Author Archive

Post Doctoral Research Assistant: “Hidden Persuaders? Brainwashing, Culture, Clinical Knowledge and the Cold War Human Sciences c. 1950-1990”

Birkbeck University of London Post Doctoral Research Assistant, three year
contract, starting 1 October 2014 Birkbeck University of London, Department
of History, Classics and Archaeology

We are seeking to appoint a Post Doctoral Research Assistant to work on a
Wellcome-funded project, entitled ‘Hidden Persuaders? Brainwashing,
Culture, Clinical Knowledge and the Cold War Human Sciences c. 1950-1990′.

This project asks why ‘brainwashing’ erupted into public consciousness in
the postwar period and investigates where such practices, and cultural
fears led. Visions of unconscious suggestibility are older, but
‘brainwashing’ debates, after 1950, profoundly affected the way we
understand the psychic lives of individuals and ‘mass psychology’, and the
role of states, and commerce.

The successful candidate will assume responsibility for a designated
research area (and publication) within the broad framework described above,
and will be encouraged to produce academic publications of their own based
on their work on the project.

Applications are especially welcomed from academics with prior knowledge of
the history of psychoanalysis, psychiatry and/or psychology. Some previous
familiarity with post-war political and/or cultural history would also be
an asset. A working knowledge of one or more languages other than English;
e.g. Russian, German or French would be useful, as would facility in one or
more Asian languages (Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Khmer or Malay).

Starting Salary: £34,650 per annum inclusive of London Allowance.

The closing date for completed applications is 9 June 2014.

Informal enquiries can be made to: Professor Daniel Pick, Department of
History, Classics and Archaeology, Birkbeck, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX,

Job Reference Number    11255

Doctoral position in History of Psychology and “Psy” disciplines – Université de Lausanne

Doctoral position 80-100%

History of Psychology

LARPSYDIS, Institut de Psychologie, Faculté des Sciences sociales et politiques

Prof. Rémy Amouroux


Master’s degree in Psychology, History and/or Philosophy

Desired profile:

A strong interest in history of psychology and more broadly in history of the “psy disciplines” (psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis):

  • Strong interest in research and teaching in history of psychology
  • Strong interest in archives
  • The ability to conduct research independently
  • Good knowledge of French is valued

Description of work tasks:

  • Research: Writing of a PhD thesis (50%)
  • Teaching: Involvement in teaching program (40%)
  • Administration: Involvement in administrative tasks (10%)

Taking of office: 01.09.2014 or soon thereafter

Contract duration: renewable up to a total duration of 5 years

Application:  Please send your application including an application letter detailing your motivation (1), your Curriculum Vitae (2), your master’s thesis (3), and a 2-3-page document that describes your PhD research interest (4), to Rémy Amouroux ( before 30 May 2014. 

Deadline for application: 30 May 2014


To see the link to the original French posting, click here.

New book – “Trials of Passion: Crimes in the Name of Love and Madness” (Lisa Appignanesi)

This book journeys into the heart of dark passions and the crimes they impel. When passion is in the picture, what is criminal, what sane, what mad or simply bad? Brighton, 1870: A well-respected spinster infuses chocolate creams with strychnine in order to murder her lover’s wife. Paris, 1880: A popular performer stalks her betraying lover through the streets of the city for weeks and finally takes aim. New York, 1906: A millionaire shoots dead a prominent architect in full view of a theatre audience. Through court and asylum records, letters and newspaper accounts, this book brings to life a period when the psychiatric professions were consolidating their hold on our understanding of what is human. An increasingly popular press allowed the public unprecedented insight into accounts of transgressive sexuality, savage jealousy and forbidden desires. With great story-telling flair, Lisa Appignanesi teases out the vagaries of passion and the clashes between the law and the clinic as they stumble towards a (sometimes reviled) collaboration. Sexual etiquette and class roles, attitudes to love, madness and gender, notions of respectability and honour, insanity and lunacy, all are at play in that vital forum in which public opinion is shaped – the theatre of the courtroom.

Lisa Appignanesi is a prize-winning writer, novelist, broadcaster and cultural commentator.  A Visiting Professor at King’s College London, she is former President of the campaigning writers association, English PEN, and Chair of London’s Freud Museum.  She will be taking part in the Swindon Literature Festival next month. For more information, see the festival website.

For a recent review of Trials of Passion in The Telegraph, click here.


CfP: History of Melancholy Conference (Heidelberg, October 2014)

University of Heidelberg, Karl Jaspers Centre
2–4 October 2014
Frank Grüner and Maike Rotzoll,
Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”, University of Heidelberg

Call for Abstracts for an International Conference at the University of Heidelberg

Gloom Goes Global:
Towards a Transcultural History of Melancholy since 1850

This interdisciplinary conference focuses on the study of melancholy as a historical- anthropological phenomenon and scientific medical concept from a transcultural perspective. It will discuss influential narratives and perceptions of gloom as articulated in various national and cultural contexts – in Europe, Russia and Asia – since the middle of the 19th century, and will examine their mutual penetration and transformation. The central question concerns the extent to which the paradigm shift from a perception of melancholy shaped by natural philosophy, literature and art to a psychopathological condition conceptualised using scientific terminology can be described as a global phenomenon.

The production of certain concepts and ontologies of melancholy in a specific historical context is to be understood as a dynamic cross-border process in which “traditional”, more or less established, forms of knowledge and science – among them medical systems – are affected, challenged or closely intertwined by “wandering ideas” in the sense of a “circulation of knowledge” or “culture on the move”.

The key concern of this conference is to discuss competing concepts of melancholy and their mutual penetration and transformation against the backdrop of cultural flows, in particular flows of knowledge and science between Europe, Russia and Asia. In concrete terms, this conference seeks books or texts and ideas (medical and scientific as well as philosophical or social) produced in one cultural context and transmitted or transferred to another, translated from one to the other language, or adapted, changed, transformed, etc. Further, the conference addresses the people and institutions as well as agents and brokers involved in or affected by these kinds of transcultural flows and cross-border activities.

Last but not least, this conference focuses on global flows of cosmopolitan psychiatry and the circulation of concepts of mental illnesses such as melancholy or depression and the ontologies that they produced in different historical and cultural contexts.

Topics of the conference papers can focus on the following aspects in particular:

  • prevalent concepts of melancholy in Europe, Russia and/or Asia in the time from around 1850 to the present in literature, the arts, philosophy, sciences and medicine
  • epistemological and ontological transfers in the field of science and medicine betweendifferent cultures which shaped the understanding, redefinitions and experience of melancholy and gloom in various historical contexts of Europe, Russia and Asia
  • exchange processes and transcultural entanglements in the field of melancholy
  • cultural brokers, itineraries and the institutions or places of knowledge involved inthese transnational processes of knowledge transfer and circulation of melancholy concepts
  • the circulation and application of certain practices concerning health and knowledgewhich played a role in regard to the (medical or social) treatment of melancholy and depression

Formal requirements:

  • Applicants should submit the title of a paper, an abstract of max. 300 words and a short CV to Frank Grüner ( or Maike Rotzoll ( by 15 April 2014.
  • Successful applicants will be requested to submit a full paper (5,000 words max.) by 10 September 2014. The papers will serve as a basis for discussion during the conference. Selected papers are expected to be published.
  • The presentations at the conference in Heidelberg last a maximum of 20 minutes.
  • Accommodation costs and travel expenses will (at least partially) be covered by the organisers.


  • Dr. Frank Grüner
    Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe”
    University of Heidelberg
    Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies Building 4400, Room 016
    Voßstr. 2
    D-69115 Heidelberg
    Phone: ++49-(0)6221-544302
  • Dr. med. Maike Rotzoll
    Institute for the History and Ethics of Medicine University of Heidelberg
    INF 327
    D-69120 Heidelberg

Post-Doc Position in the History of Neuroscience and Psychiatry – University of Calgary

The Department of Community Health Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary (Canada) is accepting applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Neuroscience & Psychiatry for a research project funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Job Description:
The UofC has an active research and educational community in the wider field of the science studies (programs in the History of Medicine and Health Care, History and Philosophy of Science, as well as Science and Technology Studies).  The successful applicant will work with a team of historians and science scholars based in the Faculty of Medicine with strong links to the Faculties of Arts/Science/Nursing, the Calgary Institute for the Humanities, the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, and the Institute for Public Health.  The applicant will help to advance the groups’ historiographical research program and engage with (inter)national collaborators to examine the impact of émigrés physicians and researchers in North American neuroscience.  The research program is aligned with current work to investigate the impact of the forced migration of German-speaking émigré psychiatrists, neurologists and basic brain researchers in Canada and the USA (see:

The successful candidate will teach 1 course per term in an area related to the History of Medicine/History/History and Philosophy of Science and contribute 40% of her/his time to research, data-banking, and publication activities of the research program.  Participation in the ongoing seminars and lecture series of the program is also required.  All other time, she/he can devote to her/his grant-writing activities, publications, and collaborations.

Applications are invited from recent PhD graduates (<3 years from degree) in history/sociology/STS/ philosophy/anthropology/classics with a demonstrated background in history of medicine/science/neuroscience and interest in the subject of the local research program.  International applications are likewise strongly encouraged. Data-banking experience and additional knowledge of German, Hebrew, Polish, or French is appreciated; and demonstrated experiences with oral history methodology would be an advantage.

Application details:
Review of applications will begin April-30, 2014 continuing until successful recruitment (anticipated start date: Sept-1, 2014).  Applicants should submit a CV, a cover letter with statement of research experience, 2 writing samples (articles or books chapters), a brief outline of personal research interests along with 2 reference letters to:

Dr. Frank W. Stahnisch, Associate Professor
AMF/Hannah Professorship in the History of Medicine and Health Care
Department of Community Health Sciences & Department of History
TRW Building, Room 3E41, 3280 Hospital Drive NW
Calgary, AB, Canada  T2N 4Z6

Email applications (with all supporting materials) are preferred.  Applicants wishing more information are encouraged to contact Dr. Frank W. Stahnisch ( or Mrs. Beth Cusitar (

Performing Medicine Festival – New York Academy of Medicine, April 5th

Performing Medicine: An all-day celebration of medically inclined theater, music, and dance

New York Academy of Medicine

Performers include Dr. Richard Kogan with a musical performance and lecture on creative genius and psychiatric illness; Brian Lobel on his comedic adventures as a cancer patient; Parkinson’s coach and dancer Pamela Quinn on reading bodies; David Leventhal with DANCE FOR PD® from Mark Morris Dance Group/Brooklyn Parkinson Group, and Mount Sinai’s Academy for Medicine and the Humanities on the art of listening. Dr. Danielle Ofri leads a panel discussion, and musicians from Weill Cornell’s Music and Medicine Initiative provide musical interludes.

Throughout the day there will be guided behind-the-scenes tours, your opportunity to get an introduction to our Coller Rare Book Reading Room and Gladys Brooks Book & Paper Conservation Laboratory. Spaces are limited to 20 people per tour; make sure to get your tickets early!

Schedule: April 5th, 11-6pm, more details here.

$15 for NYAM Fellows, Members and Friends of the Rare Book Room, $25 for general admission, Free for students and house staff (ID required).

Collection tours (limited to 20 people per tour) $5, 11 AM, 12 noon, 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 4 PM

All prices are $5 higher the day of the event.

See more at:


BBC News Article: Craiglockhart Hospital and Shell Shock

An article entitled “Did Craiglockhart hospital revolutionize mental healthcare?” was published yesterday on the BBC News website. It discusses the pioneering treatment(s) of shell shock offered to patients in that Scottish War Hospital during and after WWI, Craiglockhart’s literary legacy, the different cures for shell shock in various other hospitals at the time, as well as the legacy of shell shock in modern culture.

To access the article and podcast, presented by Claudia Hammond, click here.

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