Archive for the ‘ Announcements ’ Category

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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New issue: Social History of Medicine


The new issue of Social History of Medicine includes at least two articles that could be of interest to H-Madness readers:

Katariina Parhi and Petteri Pietikainen, Socialising the Anti-Social: Psychopathy, Psychiatry and Social Engineering in Finland, 1945–1968.

This article argues that in Finland during the two decades after the Second World War, the diagnosis of psychopathy represented a failed attempt to adjust ‘difficult’ individuals to the social order. Discussing the social and medical character of the diagnosis, we examine psychopathy using the analytic and historical framework of social engineering in post-war Finland. We utilise patient records, official documents and psychiatric publications and analyse the diagnostic uses of psychopathy and its associations with social maladjustment. We also address the question of how mental health care in the less-developed northern part of Finland grappled with behavioural deviance, and especially with behaviour deemed ‘anti-social’. Contextualising psychopathy as a marker of individual disorganisation within the development of social organisation, this article contributes to historical scholarship that maps mental disorders onto the historical development of the nation.

Concepts used by historians are as historical as the diagnoses or categories that are studied. The example of Munchausen syndrome (deceptive presentation of illness in order to adopt the ‘sick role’) is used to explore this. Like most psychiatric diagnoses, Munchausen syndrome is not thought applicable across time by social historians of medicine. It is historically specific, drawing upon twentieth-century anthropology and sociology to explain motivation through desire for the ‘sick role’. Ian Hacking’s concepts of ‘making up people’ and ‘looping effects’ are regularly utilised outside of the context in which they are formed. However, this context is precisely the same anthropological and sociological insight used to explain Munchausen syndrome. It remains correct to resist the projection of Munchausen syndrome into the past. However, it seems inconsistent to use Hacking’s concepts to describe identity formation before the twentieth century as they are given meaning by an identical context.


New issue: L’Évolution Psychiatrique


The new issue of L’Évolution Psychiatrique includes multiple articles related to the history of psychiatry that could be of interest to H-Madness readers:

Jean Garrabé, La place de l’histoire dans l’enseignement de la clinique mentale

Jacques Hochmann, Réflexions sur les rapports entre l’histoire et la psychiatri

Thierry Haustgen, Les psychiatres historiens

Clément Fromentin, Pourquoi faire l’histoire de la psychiatrie ? Le cas de l’Évolution psychiatrique (1925–1985)

Hervé Guillemain, Le retour aux sources. Points de vue sur l’histoire sociale de la psychiatrie et de la maladie mentale

Thomas Lepoutre, La psychiatrie néo-kraepelinienne à l’épreuve de l’histoire. Nouvelles considérations sur la nosologie kraepelinienne

Loig Le Sonn, Le test d’intelligence Binet-Simon dans les asiles (1898–1908). L’invention d’une nouvelle pratique d’interrogatoire

Laurence Guignard, Crime et Psychiatrie. Antoine Léger, le lycanthrope : une étape dans la généalogie des perversions sexuelles (1824–1903)

Emmanuel Delille, Crise d’originalité juvénile ou psychose débutante ? Les représentations de l’adolescence « à risque » après-guerre en France et en Allemagne

Benoît Majerus, Fragilités guerrières – Les fous parisiens dans la Grande Guerre

Pierre Chenivesse and Manuella De Luca, Le théâtre du Grand Guignol et l’aliénisme




New Book: “Homo Cinematicus” (Andreas Killen)

Homo CinematicusHomo Cinematicus
Science, Motion Pictures, and the Making of Modern Germany

Andreas Killen

Andreas Killen, Professor of History at the City College of New York and the CUNY Graduate Center (and H-Madness co-editor), has a new book out entitled Homo Cinematicus. Science, Motion Pictures, and the Making of Modern Germany with University of Pennsylvania Press.

In the early decades of the twentieth century, two intertwined changes began to shape the direction of German society. The baptism of the German film industry took place amid post-World War I conditions of political and social breakdown, and the cultural vacuum left by collapsing institutions was partially filled by moving images. At the same time, the emerging human sciences—psychiatry, neurology, sexology, eugenics, industrial psychology, and psychoanalysis—began to play an increasingly significant role in setting the terms for the way Germany analyzed itself and the problems it had inherited from its authoritarian past, the modernizing process, and war. Moreover, in advancing their professional and social goals, these sciences became heavily reliant on motion pictures.

Situated at the intersection of film studies, the history of science and medicine, and the history of modern Germany, Homo Cinematicus connects the rise of cinema as a social institution to an inquiry into the history of knowledge production in the human sciences. Taking its title from a term coined in 1919 by commentator Wilhelm Stapel to identify a new social type that had been created by the emergence of cinema, Killen’s book explores how a new class of experts in these new disciplines converged on the figure of the “homo cinematicus” and made him central to many of that era’s major narratives and social policy initiatives.

Killen traces film’s use by the human sciences as a tool for producing, communicating, and popularizing new kinds of knowledge, as well as the ways that this alliance was challenged by popular films that interrogated the truth claims of both modern science and scientific cinema. In doing so, Homo Cinematicus endeavors to move beyond the divide between scientific and popular film, examining their historical coexistence and coevolution.

For more information about this book, click here.

Journée d’étude – La psychiatrie: transformations de la prise en charge des patients et de l’institution du XIXe à nos jours (29 septembre 2017, Lyon)


The seminar ‘La psychiatrie: transformations de la prise en charge des patients et de l’institution du XIXe à nos jours’ could be of interest to H-Madness readers. The event will take place on the 29th of September 2017 in Lyon. Below you find the abstract and the programme of the meeting. More information you can find here or you can contact Pierre Rogez (


Cette journée nationale est organisée par la Société française d’histoire des hôpitaux et le centre hospitalier du Vinatier à Bron. On s’attachera à décrire les évolutions de la prise en charge des patients à travers les idées d’abord mais surtout à travers l’évolution de l’institution. Au moment du centenaire de la première guerre mondiale il sera important de monter l’incidence des deux gueres mondiales sur les hôpitaux psychiatriques. La deuxième partie de la journée s’attachera à insister sur l’importance de la culture et de l’art dans l’évolution de la prise en charge des patients.


Axes thématiques

  • les hôpitaux psychiatriques à l’épreuve des deux guerres mondiales: parenthèse ou tournant dans l’histoire de la psychiatrie moderne
  • “anti-aliénistes” et mouvements de patients au 19è siècle: panorama des premières antipsychiatries européennes.
  • mythes et réalités de la déshospitalisation en France (1960-1985)
  • Des premières productions insolites aux ateliers d’art thérapie: regard historique sur la création de l’hôpital psychiatrique.
  • Comment une politique culturelle peut-elle accompagner les transformations d’un hôpital.

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The Richardson History of Psychiatry Research Seminar (Fall 2017, Cornell University)


The Richardson History of Psychiatry Research Seminar at Cornell University might be of interest to H-Madness readers. The lectures are held in the fall of 2017.

The programme:

September 6
Benjamin Zajicek, Ph.D., Towson University
“Soviet Psychiatrists and ‘The So-Called Traumatic Neuroses of Wartime:’ Medical Practice and Professional Politics in the USSR, 1939-1945”
September 20
Dany Nobus, Ph.D., Brunel University, London
The Madness of Princess Alice: Sigmund Freud and Ernst Simmel at Sanatorium Schloss Tegel”
October 4
Avraham Rot, Ph.D., John Hopkins University
“The Postulate of Anxiety in Freudian Theory, or Why There Are No Boredom Disorders”
October 18
Robert Goldstein, M.D., Weill Cornell Medical College
“Innateness in Behavioral Science: A Hundreds’ Year War”
November 1
Samuel Scharff, M.D./Ph.D. Candidate, Johns Hopkins
“‘A Glimpse of the Promised Land’: Psychiatry, Law, and the Politics of U.S. Criminal Justice, 1941-1976”
November 15
Thomas Dodman, Ph.D., Boston College
“What Nostalgia Was: Emotions Before Trauma”
November 29
Issues In Mental Health
December 6
Matthew Gambino, M.D., Ph.D., University of Illinois, Chicago
“Mental health and Ideals of Citizenship: Patient Care at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., 1903–1962”
December 20
No Seminar — Holiday Party





New issue – NTM Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin


The new issue of NTM Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin includes one article that could be of interest to H-Madness readers:

Marcus B. Carrier, Geschlechternormen und Expertise. Geschlechterkonstruktionen in psychiatrischen Gerichtsgutachten im Deutschen Kaiserreich 1871–1914. The abstract on the publishers website reads:

Dieser Artikel beschäftigt sich mit Geschlechterstereotypen in psychiatrischen Gerichtsgutachten während des Deutschen Kaiserreichs 1871–1914. Wie gezeigt werden wird, lassen sich in diesen Gutachten vier auf das Geschlecht bezogene Narrative identifizieren. Einerseits wurden Frauen und Männer beschrieben, die den Geschlechterstereotypen der Zeit nicht entsprachen. Für diese nonkonformen Angeklagten wurde in den hier betrachteten Gutachten die Erklärung zur Unzurechnungsfähigkeit empfohlen. Andererseits wurden aber auch Männer und Frauen beschrieben, die sich konform zu den entsprechenden Stereotypen verhielten. Allerdings wurden in diesen Fällen „weibliche“ Frauen weiterhin tendenziell für unzurechnungsfähig erklärt, während „männliche“ Männer der Simulation einer Geisteskrankheit bezichtigt wurden, um einer Strafe zu entgehen. Ich werde argumentieren, dass diese Ergebnisse Grundannahmen der Feministischen Epistemologie stärken: sie zeigen erstens, dass psychiatrische Vorstellungen von Zurechnungsfähigkeit eng verbunden waren mit der der Norm des „männlichen“ Mannes, und zweitens, dass ein doppelter Standard bei der Beurteilung des Geisteszustands von Männern und Frauen angelegt wurde.



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