New issue – History of Psychiatry


The second issue of 2017 of History of Psychiatry is now available and could be of interest to H-madness readers. The issue includes the following articles:

Philippe Huneman, From a religious view of madness to religious mania: the Encyclopédie, Pinel, Esquirol.

This paper focuses on the shift from a concept of insanity understood in terms of religion to another (as entertained by early psychiatry, especially in France) according to which it is believed that forms of madness tinged by religion are difficult to cure. The traditional religious view of madness, as exemplified by Pascal (inter alia), is first illustrated by entries from the Encyclopédie. Then the shift towards a medical view of madness, inspired by Vitalistic physiology, is mapped by entries taken from the same publication. Firmed up by Pinel, this shift caused the abandonment of the religious view. Esquirol considered religious mania to be a vestige from the past, but he also believed that mental conditions carrying a religious component were difficult to cure.

The debate on the causes and the nature of pellagra in Italy during the nineteenth century resembles and evokes the similar debate on General Paralysis of the Insane (GPI) that was growing at the same time in the United Kingdom. Pellagra and GPI had a massive and virulent impact on the populations of Italy and the UK, respectively, and contributed to a great extent to the increase and overcrowding of the asylum populations in these countries. This article compares the two illnesses by examining the features of their nosographic positioning, aetiology and pathogenesis. It also documents how doctors arrived at the diagnoses of the two diseases and how this affected their treatment.

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New book – The Recovery Revolution. The Battle Over Addiction Treatment in the United States


The book The Recovery Revolution. The Battle Over Addiction Treatment in the United States, written by Claire D. Clark, could be of interest to H-Madness readers. The abstract reads:

In the 1960s, as illegal drug use grew from a fringe issue to a pervasive public concern, a new industry arose to treat the addiction epidemic. Over the next five decades, the industry’s leaders promised to rehabilitate the casualties of the drug culture even as incarceration rates for drug-related offenses climbed. In this history of addiction treatment, Claire D. Clark traces the political shift from the radical communitarianism of the 1960s to the conservatism of the Reagan era, uncovering the forgotten origins of today’s recovery movement.

Based on extensive interviews with drug-rehabilitation professionals and archival research, The Recovery Revolution locates the history of treatment activists’ influence on the development of American drug policy. Synanon, a controversial drug-treatment program launched in California in 1958, emphasized a community-based approach to rehabilitation. Its associates helped develop the therapeutic community (TC) model, which encouraged peer confrontation as a path to recovery. As TC treatment pioneers made mutual aid profitable, the model attracted powerful supporters and spread rapidly throughout the country. The TC approach was supported as part of the Nixon administration’s “law-and-order” policies, favored in the Reagan administration’s antidrug campaigns, and remained relevant amid the turbulent drug policies of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. While many contemporary critics characterize American drug policy as simply the expression of moralizing conservatism or a mask for racial oppression, Clark recounts the complicated legacy of the “ex-addict” activists who turned drug treatment into both a product and a political symbol that promoted the impossible dream of a drug-free America.

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.





New book – Therapeutic Fascism. Experiencing the Violence of the Nazi New Order


The book Therapeutic Fascism: Experiencing the Violence of the Nazi New Order by Ana Antić could be of interest to H-madness readers. This information was retrieved from la vie des idees who published a review about this book. The abstract on the website of Oxford University Press reads:

During World War Two, death and violence permeated all aspects of the everyday lives of ordinary people in Eastern Europe. Throughout the region, the realities of mass murder and incarceration meant that people learnt to live with daily public hangings of civilian hostages and stumbled on corpses of their neighbors. Entire populations were drawn into fierce and uncompromising political and ideological conflicts, and many ended up being more than mere victims or observers: they themselves became perpetrators or facilitators of violence, often to protect their own lives, but also to gain various benefits. Yugoslavia in particular saw a gradual culmination of a complex and brutal civil war, which ultimately killed more civilians than those killed by the foreign occupying armies.

Therapeutic Fascism tells a story of the tremendous impact of such pervasive and multi-layered political violence, and looks at ordinary citizens’ attempts to negotiate these extraordinary wartime political pressures. It examines Yugoslav psychiatric documents as unique windows into this harrowing history, and provides an original perspective on the effects of wartime violence and occupation through the history of psychiatry, mental illness, and personal experience. Using previously unexplored resources, such as patients’ case files, state and institutional archives, and the professional medical literature of the time, this volume explores the socio-cultural history of wartime through the eyes of (mainly lower-class) psychiatric patients. Ana Antic examines how the experiences of observing, suffering, and committing political violence affected the understanding of human psychology, pathology, and normality in wartime and post-war Balkans and Europe.

New issue – Social History of Medicine


The newest issue of Social History of Medicine includes at least two articles that may be of interest to H-madness readers.

Jade Shepherd, “‘I am not very well I feel nearly mad when I think of you”: Male Jealousy, Murder and Broadmoor in Late-Victorian Britain’. The abstract reads:

This article compares the representations of jealousy in popular culture, medical and legal literature, and in the trials and diagnoses of men who murdered or attempted to murder their wives or sweethearts before being found insane and committed into Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum between 1864 and 1900. It is shown that jealousy was entrenched in Victorian culture, but marginalised in medical and legal discourse and in the courtroom until the end of the period, and was seemingly cast aside at Broadmoor. As well as providing a detailed examination of varied representations of male jealousy in late-Victorian Britain, the article contributes to understandings of the emotional lives of the working-class, and the causes and representations of working-class male madness.

Julie M. Powell, ‘Shock Troupe: Medical Film and the Performance of ‘Shell Shock’ for the British Nation at War‘. The abstract reads:

In 1917, physician Arthur F. Hurst began filming the peculiar tics and hysterical gaits of ‘shell-shocked’ soldiers under his care. Editions of Hurst’s films from 1918 and 1940 survive. Cultural products of their time, I argue, the films engaged with contemporary ideas of class, gender and nation. The 1918 version reinforced class-based notions of disease and degeneracy while validating personal and national trauma and bolstering conceptions of masculinity and the nation that were critical to wartime morale and recovery efforts. The 1940 re-edit of the film engaged with the memory of the First World War by constructing a restorative narrative and by erasing the troubled years of gender crisis, ‘shell shock’ culture and class struggle to reassert masculine virtue and martial strength, essential for the prosecution of the Second World War.

This information was retrieved from the blog Advances in the history of psychology.

Journée d’études « Psychiatrie, big data, Médecine de la Personne » (15 juin 2017, Nantes)


On the 15th of June there is a seminar titled “Psychiatry, big data, Médecine de la Personne” that could be of interest to H-madness readers. Below you find the abstract and programma of the seminar. For further information and to sign-up you can contact:

The seminar will be held at the Amphithéâtre Paul Lemoine RC de l’Hôpital Mère-Enfant (Ecole de sage-femmes) 38, Boulevard Jean Monnet C.H.U. Hôtel-Dieu Nantes. (Tram 2 ou 3 : entrée face à l’arrêt Aimé Delrue).


Le numérique bouscule la post-modernité, l’usage des données hétérogènes en grand nombre (big data : terme utilisé pour la première fois dans une présentation au Congrès de l’Econometric Society en 2000) se répand dans des domaines aussi divers que l’industrie, le commerce, l’assurance et aujourd’hui la santé.

Tandis que la définition même des big data ne trouve pas de consensus, leur usage en santé avance, mobilisant espoirs et fantasmes, tandis que sa dénomination elle-même évolue très vite. Un temps médecine personnalisée, médecine des  4P (« prédictive, préventive, personnalisée et participative »), elle est aujourd’hui médecine de précision. De quoi est-il donc question ?

Si l’usage des données hétérogènes en grand nombre vient changer le rapport au savoir, donc à l’exercice de la relation donc au patient, que va-t-il en être de l’accueil, de la rencontre, du soin et de l’accompagnement, particulièrement en psychiatrie qui a pour cœur l’intersubjectivité ? Les psychiatres cliniciens, qui situent depuis des décennies en un horizon lointain les découvertes des neurosciences, doivent-il s’attendre ici à un changement véritable des pratiques voire des paradigmes ?

Lors de cette Journée, nous examinerons certaines des avancées des big data en psychiatrie : les champs de réalisations, les enjeux théoriques et pratiques qu’ils peuvent mobiliser. Le dialogue des Sciences Humaines et Sociales et de la Médecine, nous permettra d’interroger les cadres conceptuels et les outils susceptibles de soutenir l’implication des professionnels dans la nécessaire régulation de ces avancées préservant la place de la Personne dans les soins.

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New issue – History of the Human Sciences


The new issue of the History of the Human Sciences on Psychotherapy in Historical Perspective could be of interest to H-madness readers. The issue is edited by Sarah Marks and contains the following articles:

Sarah Marks, Introduction: Psychotherapy in historical perspective

This article will briefly explore some of the ways in which the past has been used as a means to talk about psychotherapy as a practice and as a profession, its impact on individuals and society, and the ethical debates at stake. It will show how, despite the multiple and competing claims about psychotherapy’s history and its meanings, historians themselves have, to a large degree, not attended to the intellectual and cultural development of many therapeutic approaches. This absence has the potential consequence of implying that therapies have emerged as value-free techniques, outside of a social, economic and political context. The relative neglect of psychotherapy, by contrast with the attention historians have paid to other professions, particularly psychiatry, has also underplayed its societal impact. This article will foreground some of the instances where psychotherapy has become an object of emerging historical interest, including the new research that forms the substance of this special issue of History of the Human Sciences.

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