Author Archive

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.

Freud: New graphic novel by Corinne Maier and Anne Simon

From the website Brain Pickings:

Freud’s Life and Legacy, in a Comic

While Freud may have engineered his own myth and many of his theories may have been disputed in the decades since his heyday, he remains one of the most influential figures in the history of psychiatry and psychology. And yet for many, Freud is more metaphor than man and his name summons only a vague idea of his work — “something to do with penises,” our marginally informed collective conscience might whisper — rather than a true understanding of just how profoundly he influenced contemporary culture, from our mechanisms of consumerism to our notions about the self.

In recent years, the comic book genre has been applied to a wealth of graphic nonfiction for grownups, ranging from famous biographies to philosophy, but nowhere does the genre shine more exquisitely than in Freud (public library) — a magnificent biography-as-graphic-novel of the founding father of psychoanalysis by Swiss-born writer, economist, historian, and psychoanalyst Corinne Maier, illustrated by celebrated French cartoonist Anne Simon. Published by British indie press Nobrow — which also gave us Blexbolex’s brilliant No Man’s Land and some gorgeous illustrated chronicles of aviation and the Space Race — this unusual illustrated biography takes us through Freud’s life and legacy with equal parts scientific-historical rigor, sociocultural insight, and disarming wit, both visual and narrative.

For more information, click here.

Inaugural Conference for New Journal of Deconstruction and Psychoanalysis @ The New School (NYC, April 2014)






The Inaugural Conference for the New Journal from


The University of Nebraska Press:




A Journal of Deconstruction and Psychoanalysis


April 18-19, 2014


Friday, April 18: 9 AM–6PM


Saturday, April 19: 9:30 AM–5:30 PM


66 West 12th Street, Room 510, New York




Alan Bass Geoffrey Bennington


Arkady Plotnitsky Gabriele Schwab




Simon Critchley Adam Rosen-Carole Gregg Lambert




Leo Bersani Donald Moss Gayle Salamon



New issue – Bulletin for the History of Medicine

The latest issue of the Bulletin for the History of Medicine contains a number of articles that might be of interest to H-Madness readers, including a piece by Beth Linker on “The Borderland of Medical and Disability History” (followed by two comments by Daniel J. Wilson and Julie Livingston), and an article by David Wright et al. about mental asylums in Victorian Canada.

The complete table of contents is below:

Table of Contents

Editors’ Note
Positioning Paper
“On the Borderland of Medical and Disability History: A Survey of the Fields”
Beth Linker
Daniel J. Wilson
Catherine Kudlick

Julie Livingston

“The Invention of Infertility in the Classical Greek World: Medicine, Divinity, and Gender”
Rebecca Flemming

“Dying to Get Out of the Asylum: Mortality and Madness in Four Mental Hospitals in Victorian Canada, c. 1841–1891”
David Wright, Laurie Jacklin, and Tom Themeles

“Benevolent Tyranny of Biostatistics: Public Administration and the Promotion of Biostatistics at the National Institutes of Health, 1946–1970”
Sejal Patel

“Plow, Town, and Gown: The Politics of Family Practice in 1960s America”
Dominique Tobbell

News and Events

Book Reviews
Anthony Cerulli. Somatic Lessons: Narrating Patienthood and Illness in Indian Medical Literature
Reviewer: Hartmut Scharfe

Esther Cohen, Leona Toker, Manuela Consonni, and Otniel E. Dror, eds. Knowledge and Pain
Reviewer: Joanna Bourke

John Parascandola. King of Poisons: A History of Arsenic
Reviewer: P. W. J. Bartrip

Sylvia A. Pamboukian. Doctoring the Novel: Medicine and Quackery from Shelley to Doyle
Reviewer: Michael Brown

Nancy Cervetti. S. Weir Mitchell, 1829–1914: Philadelphia’s Literary Physician
Reviewer: Helen L. Horowitz

<>Guy R. Hasegawa. Mending Broken Soldiers: The Union and Confederate Programs to Supply Artificial Limbs
Reviewer: J. T. H. Connor

Pratik Chakrabarti. Bacteriology in British India: Laboratory Medicine and the Tropics
Reviewer: Christoph Gradmann

Marian Moser Jones. The American Red Cross from Clara Barton to the New Deal
Reviewer: Julia F. Irwin

David S. Jones. Broken Hearts: The Tangled History of Cardiac Care
Reviewer: Allen B. Weisse

Paul Starr. Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Health Care Reform
Reviewer: Daniel M. Fox

Guenter B. Risse. Plague, Fear, and Politics in San Francisco’s Chinatown
Reviewer: Myron Echenberg

<>William C. Summers. The Great Manchurian Plague of 1910–1911: The Geopolitics of an Epidemic Disease
Reviewer: Carol A. Benedict

Beth Linker. Warʼs Waste: Rehabilitation in World War I America
Reviewer: Jeffrey S. Reznick

Sarah G. Mars. The Politics of Addiction: Medical Conflict and Drug Dependence in England since the 1960s
Reviewer: Stephen Snelders

Kaushik Sunder Rajan, ed. Lively Capital: Biotechnologies, Ethics, and Governance in Global Markets
Reviewer: Todd Meyers

Jonathan Kahn. Race in a Bottle: The Story of BiDil and Racialized Medicine in a Post-Genomic Age
Reviewer: Anne Pollock

For more information, click here.
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