Archive for the ‘ Varia ’ Category

Podcast series about the history of psychiatry

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Professor Rab Houston has a podcast series about the history of psychiatry that could be of interest to H-Madness readers. The last podcast of the first series is on Tuesday 16 May 2017 and can be found here.  The first series will be available to download or listen to for at least the next three years. Those who have used the podcast can give feedback via email, social media or the questionnaire on the website.

There is a follow-up series about the experience of madness that will begin on 23 May 2017. It is called ‘The Voice of the Mad’ and explores in 25 weekly podcasts the experience of sufferers and those close to them, through personal accounts. Those accounts will be available as text online and there will be a recording of ‘the voice’, done by a member of Mermaids, the University of St Andrews’ amateur dramatic society. Rab Houston will explain the meaning and importance of each account.

More information about the podcast can be found here.





Today (16 November) on BBC 3: Freud in Asia

BBC 3 Sunday Feature

Christopher Harding, John Gallagher

Documentaries presented by two of Radio 3’s New Generation Thinkers.


Christopher Harding explores the influence of Freud on psychotherapy in Japan and India. Freud’s travels around Europe and the USA a century ago catapulted psychotherapy to fame.

The invitations to Japan and India came too late for him to travel but he found his work debated throughout Asia. In India he was discussed by British colonial officers, who penned amateur tracts about Indian nationalism as mere sexual trauma.

Thousands of miles further east in Tokyo, Freud was partnered with a medieval Buddhist saint in the hybrid psychoanalytic technique of Heisaku Kosawa. Mishima read and was influenced by his work. Christopher Harding explores the spread of Freud’s influence and its significance.


John Gallagher focuses on the history of a long-overlooked form of literature: the foreign language phrase book. The British often assume that most people we meet abroad will speak English – and many of them do.

This was not the case three or four centuries ago, when the Grand Tour became a rite of passage and an increasing number of entrepreneurs forged trade links across Europe and beyond. At that time English was a minority language.

Phrase books and travel guides of the time reveal the preoccupations of the day and, in the varied dialogues and phrases they offered, reflect the needs of a variety of travellers, be they tourists keen to visit the art of Italy or the salons of Paris, merchants seeking to make deals in Dutch marketplaces, or spies intent on learning the secrets of continental powers.

Producers Fiona McLean and Mohini Patel

For more information:

Mad Studies to replace (history of) psychiatry?

Screenshot from 2014-10-11 09:58:09In a recent article, the Guardian presented Mad Matters, a Canadian movement that pleads for taking into account “the lived experience of madness”. Mad Matters brings together academics and “mental health survivors”, among them the well-known historian George Reaume. Kathryn Church, one of the initiator, challenges the way historians are writing over madness:

What we’re trying to do is offer a counterpoint to the history of psychiatry, which is sort of a professional and a disciplinary history, with the lived experience of madness,

The titles of the different classes, h-madness has assembled on the history of psychiatry, show how historians have tried to handle the tensions between “psychiatry”, “madness”, “mental health”, “medicine”….

A History of Madness Timeline


This infographic “The History of Madness” has been developed by Nora McAdams from the site Best Counseling Degrees. All your comments are welcome.

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: 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: (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,


Dr. Sarah Chaney

Research Associate

UCL Centre for the History of Psychological Disciplines

Viggo Mortensen visits the Freud Museum

A few days ago, actor Viggo Mortensen visited the Freud Museum in London and participated in a lively Q&A session about his latest film, A Dangerous MethodThe Hollywood News published an article about this session, conducted by Chair of the Museum, Lisa Appignanesi:

It’s a mid-week evening at the Freud Museum just off Finchley Road in London, and the institute is hosting a screening of David Cronenberg’s very apt A DANGEROUS METHOD; before all that, Viggo Mortensen spends a few minutes talking about his portrayal of Sigmund Freud within the film, and the process of making it all happen. THN was there to listen in.

To read the entire article, click here.

To view pictures of the event, click here.

Question from a reader on Native Americans

Kathryn McKay from the Simon Fraser University sent the following question:


I am looking for articles from the late 19th or early 20th century that describe the mental conditions of Native Americans and First Nations peoples from a medical perspective, rather than from an anthropological one.  The earliest I have found are Dr. Hummers'”Insanity among the Indians” from 1911, Dr. A.A. Brill’s “Piblokto or Hysteria among Peary’s Eskimos,from 1913” and Dr. I Coriat’s “Psychoneuroses among primitive tribes”from 1915.

Please let me know if you know of anything earlier. I am particularly interested in dementia praecox, but am more generally interested in any discussion of “insanity.”

I can be reached at

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