Author Archive

CfP: French Autopathography: Disability, Disease and Disorders from First-Person Perspectives (Queen’s University Belfast, November 2014)

French Autopathography: Disability, Disease and Disorders

from First-Person Perspectives

Queen’s University Belfast, 21-22 November 2014

Keynote Speaker: Dr Hannah Thompson (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Call for Papers

Coinciding with the rise in cases of cancer and AIDS from the 1980s onwards, the modern outbreak of patient-authored narratives of ill-health or incapacity has provided fresh perspectives to complement traditional medical literature and third-person illness narratives. Known as autopathographies, these patients’ tales give voice to the embodied experience of illness, suffering, disease and, following Thomas Couser’s definition, disability too. Acknowledging that the French tradition of autopathography can be traced back as far as Montaigne, this conference explores a rich but often-neglected corpus of first-person accounts across time-frames and disciplines in an effort to understand more fully what the sociologist Arthur Frank has called people’s need to ‘tell their stories’, be they of the plague, smallpox, syphilis, tuberculosis, leukaemia, cardiac disease, cancer, AIDS, motor neurone disease, eating disorders, stress disorders, or forms of disability (physical, cognitive, sensory, etc.), to name but a few. In this way, it interprets the term autopathography in its broadest sense, and embraces not only literature and creative writing, but also first-person documentary, visual, digital (eg. blogs) and other artistic and creative forms such as performance, dance, montage, sculpture, self-portraits or photography. Areas to be discussed may include, but are not limited to:

–          The structural and ideological issues that characterise French/francophone autopathographies

–          The subject as ‘narrative wreck’ [Frank]

–          Personal perspectives on French/francophone healthcare institutions and treatment processes

–          The ways in which the French language communicates pain, following Elaine Scarry’s remark that ‘physical pain does not simply resist language but actively destroys it’

–          The use of metaphor in self-authored accounts of illness or disability

–          French/francophone literature and/or art’s ‘restorative’ function [Deleuze]

–          Autopathography as genre? A challenge to the tenets of autobiographical writing? A new ‘pact’?

–          The relationship between autopathography and trauma narrative/testimony

–          Interfaces between autopathography and science/medicine in France/the French-speaking world

–          The impact of gender and/or class on illness formulations, attitudes to therapies etc.

250-word proposals for 20-minute papers (or three-paper panels), in French or English, should be sent to Dr Steven Wilson by email attachment at the following address: steven.wilson@qub.ac.uk.

The deadline for receipt of proposals is Friday 30 May 2014.

For more information: http://blogs.qub.ac.uk/frenchautopathography/

Parution de livre : Sabine Arnaud, L’Invention de l’hystérie au temps des lumières (1670-1820)

L’invention de l’hystérie au temps des Lumières (1670-1820)

Sabine Arnaud
Editions de l’EHESS
L’invention de l’hystérie nous porte au 18e siècle, lors de l’élaboration des maladies nerveuses frappant les gens du monde, hommes et femmes, et les lettrés en particulier. Qu’est ce qui se joue dans l’écriture de ce diagnostic ? À travers des textes de médecins, de patients, d’écrivains, Sabine Arnaud déchiffre toute une société.
L’hystérie au 18e siècle nous mène loin des mises en scène de Charcot et des cures de Freud. C’est le moment même de l’invention d’une catégorie pour identifier une maladie nerveuse frappant les gens du monde, hommes et femmes, et les lettrés en particulier. Mais comment établir une pathologie dont la caractérisation commence par le nombre infini de symptômes ? Des textes médicaux aux ouvrages littéraires, métaphores, citations, et anecdotes sont mises à contribution. De l’animal indocile emprunté au Timée, à un « je ne sais quoi », d’un protée à un caméléon, ou à une hydre, médecins et hommes de lettres rivalisent dans son écriture. Un jour courtisans, ils s’inventent le lendemain citoyens fervents d’une nation nouvelle ; leurs écrits déclinent l’hystérie au fur et à mesure des modes et des passions et cristallisent les craintes et les rêves d’un temps.
Découvrir ces conceptions nous porte à apprécier la médecine telle qu’elle s’écrivait au dix-huitième siècle. S’éloignant à grand pas des traités à systèmes, les médecins s’adressent alors à leurs patients au nom d’une sensibilité partagée, et publient dialogues, autobiographies et correspondances pour faciliter cet échange. Ils présentent ainsi une image de l’acte médical fondée dans la prévenance et le récit de soi. A nous de déceler les enjeux d’un diagnostic pour une médecine en pleine transformation.

SOMMAIRE

Avant-Propos
Nommer (Introduction)
Première partie. De l’usage des diagnostics, des divisions du savoir
Pathologie et différence sexuelle
Affection vaporeuse et classe sociale
Rencontres entre la sphère médicale et la sphère religieuse

Partie II. Les métaphores, ou comment donner figure à l’indéfinissable
D’un répertoire d’images : Protée, caméléon, hydre
De la répétition d’une citation, des divergences de lecture

Partie III. Mises en écrit d’une pathologie et pratiques de diffusion : L’emprunt de genres rhétoriques
Le dialogue
L’autobiographie
La correspondance fictionnelle
Les consultations par correspondance
L’anecdote

Partie IV. Code, vérité ou ruse ? Descriptions littéraires de troubles en quêtes de lecteurs
Troubles de circonstance et persiflage
Corps-vérité en attente d’exégèse
Tours de vapeurs et paroles obliques

Partie V. Mise en récit de cas pathologiques et création d’énigmes, les fonctions du narratif
À l’ombre du conte fantastique
Pièges et contre-pièges
La construction d’un secret
De l’authenticité du corps au savoir du patient

Partie VI. Jeux de rôles et redéfinitions de la médecine

Démystifier ou mystifier ? Fonder le rôle du médecin thérapeute
Stratégies de légitimation et définition du patient à venir

À rebours (Conclusion)

Cliquer ici pour de plus amples informations

Museums at Night Competition: Bethlem Archives

A history of psychiatry project that might interest H-Madness readers:

Bethlem Archives and Museum are through to the public voting stage to win photographer Rankin for a day, as part of the Museums at Night Connect 10 competition. Readers can vote for the project to go ahead by visiting: http://bit.ly/voteBethlem before 28 January.

If we win, we will hold a public workshop focusing on the mid-19th century photographs taken by society photographer Henry Hering. Hering photographed the faces of scores of Bethlem patients, examining the resulting images in order to detect the patients’ mental health conditions through their facial expressions and features. For more on this renowned collection, see: http://bethlemheritage.wordpress.com/tag/hospital-snapshots/page/2/ (please feel free to reproduce one of the images on the blog, credited to The Bethlem Art and History Collections Trust)

Keeping the Hering collection firmly in mind, the Museum plans to work with Rankin to create a new permanent collection of portraits. The project will raise awareness of the extent of mental illness, helping to work away at prejudices by showing that it is not always clear from a person’s appearance that they are unwell.

It would be greatly appreciated if you could help us promote the project and win the public vote!

Kind regards,


Sarah

Dr. Sarah Chaney

Research Associate

UCL Centre for the History of Psychological Disciplines

Workshop: “Soul Catchers – A Material History of the Mind Sciences” (Princeton, February 2014)

Soul Catchers – A Material History of the Mind Sciences 

A History of Science Workshop at Princeton University – February 7/8, 2014

Organized by Katja Guenther (Princeton) and Volker Hess (Charité/ Humboldt), and jointly funded by the Princeton-Humboldt Strategic Partnership, the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, and the History of Science Program

A soul catcher is a piece of incised bear femur decorated with animal heads. It is plugged with cedar bark on both ends, to catch and contain those ephemeral things that are often described by the term “soul” – a lost soul or an evil spirit. While the soul catcher today strikes us the work of superstition, and the product of an animistic culture, it resembles in both its form and function other, more mainstream, objects. Many technologies in the modern world, in daily life and in science, in the clinic and in the laboratory, might also in their way be labeled “soul catchers.” The psychoanalyst’s couch, the writer’s pen and paper, or the heavy machinery of scanners, processors, or EEG machines that populate our hospitals and research centers all try to catch that elusive object, which in the eighteenth- century was still called rather unproblematically the “soul.” Two hundred years later, the epistemic object caught in notebooks, photographs, film, PET scans, brain sections or electric circuits shows itself to be just as indeterminate as the soul caught in the hollow femur of the shaman.

This is not to downplay differences between these technologies of “soul catching,” which are indeed impossible to miss. Only a short glance reveals differences of complexity and scale, of cultural authority and plausibility. These differences also reflect many of the oppositions that structure the modern world: science versus superstition, mainstream versus marginal, and the finer differentiations between psychoanalysis, psychology, neurology, brain science, and criminology amongst others. But as the history of science teaches us, some of these divisions are new, and others have been constantly renegotiated over the past two hundred years. To use them to delimit the object of analysis would thus also pre-determine many of the results, and keep the research anchored to the categories of the present, upon whose genesis and constitution it might otherwise shed light.

For this reason, this workshop will try to lower the disciplinary boundaries that have traditionally kept these technologies separate, in order to examine the workings, problems, and futures of the technologies and the souls that they are catching. All these technologies confront the problem of how to use material objects in order to grasp something usually considered immaterial. Spirit photography attempts to capture traces of a departed spirit, a physical mark left on the photographic plate, as a sign of something we otherwise cannot see. So too, a PET scanner visualizes brain activity, representing “neural correlates” of depression, ethics, and more recently, love. Souls can be visualized, but they can also be written. The medical case history captures the mental disease of a psychiatric patient, the pen held by the writer of écriture automatique offers a point of access to the creative mind. Others have tried to grasp the soul through the expressiveness of the body. The measure of stress hormones in a laboratory animal allows us some access to its experience of stress, the lie detector is sensitive to minor vegetative changes in the body which supposedly can separate truth from falsehood.

While the workshop tries to break down certain distinctions, it also has the potential of providing new taxonomies. Would it be possible to divide up these soul catchers by the type of soul caught (emotional, pathological, spiritual, etc.)? Are the key divisions marked by the functions of the devices deployed (machines that make the invisible visible, that capture the ephemeral, that cultivate or produce certain mental states)? Or do the goals for which the catching process is deployed matter most (to analyze, to heal, to police)? 

*Please note that attendees are required to read pre-circulated papers prior to the workshop.

To register and access papers, contact Jackie Wasneski at wasneski@princeton.edu.

Click here for additional information.

CfP – Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society: a postgraduate conference (London, June 2014)

A POSTGRADUATE CONFERENCE

CENTRE FOR PSYCHOANALYSIS
MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY
LONDON

Saturday, 14 June, 2014

We invite postgraduate students and research fellows to submit proposals for papers on psychoanalysis or psychoanalytically informed research. Papers may be from any academic discipline, including psychology, sociology, cultural studies, psychosocial studies, history, literature, art, religious studies or philosophy. We also welcome proposals on clinical or theoretical topics from students on psychoanalytic trainings.

This one-day conference is designed to give postgraduate students from all disciplines who are interested in psychoanalysis an opportunity to present and discuss their research in an informal and intellectually stimulating setting.

Abstracts of 300 words (maximum) should include a title, the name of your university or training organisation and a telephone number. Papers should be no more than 20 minutes long. A further 10 minutes will be allowed for discussion. Sessions of 1½ hours will have space for three papers. There will be concurrent panels to accommodate as many papers as possible. The day will end with a plenary.

The conference takes place at the Hendon Campus of Middlesex University (30 minutes from central London) between 9:30 and 5:30 on Saturday, 14 June, 2014. Tea, coffee and a light lunch will be provided. The conference fee is £40 for presenters and attendees.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is Friday, 23  May, 2014. Early submission and registration is recommended. Abstracts and queries should be sent to: David Henderson, d.henderson@mdx.ac.uk

Registration:

http://www.onlinestore.mdx.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=5&deptid=11&catid=30&prodid=312

Centre for Psychoanalysis:

http://www.mdx.ac.uk/research/health_education/psychology/psychoanalysis/index.aspx

Spring 2014 Richardson History of Psychiatry Research Seminars (Weill Cornell, NYC)

Spring 2014

The Richardson History of Psychiatry Research Seminar

Convenes on the 1st & 3rd Wednesdays from September through May

 2:00 PM Baker Tower Conference Room F-1200


January 15

No Lecture – American Psychoanalytic Meeting

February 5

Joseph Fins, Weill Cornell Medical College
“Daniel Patrick Moynihan and the Defense of Academic Medicine”

February 19

Carl Schoonover, Ph.D., Axel Laboratory, Columbia University
“Visualizing Neural Structure: Historical Development and Contemporary Practice”

March 5

Nathan Kravis, M.D., Weill Cornell Medical College
“Whence the Couch?”

March 19

Edward Brown, M.D., Brown University
“François Leuret: The Last Moral Therapist”

April 2

Max Fink, M.D., Stonybrook University Medical School
“The Creation of Catatonia, its Co-option in Schizophrenia, and its Revival: Failure of Obeisance to Kraepelin”

April 16

Alexandra Bacopoulos-Viau, Ph.D., New York University
“From the ‘writing cure’ to the ‘talking cure’: Revisiting the discovery of the unconscious”

May 7

Sabine Arnaud, Ph.D., Max Planck Institute für Wissenschaftsgeschichte
“Deafness, Norms, and the Distribution of Expertise in the Late Nineteenth Century” 

May 21

Akihito Suzuki, School of Economics, Keio University
Eric T. Carlson Memorial Lecture: Grand Rounds, Uris Auditorium
“Madness, Marriage, and Migration: Eugenics and Japanese Society”

Richardson Seminar, Room f1190
“Modernism and Mental Illness in Early Twentieth-Century Tokyo”

* PLEASE NOTE: Space is limited. Attendance by permission only.

Click here for more information.

Guardian article: “Antidepressant use on the rise in rich countries, OECD finds”

The use of antidepressants has surged across the rich world over the past decade, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The Guardian has just published an article on this issue, with a video containing exclusive rare footage from patient interviews which shows the inside story of anti-depressants. The piece reads that “doctors in some countries are writing prescriptions for more than one in 10 adults, with Iceland, Australia, Canada and the other European Nordic countries leading the way”.

To read the entire article, click here.

The video can be accessed at http://www.theguardian.com/society/video/2013/nov/20/taking-tablets-personal-guide-anti-depressants-video

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