Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category
We are saddened to report the passing of historian Gerald N. Grob. Grob was Henry E. Sigerist Professor of the History of Medicine (Emeritus) at Rutgers University and its Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research. He was a pioneering historian of American psychiatry, the author of such influential works as The Mad Among Us, From Asylum to Community: Mental Health Policy in Modern America, and Mental Institutions in America: Social Policy to 1875. Colleagues and former students remember him especially fondly for his generosity, commitment to teaching, and measured analysis.
In 2012, Grob took part in our series “How I Became a Historian of Psychiatry.” His concluding comments there seeming a fit way to remember him:
In closing I must concede that a series of personal beliefs have clearly shaped my scholarly work. I have never held to the modern belief that human beings mold and control their world in predetermined and predictable ways. This is not in any way to suggest that we are totally powerless to control our destiny. It is only to insist upon both our fallibility and our inability to predict all of the consequences that follow our actions. Nor do I believe that human behavior can be reduced to a set of deterministic or quasi-deterministic laws or generalizations, or that solutions are readily available for all our problems. Tragedy is a recurring theme in human history and defines the parameters of our existence. I have always tried, therefore, to deal sympathetically with our predecessors who grappled–so often in partial and unsuccessful ways as we still do ourselves–with their own distinct problem.
Today we received sad news of the passing of Professor John Forrester, one of the leading historians of psychoanalysis. The University of Cambridge Department of History and Philosophy of Science has posted a thoughtful obituary by Simon Schaffer, also published in The Independent (see Professor John Forrester: Philosopher and historian widely celebrated for his work on Sigmund Freud and much-loved as an inspiring teacher).
Psychoanalysis and neurological medicine have promoted contrasting and seemingly irreconcilable notions of the modern self. Since Freud, psychoanalysts have relied on the spoken word in a therapeutic practice that has revolutionized our understanding of the mind. Neurologists and neurosurgeons, meanwhile, have used material apparatus—the scalpel, the electrode—to probe the workings of the nervous system, and in so doing have radically reshaped our understanding of the brain. Both operate in vastly different institutional and cultural contexts.
Given these differences, it is remarkable that both fields found resources for their development in the same tradition of late nineteenth-century German medicine: neuropsychiatry. In Localization and Its Discontents, Katja Guenther investigates the significance of this common history, drawing on extensive archival research in seven countries, institutional analysis, and close examination of the practical conditions of scientific and clinical work. Her remarkable accomplishment not only reframes the history of psychoanalysis and the neuro disciplines, but also offers us new ways of thinking about their future.
For more information on this book, see the University of Chicago Press website.
The history of cinema, like the history of psychoanalysis, psychiatry and psychotherapy, percolates with Western suspicions that our minds are susceptible to covert, even unconscious manipulation. Cinema and psychoanalysis—two essential exponents of subjectivity in the twentieth century—have been celebrated as royal roads to the unconscious, catalysts for our dreams, and means of self-discovery and human emancipation. But cinema and psychotherapy, Freudian or otherwise, have also been castigated for their special capacity to tap the unconscious, and as tools for mind control, even as they have depicted and shaped understanding of what it means to have or to manipulate a mind.
In this workshop we ask whether the Cold War obsession with brainwashing was a break with past narratives and anxieties over mental manipulation and suggestion. We consider how far cinema, television and video have been caught up in this history of hidden or coercive persuasion, and how far they have changed the terms of debate. What forms of human experimentation inspired interest in brainwashing, and vice versa? And how and why did depictions of automatism on screen so often connect to fears of the ‘psy’ professions?
In addressing these questions we revisit some iconic and obscure brainwashing sagas of the past. By re-examining Cold War films and some of their precursors, we invite discussion of the representation of coercively altered states of consciousness—the dangerous spell that film and ‘the talking cure’ have been said to exert.
Raymond Bellour (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique): Cinema and Hypnoses: Mabuse as an example
Laura Mulvey (Birkbeck, University of London): From Momism to The Feminine Mystique
Maya Oppenheimer & Rod Dickinson (University of West England): Re-enacting Obedience: laboratory on film
Jelena Martinovic (Geneva University of Art and Design): Depatterning desire: Aversion therapy on film
Laura Marcus (University of Oxford): Flicker
Marcie Holmes (Birkbeck, University of London): Flickering lights: mind control on screen
Ian Christie (Birkbeck, University of London): The Soviet story: From interrogation to confession
Ana Antic (Birkbeck, University of London): Cinema and education: Building the new communist person
Erik Linstrum (University of Virginia): Interrogating The Interrogator: Cyprus, the BBC, and the performance of violence
Gavin Collinson (BBC): Brainwashing on the Box: Depictions of brainwashing on British TV
Daniel Pick (Birkbeck, University of London): Suddenly: Some thoughts about assassination at the cinema
Simon Schaffer (University of Cambridge): Manchurian Automata
Two upcoming events at the UCL Centre for the History of Psychological Disciplines:
PROFESSOR MARK MICALE: A GLOBAL HISTORY OF TRAUMA
UCL, Tuesday 16th June 2015, 6-7.30pm
Historical trauma studies continue to burgeon, but the work in this
flourishing field of scholarship is derived from a small number of
purely Euro-American catastrophic events, which serve as historical and
psychological paradigms. Micale, who contributed to earlier debates in
the field with his edited collection Traumatic Pasts: History,
Psychiatry, and Trauma in the Modern Age, 1870-1930, argues that
scholars need now to look beyond the West toward a new, more genuinely
global perspective on the history of trauma. He focuses in particular on
new research being done about Asia.
PSYCHOANALYTIC FILIATIONS: MAPPING THE PSYCHOANALYTIC MOVEMENT
UCL, Saturday 18th July 2015 2-6pm
How does one write the history of the psychoanalytic movement? This
event marks the publication of Ernst Falzeder’s book, Psychoanalytic
Filiations: Mapping the Psychoanalytic Movement (Karnac Books), with a
series of debates and discussions on this theme.
Written over a span of nearly a quarter century, the “red thread”
running through the book is the network of psychoanalytic “filiations”
(who analysed whom), and how crucial concepts of depth psychology were
developed before the background of those intense relationships: for
example, Freud’s technical recommendations, the therapeutic use of
countertransference and the view of the psychoanalytic situation as a
social, interactive process, the introduction of the anal phase, the
birth of the object-relations-model as opposed to the drive-model in
psychoanalysis, or the psychotherapeutic treatment of psychoses. Several
chapters deal with key figures in that history, such as Sándor Ferenczi,
Karl Abraham, Eugen Bleuler, Otto Rank, and C. G. Jung, their respective
relationships to each other and to Freud, and the consequences that
their collaboration, as well as conflicts, with him had for the further
development of psychoanalysis up to the present day. Other chapters give
an overview on the publications of Freud’s texts and on unpublished
documents (the “unknown Freud”), the editorial policy of the
publications of Freud’s letters.
Dr. Ernst Falzeder (UCL)
Dr. Shaul Bar-Heim (Birkbeck College)
Arthur Eaton (UCL)
Dr. Matt ffytche (University of Essex)
Prof. Brett Kahr (Roehampton University)
Dr. Sarah Marks (University of Cambridge)
Dee McQuillan (UCL)
Dr. Richard Skues (London Metropolitan University)
Chair: Prof. Sonu Shamdasani (UCL)
Full details and registration online here:
It is with great pleasure that we announce the publication of a special issue of Medical Humanities journal, edited by Centre for Medical Humanities researchers William Viney, Felicity Callard, and Angela Woods.
Exploring the many valences of the word ‘critical’ across and beyond the medical humanities, the special collection champions a ‘critical medical humanities’ characterised by: (i) a widening of the sites and scales of ‘the medical’ beyond the primal scene of the clinical encounter; (ii) greater attention not simply to the context and experience of health and illness, but to their constitution at multiple levels; (iii) closer engagement with critical theory, queer and disability studies, activist politics and other allied fields; (iv) recognition that the arts, humanities and social sciences are best viewed not as in service or in opposition to the clinical and life sciences, but as productively entangled with a ‘biomedical culture’; and, following on from this, (v) robust commitment to new forms of interdisciplinary and cross-sector collaboration. A more detailed account of these arguments can be found in the introductory paper.
The broadest ambition of this collection is to offer an invitation to think carefully about ‘critical’ priorities and to enliven debate about the guiding assumptions of medical humanities research. It does so by publishing work by those who may not ordinarily label themselves as medical humanities researchers. Andy Goffey, Jan Slaby, Mel Y. Chen, Bronwyn Parry, Lynne Friedli and Robert Stearn are leading social science and humanities scholars who reflect upon the work of criticism in fields as diverse as immunology, neuroscience, race and disability studies, reproductive and fertility industries, and social policy. We have also invited short responses from Alex Nading, Stacey Smith, Clare Barker, Luna Dolezal, and Sarah Atkinson to draw out the key ideas of each article. We are extremely grateful to all our contributors for their time, energy, and commitment to this publication.
With the support of the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Deborah Bowman, this special issue of Medical Humanities is free to access online until 15th June 2015. We would like to extend our thanks to Deborah for enthusiastically supporting this project and to Emma Chan and her colleagues at the British Medical Journal for their professionalism and attention to detail.