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Workshop: Ajuriaguerra en héritage (7/11/17)

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The workshop Ajuriaguerra en héritage at CH Sainte-Anne could be of interest to H-Madness readers.

Le mardi 7 novembre 2017 (9h-13h). CH Sainte-Anne, Amphi Morel, rue Cabanis 1 – 75014 Paris.

Inscriptions: gratuite mais obligatoire auprès du service Communication. 

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Cette demi-journée scientifique sera l’occasion d’approcher la richesse et la variété des champs de recherche et des enseignements dispensés par le Pr Julian de Ajuriaguerra, grande figure fondatrice de la neuropsychiatrie de l’enfant et de l’adolescent en France ayant exercé à Sainte-Anne de 1933 à 1959.

Le début de la matinée sera  consacrée aux films d’observation de bébés réalisés par l’équipe du Pr Julian de Ajuriaguerra, dans les années 1970-1980. Ces films proviennent du fonds d’archive de recherche de Marguerite Auzias, proche collaboratrice d’Ajuriaguerra durant 30 ans.

La seconde partie de la matinée permettra d’évoquer certaines pratiques cliniques et axes de recherche actuels, en vigueur à Sainte-Anne,  découlant directement de l’héritage d’Ajuriaguerra : il s’agira alors de s’intéresser aux enfants plus grands,  au moment où ils entrent dans les apprentissages, où ils se mettent à lire, à écrire et à compter…

Marguerite Auzias souhaitait que l’œuvre du Pr Julian de Ajuriaguerra puisse être transmise et comprise dans son originalité et l’importance capitale de son apport, aussi bien dans le domaine de la psychiatrie de l’adulte que dans celui de la neuropsychiatrie et neuropsychologie de l’enfant. Elle souhaitait également que soit conservé ce précieux héritage pour la formation scientifique, la recherche, la prévention et les thérapies en santé mentale et en éducation.

Situer cet héritage dans la clinique et la recherche contemporaines constitue l’ambition de notre matinée.

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New issue – Medical History

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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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Call for Papers – Material cultures of psychiatry

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Workshop in Hamburg. Date: 3-4 May 2018

Organisers: Dr Monika Ankele (Department for History and Ethics of Medicine at the University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf) and Prof. Benoît Majerus (Centre for Contemporary and Digital History, University of Luxembourg)

 CfP deadline: 15 December 2017

Languages: German, English

 

In the past, our ideas of psychiatric hospitals and their history have been shaped by objects like straitjackets, cribs and binding belts. These powerful objects are often used as a synonym for psychiatry and the way psychiatric patients are treated. But what do we really know about the social life (see Majerus 2011) of psychiatric patients and the stories of less spectacular objects in the everyday life of psychiatric institutions? What do we know about the material cultures of these places in general?

The workshop will use the term “material cultures” very broadly and in the plural. This term refers not only to medical objects, objects of therapy and objects of care, but also to everyday cultural objects. The latter are subject to change when they enter the realm of psychiatry, where they become part of the specific cultural praxis of psychiatric institutions: a bed clearly changes its meaning in a psychiatric hospital, but so do flowers, a mirror and a blanket. The term “material cultures” also includes phenomena that have a material dimension like air, light, colours and sound (see Kalthoff et al. 2016). The use of the term in the plural should make us aware of the different, often competing cultural practices that emerge when we focus on the application and appropriation of objects and materials by patients, doctors and nursing staff. It also raises the question of the extent to which material cultures influence both therapeutic treatment and the production of knowledge.

Objects as agents

Objects can be described as agents since they have a stabilising, destabilising and transforming impact on the practice of psychiatry; they organise social relationships, influence or predetermine the practice of psychiatry, have an impact on power relations and create specific self-relations and relationships with others. Presentations should analyse objects from the history of psychiatry as agents and explore their fields of action.

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New book – The Arabic Freud: Psychoanalysis and Islam in Modern Egypt

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The book The Arabic Freud: Psychoanalysis and Islam in Modern Egypt by Omnia El Shakry might be of interest to H-Madness readers. On the publishers website you can read the introduction of the book. The abstract reads as follows:

The first in-depth look at how postwar thinkers in Egypt mapped the intersections between Islamic discourses and psychoanalytic thought.

In 1945, psychologist Yusuf Murad introduced an Arabic term borrowed from the medieval Sufi philosopher and mystic Ibn ‘Arabi—al-la-shu‘ur—as a translation for Sigmund Freud’s concept of the unconscious. By the late 1950s, Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams had been translated into Arabic for an eager Egyptian public. In The Arabic Freud, Omnia El Shakry challenges the notion of a strict divide between psychoanalysis and Islam by tracing how postwar thinkers in Egypt blended psychoanalytic theories with concepts from classical Islamic thought in a creative encounter of ethical engagement.

Drawing on scholarly writings as well as popular literature on self-healing, El Shakry provides the first in-depth examination of psychoanalysis in Egypt and reveals how a new science of psychology—or “science of the soul,” as it came to be called—was inextricably linked to Islam and mysticism. She explores how Freudian ideas of the unconscious were crucial to the formation of modern discourses of subjectivity in areas as diverse as psychology, Islamic philosophy, and the law. Founding figures of Egyptian psychoanalysis, she shows, debated the temporality of the psyche, mystical states, the sexual drive, and the Oedipus complex, while offering startling insights into the nature of psychic life, ethics, and eros.

This provocative and insightful book invites us to rethink the relationship between psychoanalysis and religion in the modern era. Mapping the points of intersection between Islamic discourses and psychoanalytic thought, it illustrates how the Arabic Freud, like psychoanalysis itself, was elaborated across the space of human difference.

Conference – Nerves and War. Psychological Experiences of Mobilization and Suffering in Germany, 1900-1933 (Berlin, 12-13 October 2017)

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The conference ‘Nerves and War. Psychological Experiences of Mobilization and Suffering in Germany, 1900-1933‘ might be of interest to H-Madness readers. The conference takes place on 12-13 October 2017 and is hosted by the Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut at the Free University of Berlin. You can register for the conference until 5 October 2017 by sending an email to: Deniza Petrova, dpetrova@zedat.fu-berlin.de. Below you find the conference programme:

Donnerstag, 12. Oktober 2017

12.00-12.30 Uhr Anmeldung 

Einführung (12.30-13.45 Uhr)

Gundula Gahlen (Freie Universität Berlin)
Nerven und Krieg. Psychische Mobilisierungs- und Leidenserfahrungen in Deutschland 1900-1933: Einführung

Bernd Ulrich (Berlin)
Keynote: Krieg der Nerven – Krieg des Willens

Kaffeepause

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Review – Michal Shapira, The War Inside: Psychoanalysis, Total War, and the Making of the Democratic Self in Post-War Britain (Cambridge 2013)

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Paul Lerner, University of Southern California

The psychological impact of modern war on civilians remains a little studied topic, even as the already prodigious historical scholarship on war trauma continues to expand rapidly. Michal Shapira’s recent book makes great strides in redressing this gap, vividly depicting the emotional strains of war on women, children and other non-combatants and revealing the enormous and sustained expert attention the topic received in Britain in the 1940s and beyond.  Dealing with populations such as juvenile evacuees during Germany’s brutal air assault, Jewish children rescued from Nazi-controlled Europe, and civilians separated from their loved ones in uniform, thrust psychoanalysts, a group once reticent about taking political stands, into public debates about mental health, trauma, and child development.  Indeed, Shapira shows that as Britain sought to emerge from the war as a stable, intact and democratic society in a devastated and fiercely divided Europe, psychoanalysts became key contributors to general discussions about the family, violence, criminality and sexuality.

Shapira frames these discussions broadly, drawing on Nikolas Rose’s Foucault-inspired work on the historicitiy and constructedness of the modern self, indeed furthering his argument that the individual with psychological depth and an “inner life” emerged in the middle of the twentieth century, due in part to the emergence of the “psy” disciplines.  Shapira builds on this insight with parallel interventions in the history of childhood, focusing on a crucial transitional moment from Victorian attitudes toward children as pure and innocent to more modern, developmental and psychologically-nuanced ideas, which saw childhood more as a precursor to adulthood where nascent sexual urges, aggression, and psychodynamic conflicts leave a lasting imprint on the psyche.  Child rearing and education then became bound up with Britain’s larger national project of emerging from the trying ordeal of war and returning to a normal domestic order.  This order, propped up by psychoanalysts, social scientists and the postwar social democratic state, involved re-inscribing traditional gender roles and emphasizing the centrality of the mother to healthful child development and domestic tranquility.

A great many of these elements can be traced back to the First World War and the interwar period.  Shapira’s first chapter goes back to that era to argue that wartime experiences helped chip away at the strict division between healthy and pathological psyches, and most significantly, that medical and psychological professions became more accepting of fear and anxiety as normal, healthy reactions to wartime experiences.  Psychoanalysts in particular played a pronounced role in this shift.  Their work with war neurotics, along with Freudian ideas about trauma, helped remove the stigma from sufferers of anxiety-induced conditions.  By the beginning of World War II, Shapira argues, these changes had taken root in lay attitudes as well, and amid Germany’s aerial bombing campaigns, many Britons openly expressed their terror and anxieties or confided them to psychologists frankly and without shame.

Most of the book’s subsequent sections focus on children as subjects of psychological treatment and expert intervention.  Its second chapter foregrounds the work Anna Freud and other psychoanalysts conducted with child evacuees and refugees.  Here the theme of the “war inside” begins to emerge, as contemporaries equated the potentially traumatizing consequences of bombardment, violence and separation with the internal turmoil of the child’s psyche.  For Anna Freud, then, violence and aggression were normal childhood tendencies, stages that all children navigate through as part of the maturation process.  The problem then was not that war-produced violence threatened to shatter fragile, beatific babes, rather that external violence could stunt children’s psychological development, that it could seem like a normative state and that kids therefore would not learn how to manage their emotions and overcome it.  Plumbing rich collections of case histories, Shapira tells of children equating German military aggression with adult anger, or bombing with parental punishment, suggesting the extent to which external danger and internal dynamics were intertwined.  The solution lay in (re)-establishing parenting and familial bonds which Anna Freud and her colleagues saw as crucial for the resolution and management of these childhood conflicts.

The famous Anna Freud – Melanie Klein dispute takes center stage in the third chapter, in which Shapira covers tensions between the existing British psychoanalytic community and the newer cohort of Central European émigré analysts.  As is familiar to scholars of psychoanalysis, Melanie Klein considered children’s play to be akin to adult psychoanalysis, in other words a setting for transference, rife with symbolic meanings for the analyst to decode. Freud viewed this notion skeptically, doubting that children were sufficiently psychologically developed for these dynamics and emphasizing instead the need for corrective pedagogy, betraying her indebtedness to Austrian educational theory from the 1920s and 30s.  Shapira’s contribution to the historiography of this debate is to call attention not to the disparity in the two positions, but to stress the common ground between the famous rivals (and the many “independent” analysts in the middle), in their shared representation of the emotional dynamics of childhood and the articulation of psychoanalytic therapeutics for children.  Shapira credits Klein with playing a crucial role in the creation of modern selfhood as she developed a deep psychological approach to understanding the impact of war and violence, in implicit contrast to the more sociological analyses of Erich Fromm and his Frankfurt School colleagues or the more materialist and mechanical theories of mainstream psychology and psychiatry.  Her key point here is that despite their theoretical and clinical differences, together Freud, Klein and others turned the child into an object of technical expertise and state intervention and made their care a matter of national concern.

The fourth chapter broadens out to the popularization of psychoanalytic expertise, which Shapira traces through a series of radio broadcasts created by Donald Winnicott and the BBC between 1943 and 1966.  Detailing the collaboration between Winnicott and his BBC producer Janet Quigley, she shows how psychoanalytic ideas about child development buttressed the new emphasis on family in postwar Britain and placed responsibility for children’s emotional wellbeing firmly on the mother, a theme she takes up again near the book’s end.  Winnicott and his BBC sponsors thus fed into postwar pronatalism and the emerging conception that the family was the bedrock of a healthy democratic state.  The gender-political implications of this stance are clear, and given the mobilization of British women in the armed services and wartime work, psychoanalytic expertise here served the larger political aim of bringing women back into the domestic sphere and blaming working women for their children’s emotional struggles.

Chapters five and six treat the Institute for the Scientific Treatment of Delinquency (ISTD) first during the war and then amid the establishment of the postwar “therapeutic” welfare state.  Here she traces the transition from more punitive approaches to a new emphasis on treatment and rehabilitation, in part, due to the influence of psychoanalysts who were strongly represented in the ranks of the ISTD researchers.  No less a figure than Sigmund Freud himself, along with Ernest Jones, Otto Rank and Carl Jung, among others, served as ISTD vice presidents.  Criminality represents a kind of bridge, an issue which brought psychoanalytic perspectives on childhood and development into the public sphere and into the administrative apparatus of the postwar welfare state.  As she moves into the postwar period, her discussion shifts to issues like prostitution, homosexuality and deviance.. Shapira elucidates the psychoanalytic side of the discussion but also surveys the work of state officials, social scientists and members of the judicial system, revealing that not only were psychoanalysts addressing these issues, but that people in power were listening to them.  Consequently, the postwar years saw a broader acceptance of psychological, as opposed to moral or economic, approaches to crime and deviance.

In her concluding chapter on child hospitalization and attachment theory, Shapira comes full circle.  Having begun with the evacuation of children during wartime bombing and their resulting separation from their parents, she ends with the broader embrace of the salubriousness of the  mother – child bond, as demonstrated, for example, in the reversal of older policies that kept hospitalized children sequestered from their mothers and fathers.  Using media sources and letters from parents, she is able to document the wider diffusion of psychoanalytic ideas about childhood and parenting not only in official circles but also among the general public.  Indeed this book’s varied source base is one of its great strengths.  Based on case histories, archival sources, professional journals, and radio, television and newspapers, the book operates on many levels and provides a broad overview of many of the ways a psychoanalytic sensibility crept into public discourse in these years and meshed with the goals of the nascent welfare state.  At the center of their concerns was of course the mother and the importance placed on her presence as a domestic anchor, the fundament of the healthy family and the restored nation.

Carefully researched and tightly argued, this book makes broad and intriguing claims about postwar British subjectivity and the origins of modern, psychoanalytically informed notions of the self.  While generally persuasive, these claims could have been further substantiated with additional discussion of British political culture.  Whereas Shapira gives some attention to the ascent of Labour after the war, she completely neglects the loss of empire which, as other historians have argued, was deeply intertwined with the emergence of the welfare state and which certainly influenced notions of Britishness, citizenship and selfhood in the postwar period.  Parallel to her discussions of sexuality, gender and the family in the reconstitution of British political life, including race and post-imperial identity could have deepened the analysis and broadened its appeal.  It would also have been interesting to place the British case, at least speculatively, in a broader context with some acknowledgement of parallel developments in North American and on the European continent.  These points notwithstanding, The War Inside is a vital addition to the study of psychoanalysis and its diffusion, the history of childhood, and the rise of the therapeutic-administrative state.  It successfully gets at the fundamental but extremely elusive process by which our emotions, feelings, and drives became things for us to manage, part of the individual’s project, helping show how the modern self emerged from the rubble of the middle of the twentieth century.

John Burnham (1929-2017)

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We at h-madness are saddened to hear the news of the passing last week of historian of medicine and psychiatry John Burnham. John served on the faculty at Ohio State University from 1963 to 2002, was president of the American Association for the History of Medicine from 1990-1992, and was editor of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences from 1997 to 2000.

Burnham’s works have left an indelible mark on the historiography of the human sciences and mental health in the United States. Over the course of his career, John exhibited a remarkable range of interests: from the historical links connecting the collective fates of drinking, smoking, taking drugs, gambling, and swearing to reconsidering the place of psychoanalysis in America to tracing how psychiatry was transnationalized following World War II through a remarkable switch to English-language communication.

In my estimation, one of his most novel and interesting works was his 2009 book Accident Prone: A History of Technology, Psychology and Misfits of the Machine Age. In it, he moved against the grain of the historiography of contemporary psychiatry – which has tended to focus on the proliferation of diagnoses – and explored how, despite the advocacy of some prominent psychologists following World War I, the diagnosis of “accident proneness” was usurped during the second half of the 20th century by engineers who “developed new technologies to protect all people, thereby introducing a hidden, but radical, egalitarianism.” Here is a fascinating and rather counter-intuitive story that pays attention to the histories of subjectivity, technology, the human sciences, and the environment, while also noting the political consequences of their interactions.

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For those of us moving in the circles of professional conferences on the history of psychiatry and madness, John was a faithful, regular presence. What always struck me about John was his genuine curiosity in the subject and in what others had to say. Despite his vast experience thinking and writing about the history of mental health, he had a passion for hearing what the newest cohorts of junior faculty and PhD students had to say on the subject. His simple words of encouragement helped sustain younger, self-doubting colleagues like myself as we waded through difficult dissertations, unsuccessful job applications, and rejected manuscripts.

Passion, curiosity, intellectual boldness, encouragement: these are some of the chief characteristics of a successful mentor. And they just happen to be some of the characteristics I will always associate with John.

Greg Eghigian

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