturaire »

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Magazine article – ‘After, I feel ecstatic and emotional’: could virtual reality replace therapy?


The Guardian published an article titled ” ‘After, I feel ecstatic and emotional’: could virtual reality replace therapy?” that could be of some interest to H-Madness readers. It discusses the future of psychiatric treatment with the help of Virtual Reality.







New issue – Medical History


Medical History published its new issue which includes some articles that could be of interest to H-Madness readers.

Jonathan Toms, Citizenship and Learning Disabled People: The Mental Health Charity MIND’s 1970s Campaign in Historical Context

Current policy and practice directed towards people with learning disabilities originates in the deinstitutionalisation processes, civil rights concerns and integrationist philosophies of the 1970s and 1980s. However, historians know little about the specific contexts within which these were mobilised. Although it is rarely acknowledged in the secondary literature, MIND was prominent in campaigning for rights-based services for learning disabled people during this time. This article sets MIND’s campaign within the wider historical context of the organisation’s origins as a main institution of the inter-war mental hygiene movement. The article begins by outlining the mental hygiene movement’s original conceptualisation of ‘mental deficiency’ as the antithesis of the self-sustaining and responsible individuals that it considered the basis of citizenship and mental health. It then traces how this equation became unravelled, in part by the altered conditions under the post-war Welfare State, in part by the mental hygiene movement’s own theorising. The final section describes the reconceptualisation of citizenship that eventually emerged with the collapse of the mental hygiene movement and the emergence of MIND. It shows that representations of MIND’s rights-based campaigning (which have, in any case, focused on mental illness) as individualist, and fundamentally opposed to medicine and psychiatry, are inaccurate. In fact, MIND sought a comprehensive community-based service, integrated with the general health and welfare services and oriented around a reconstruction of learning disabled people’s citizenship rights.

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