Author Archive

CfP: “Patient Voices” symposium (Oxford, September 2017)

Patient Voices

Historical and Ethical Engagement with Patient Experiences of Healthcare, 1850–1948

An interdisciplinary, policy-focused symposium
New College, University of Oxford
18–19 September 2017

In 1948, diverse health provisions in Britain were consolidated into a single, state-directed service. After almost seventy years of the NHS—the bedrock of modern welfare—there is great concern about any return to a mixed economy of healthcare. The proposed privatisation of health services is controversial because it threatens to destabilise the complex relationships of patients with medical professionals and the state. It calls into question the structure and accessibility of healthcare, as well as the rights of patients, both as medical consumers and sources of medical data. Yet these are questions that equally shaped the development of the NHS prior to its foundation. Historical perspectives on pre-NHS healthcare—perspectives that are increasingly informed by the experiences of patients—are fundamental to understanding not just the past but also the choices before us.

Social historians of medicine have responded in various ways to Roy Porter’s 1985 call for histories incorporating the patient view. But despite work across diverse fields, patient voices before 1948 are yet to be fully integrated into historical scholarship. This symposium brings together historians, medical ethicists and archivists with interdisciplinary expertise to explore questions relating to the accessibility and ethics of the study of patient voices and data in the specific context of pre-NHS provisions. Through research presentations, roundtable discussions and interactive sessions, participants will explore the collection and qualitative use of historical medical records. The symposium will focus on methodological issues by investigating a range of available archives and piloting new strategies for retrieving as-yet-unheard historical patient voices. It will also address ethical issues arising from these pilot strategies, including questions of data protection, informed consent and the implications of new technologies in storing and analysing information.

Following the symposium, participants will be invited to submit articles for a special issue.

We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers that address one or more of the following questions:

  • How should historians access and interpret the experiences of patients, particularly those with stigmatising conditions?
  • How can historians negotiate archival ‘silences’ when locating patient voices?
  • What can patient experiences tell historians about past, present and future interactions between healthcare consumers and providers?
  • How can the study of historical patient experiences inform the social, political and clinical dimensions of healthcare in the future?
  • What ethical considerations should inform the collection, maintenance and use of sensitive medical archives, including digitisation, data analytics and discourse analysis?
  • How can attention to these ethical considerations shape the study of healthcare and facilitate high-quality medical-humanities research?

Proposals should not exceed 300 words and should be accompanied by a short biography. Please submit them to Anne Hanley (University of Oxford) and Jessica Meyer (University of Leeds) at by 1 April 2017.

This symposium is supported by the Ludwig Humanities Research Fund.

“Cold War Freud” and “Freud: An Intellectual Biography” reviewed by Lisa Appignanesi (The Guardian)

H-Madness readers might be interested in the following article by Lisa Appignanesi. The piece, which was published today in The Guardian, is a review of Dagmar Herzog’s Cold War Freud (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and Joel Whitebook’s Freud: An Intellectual Biography (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Still many strands to pursue … Sigmund Freud.

Cold War Freud and Freud: An Intellectual Biography review – the politics of psychoanalysis

A pair of rich, illuminating studies epitomise a new wave of thinking about the Freud wars and the history of analysis

If Freud, as Auden wrote in his 1939 elegy, is “a whole climate of opinion / under whom we conduct our different lives”, then it would be fair to say that the local weather patterns around him shift from temptestuous to clement with uncanny regularity. Geography inevitably plays into the picture.

There are actually only two (relative) constants in the diffusion of Freud’s invention, psychoanalysis, from 1906 on. One is the acceptance of the fact that each of us has an unconscious life: parts of ourselves that are hidden from our own view inform dreams, and shape unwitting remarks and behaviour. The second is the talk and listening technology of two people – the free-associating patient and the analyst engaged in an intimate therapeutic conversation. The rest of the huge and often subtle panoply of Freud’s ideas, developed and revised over a lifetime of practice and writing, has been – and is – up for grabs.

There is a wealth of material to pick over. From Freud’s first book, On Aphasia, published when he was 35, to his last, Moses and Monotheism, written just before his death at 83, there are 23 volumes of the standard edition, not to mention many thick tomes of reflective and revealing letters to his fiancee (then wife), Martha, and to friends andcolleagues, plus proceedings of international psychoanalytic meetings. Followers, interpreters, critics and bashers, reinventors and film-makers, slipper and watch manufacturers, in America, India, China, Europe, Africa and Latin America, can thus dispute, develop or make jokes about everything from the importance of the sex drive or libido to the dynamics of memory and repression; the relations between ego, id and superego; identification; therapeutic practice; cultural liberation and much more, including, of course, Freud’s own integrity – his scientific and medical status.

To read the rest of the article, click here.


New book – “Psyche on the Skin. A History of Self-Harm” (Sarah Chaney)

Psyche on the Skin


Psyche on the Skin


(University of Chicago Press, 2017)

It’s a troubling phenomenon that many of us think of as a modern psychological epidemic, a symptom of extreme emotional turmoil in young people, especially young women: cutting and self-harm. But few of us know that it was 150 years ago—with the introduction of institutional asylum psychiatry—that self-mutilation was first described as a category of behavior, which psychiatrists, and later psychologists and social workers, attempted to understand. With care and focus, Psyche on the Skin tells the secret but necessary history of self-harm from the 1860s to the present, showing just how deeply entrenched this practice is in human culture.

Sarah Chaney looks at many different kinds of self-injurious acts, including sexual self-mutilation and hysterical malingering in the late Victorian period, self-marking religious sects, and self-mutilation and self-destruction in art, music, and popular culture. As she shows, while self-harm is a widespread phenomenon found in many different contexts, it doesn’t necessarily have any kind of universal meaning—it always has to be understood within the historical and cultural context that surrounds it. Bravely sharing her own personal experiences with self-harm and placing them within its wider history, Chaney offers a sensitive but engaging account—supported with powerful images—that challenges the misconceptions and controversies that surround this often misunderstood phenomenon. The result is crucial reading for therapists and other professionals in the field, as well as those affected by this emotive, challenging act.

For more information, click here.

New book – “The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, his Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing” (Damion Searls)

inkblotsH-Madness readers might be interested in the newly published book The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, his Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing by Damion Searls (Penguin Random House, 2017).

The publisher’s website reads:

The captivating, untold story of Hermann Rorschach and his famous inkblot test

In 1917, working alone in a remote Swiss asylum, psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach devised an experiment to probe the human mind: a set of ten carefully designed inkblots. For years he had grappled with the theories of Freud and Jung while also absorbing the aesthetic movements of the day, from Futurism to Dadaism. A visual artist himself, Rorschach had come to believe that who we are is less a matter of what we say, as Freud thought, than what we see.

After Rorschach’s early death, his test quickly made its way to America, where it took on a life of its own. Co-opted by the military after Pearl Harbor, it was a fixture at the Nuremberg trials and in the jungles of Vietnam. It became an advertising staple, a cliché in Hollywood and journalism, and an inspiration to everyone from Andy Warhol to Jay Z. The test was also given to millions of defendants, job applicants, parents in custody battles, and people suffering from mental illness or simply trying to understand themselves better. And it is still used today.

In this first-ever biography of Rorschach, Damion Searls draws on unpublished letters and diaries and a cache of previously unknown interviews with Rorschach’s family, friends, and colleagues to tell the unlikely story of the test’s creation, its controversial reinvention, and its remarkable endurance—and what it all reveals about the power of perception. Elegant and original, The Inkblots shines a light on the twentieth century’s most visionary synthesis of art and science.

For more information, click here.

For a recent NPR interview with the author, click here.

Call for chapter proposals: Literature, Trauma and the Self


Centuries ago, Aristotle fashioned a term that brought literature and psychology face to face: catharsis (psychological or mental purification of the feelings). From that time onwards, literature and human psyche have been correlated either by various writers, philosophers, critics, or by means of several techniques or movements. Not only was it tragedy that combined the elements of psychology with literary production, it was also novel, poetry, short story and even some psychoanalytical theories that brought psyche and literature together. There has always been a mutual partnership of the two: psychology of men and literature of men.  It was Sigmund Freud, for instance, who introduced Oedipus complex from what Sophocles held as the plot of Oedipus the King. It was Samuel Richardson who carried the earlier features of sentimental novel and the early flashes of psychological novel through his Pamela. It was Henry James who borrowed the stream of consciousness technique from psychology and introduced it to be used in literature, and then was subtly employed by James Joyce in Ulysses and by Virginia Woolf in Mrs. Dalloway. Charles Dickens, with his famous industrial novel Great Expectations, reflected the well-established norms of psychological realism. George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion was named after the mythological figure of Greek Pygmalionand the name was also adapted into the Pygmalion effect to emphasize the observable phenomena related to the psychology and performance of men. Similarly, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita became a focal work that impacted the birth of Lolita complex. Friedrich Nietzsche’subermensch (just as it is employed by Bernard Shaw in Superman)MartinEsslin’s theatre of the absurd (employed by Samuel Beckett in Waiting for Godot), Antonin Artaud’s theatre of cruelty (employed by Edward Bond in Saved) and etc. all could be tackled in terms of interrelation of human psyche and literariness.
Psychology has also some observable impacts on the writer’s writing skill. Causing extreme changes in mood, bipolar disorder is addressed by many critics to be the central origin behind creativity. Such writers and critics as John Ruskin, Virginia Woolf, Edgar Allan Poe, Alan Garner, Hams Christian Anderson and Sherman Alexei among others are known to have bipolar disorder that impacted their literary creativity. Feminist urges also produced the female creativity within some genres of literature. It was Emily Dickenson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Virginia Woolf, George Eliot, and Bronte Sisters that embraced the psychology of the power of female creativity on the way to writing. For that reason, psychology and literature live in each other’s pockets.
This proposal suggests a forum of differing ideas on the link between literature and psychology, psychology of writing, traumatic literature, the construction of the Self within literature, the psychology of characterization, psychoanalytical approaches, and the psychology of literary creativity.
The topics of interest include but not limited to the following titles:
Psychology of Literature
Literature of Psychology
Psychology and literary genres
Psychological theories and movements
Traumatic literature
Literature and psyche
Auto/biography and  psyche
Psychoanalytical approaches
The psychology of Self and Literature
The Psychology of Writing
Trauma and Writing
The Self and Writing
Psychology and  Creativity
Submission Procedure
Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit on or before March 31, 2017, a chapter proposal of 1,000 to 2,000 words clearly explaining the mission and concerns of his or her proposed chapter. Authors will be notified by April 30, 2017 about the status of their proposals and sent chapter guidelines. Full chapters are expected to be submitted by October 30, 2017, and all interested authors must consult the guidelines for manuscript submissions at prior to submission. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a double-blind review basis. Contributors may also be requested to serve as reviewers for this project.
Note: There are no submission or acceptance fees for manuscripts submitted to this book publication, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. All manuscripts are accepted based on a double-blind peer review editorial process.
This book is scheduled to be published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit This publication is anticipated to be released in 2018.
Important Dates
March 31, 2017: Proposal Submission Deadline
April 30, 2017: Notification of Acceptance
October 30, 2017: Full Chapter Submission
December 30, 2017: Review Results Returned
January 30, 2018: Final Acceptance Notification
February 15, 2018: Final Chapter Submission
April 15, 2018:Manuscript delivery date
Editor’s Name: Önder Çakırtaş
Editor’s Affiliation: PhD, Assistant Professor, Bingol University (Turkey), Department of English Language and Literature
Editor’s Contact Information
Bingöl Üniversitesi
Fen Edebiyat Fakültesi
Oda No:D2-8 12000 Bingöl/TÜRKİYE

BBC video feature: Uncovering the history of madness

bedlam-main-imageUncovering the history of madness

London’s Wellcome Collection brought together various artists to create the exhibition, ‘Bedlam: the asylum & beyond‘. It tackles the rise and fall of mental asylums, and looks at how mental illness is handled now. David Beales is one of the artists taking part. He uses his first-hand experiences of living in psychiatric hospitals to create art and raise awareness around mental health issues. He told the BBC’s Dan Damon about his experiences.

To access the video interview, click here.

Revue philosophique : Théodule Ribot

ribotLe dernier numéro de la Revue philosophique (2016/4), dirigé par Jacqueline Carroy, Wolf Feuerhahn, Régine Plas et Thibaud Trochu, est consacré à Théodule Ribot (1839-1916) qui fut le fondateur et le directeur de cette revue.
À distance de toute commémoration, ce volume considère Ribot comme un entrepreneur intellectuel aux activités variées. Il propose d’explorer des facettes actuellement moins connues de ses travaux : introducteur de la médecine mentale comme  des idées et des recherches germaniques et anglo-saxonnes dans la philosophie et la psychologie françaises, Ribot publie sur Schopenhauer, se confronte à Stuart Mill, s’intéresse au sens du corps et à l’affectivité. Sa place centrale comme directeur de revue puis titulaire d’une chaire de psychologie expérimentale et comparée au Collège de France s’inscrit dans le contexte de la transformation profonde du monde universitaire de la IIIe République, de l’affirmation d’une discipline psychologique voulant rompre avec la philosophie spiritualiste comme avec le positivisme, de la reconfiguration des sciences morales et d’une transformation des relations intellectuelles internationales. Ce dossier contient l’édition critique de nombreuses lettres inédites qui dessinent à la fois des autoportraits de Ribot en correspondant et un portrait de la vie académique et culturelle de l’époque. Il est enfin complété par une bibliographie.



Jacqueline Carroy,  Wolf Feuerhahn,  Régine Plas,  Thibaud Trochu

Les entreprises intellectuelles de Théodule Ribot

Cette introduction présente Ribot comme un « entrepreneur intellectuel », dans le contexte de son époque. Ses différentes carrières et entreprises sont successivement détaillées et analysées. Introducteur en France dans les années 1870 des psychologies anglaises et allemandes, Ribot se présente comme ni positiviste ni spiritualiste. Il se situe au centre de la discipline philosophique en créant la Revue philosophique, qu’il dirige jusqu’à sa mort, en 1916, et qui constitue pour lui un ancrage cardinal. Sans être médecin, il donne à la psychologie française une orientation pathologique dans les années 1880. Après 1890, il entreprend de développer une psychologie de l’affectivité. La réussite institutionnelle de Ribot, qui devient en 1888 professeur au Collège de France, s’accompagne de sa réception par un plus large public, dont témoignent les multiples rééditions et traductions de ses ouvrages.

Ribot et la « demi-métaphysique » de Schopenhauer

À la parution de La Philosophie de Schopenhauer, en 1874, Ribot était déjà connu comme l’auteur de deux ouvrages qui l’avaient situé dans le champ philo­sophique français comme le promoteur d’une psychologie « positive » évolutionniste et un adversaire de toute métaphysique prétendant à la scientificité. Rien ne semblait le prédisposer à s’intéresser à Schopenhauer, dont la philosophie commençait seulement d’être introduite en France. De fait, cet ouvrage surprit les commentateurs, dont les recensions ne furent guère élogieuses. Il apparaît cependant que la lecture de Schopenhauer a incité Ribot à tempérer son credo évolutionniste et qu’elle est une des sources de la psychologie des sentiments qu’il développa à partir du début des années 1890. Ainsi, loin d’être marginale dans l’œuvre de Ribot, sa lecture de Schopenhauer a contribué à l’élaboration de la partie la plus innovante de sa psychologie.

De la Sorbonne au Collège de France, Enjeux du titre des chaires de Ribot

À l’échelle de deux ans, 1885-1887, et à quelques mètres de distance, Ribot voit le titre de ses enseignements modifié : la rue Saint-Jacques traversée, il n’enseigne plus la « psychologie expérimentale », mais la « psychologie expérimentale et comparée ». Ce changement d’allure mineure suscita une importante controverse aux enjeux théoriques, institutionnels et de personnes. L’expression « psychologie comparée » fut au cœur des débats. Charles Lévêque, figure centrale de l’Institut, la mobilisait contre l’évolutionnisme ; Ribot la redéfinit pour en faire un vecteur de son introduction en France. L’ambition méthodologique de cette analyse est de montrer l’intérêt d’enquêter sur les relations entre les dynamiques propres aux lieux de savoirs et le choix des étiquetages savants.

Mill, Ribot et la science du caractère

Infatigable promoteur d’une psychologie « nouvelle », Théodule Ribot a trouvé dans le projet éthologique de John Stuart Mill des arguments confortant sa propre conception de l’architectonique des sciences de l’esprit ; mais cette reprise du programme millien d’une « science des lois de formation du caractère » s’est aussi opérée dans le cadre d’un débat plus général sur les parts respectives de la « nature » et de la « culture » dans la détermination et la manifestation des aptitudes mentales humaines. Comme on le voit de manière exemplaire chez Ribot, cette réception française de l’éthologie s’est distinguée par une focalisation résolue sur les déterminants biologiques du caractère, qui tranche radicalement avec l’« artificialisme » psychologique de Mill et son insistance sur la « pliabilité de la nature humaine ».

Ribot et le « sens du corps »

En mettant le corps, plutôt que la conscience, au centre de l’objet de la psychologie, Ribot s’inscrit dans le prolongement de travaux issus de la physiologie et de la pathologie du xix e siècle pour élaborer la notion de « sens du corps » comme fondement de l’unité du moi. Cette notion devait connaître un important développement au xx e  siècle en psychologie et en psychanalyse.

Jacqueline Carroy

Psychologie des sentiments et mémoire affective. De Ribot à Proust

En 1894, et surtout en 1896 (La Psychologie des sentiments), Ribot baptisa sa nouvelle psychologie « affective ». La poésie symboliste, la musique, l’amour, la sexualité, la nostalgie illustraient ses nouvelles investigations. Il mit en avant un type de mémoire qu’il appela « mémoire affective ». Il supposa l’existence de souvenirs purs, affectifs et corporels et excluant des représentations mentales. Cette nouvelle orientation psychologique était liée à de nouvelles méthodes. Loin de condamner l’introspection, il publia des auto-observations, comme celle du poète Sully-Prudhomme revivant un amour de jeunesse. Le thème de la mémoire affective était sujet à controverse parmi les philosophes et les psychologues, mais il séduisait des amateurs, des critiques littéraires et des romanciers. On peut comprendre ainsi qu’il inspira l’intrigue centrale de La recherche du temps perdu de Proust.

Notes et documents
Wolf Feuerhahn,  Thibaud Trochu

Autoportraits de Théodule Ribot en correspondant

Les correspondances sont mobilisées ici non comme des clés ultimes des œuvres, mais comme des sources éclairant la pluralité des faces du scripteur. En fonction du statut des correspondances, des destinataires, le style n’est pas le même, la présentation de soi comme le contenu varient. La correspondance de Ribot qui a pu être retrouvée manifeste ainsi la pluralité des identités qu’il endosse : avec son ami Espinas, il est pourfendeur du spiritualisme universitaire ; avec l’administration, un professeur qui cherche à échapper à la province ; face à Charles Lévêque, un aspirant ; à Renouvier et Taine, un imitateur ; à Wundt ou James, l’introducteur de la science étrangère ; avec Tarde et Piéron, un faiseur de carrières ; à l’égard de X. Léon, l’aîné distant ; auprès de Lionel Dauriac, le vieil homme et son confident ; avec Bouglé et Lévy-Bruhl, le directeur de revue en quête de contributeurs.

Correspondances de Théodule Ribot

Édition annotée de lettres, pour la plupart inédites, de Ribot à différents correspondants : Célestin Bouglé, Édouard Claparède, Lionel Dauriac, Alfred Espinas, Théodore Flournoy, William James, Xavier Léon, Charles Lévêque, Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, Charles Renouvier, Hippolyte Taine, Gabriel Tarde, Wilhelm Wundt.

Références bibliographiques du fascicule

Pour plus d’informations :
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