Exhibition and symposium – Freud/Tiffany and ‘The Best Possible School'(Freud Museum, London)

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The upcoming exhibition and symposium ‘The Best Possible School’: Anna Freud, Dorothy Tiffany Burlingham and the Hietzing School in 1920s Vienna could be of interest to H-madness readers. Both will be held at the Freud Museum in London. The exhibition can be visited from the 10th of May 2017 until the 16th of July 2017. The Symposium will be held on the 13th of May 2017 with an opening reception on the 12th. The abstract of the exhibition and the symposium you can find below.

Exhibition: ‘The Best Possible School’: Anna Freud, Dorothy Tiffany Burlingham and the Hietzing School in 1920s Vienna.

Modernism, creativity, the freedom to grow as a “free and self-reliant human being” – with these beliefs, Anna Freud, the youngest daughter of Sigmund Freud, and Dorothy Tiffany Burlingham, the youngest daughter of the great American artist Louis Comfort Tiffany, founded Vienna’s Hietzing School.

To Erik H. Erikson who taught there, it was “the best possible school” and today its true significance, as both the teachers and the students remember it, comes to life in a dynamic new exhibit at the Freud Museum London.

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New article – Burkhart Brückner, Lukas Iwer and Samuel Thoma, Die Existenz, Abwesenheit und Macht des Wahnsinns. Eine kritische Übersicht zu Michel Foucaults Arbeiten zur Geschichte und Philosophie der Psychiatrie.

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The first 2017 issue of NTM – Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin includes one article that could be of interest to H-madness readers. Burkhart Brückner, Lukas Iwer and Samuel Thoma, Die Existenz, Abwesenheit und Macht des Wahnsinns. Eine kritische Übersicht zu Michel Foucaults Arbeiten zur Geschichte und Philosophie der Psychiatrie. The abstract reads:

This article discusses Michel Foucault’s main writings on “madness and psychiatry” from his early works up to the 1970s. On the one hand, we reconstruct the overall theoretical and methodological development of his positions over the course of the different periods in his oeuvre. On the other hand, we also take a closer look at Foucault’s philosophical considerations regarding the subjects of his investigations. After an initial introduction of our conceptual approach, we draw on the most recent research on Foucault to show to what extent the phenomenological description of the topic at hand and the historical-critical perspective that are reflected in his early writings of 1954 (the Introduction to Binswanger’s Dream and Existence and Mental Illness and Personality) laid the ground for his later work. Moving on to Foucault’s work during the 1960s, we look at the core features and methodological bases of his 1961 classic Folie et déraison (History of Madness). His propositions regarding the “absence of madness” in modernity are conceptualized as an inherently contradictory attempt to liberate the topic under study from the common assumptions at that time. We then situate his 1973/74 lectures on Psychiatric Power in the context of his shift towards analyzing the dynamics of power and highlight the renewed shift of focus in his statements on the “productivity” of madness as an effect of power. Finally, we sum up our critique by taking into account the history of the reception of Foucault’s writings and ask about their potential significance for the contemporary philosophy and history of psychiatry.

New book – Freedom and the Cage: Modern Architecture and Psychiatry in Central Europe, 1890–1914

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The book Freedom and the Cage: Modern Architecture and Psychiatry in Central Europe, 1890–1914 written by Leslie Topp could be of interest to H-madness readers. It is published by Penn State University Press as part of the series Buildings, Landscapes, and Societies. The abstract reads:

Spurred by ideals of individual liberty that took hold in the Western world in the late nineteenth century, psychiatrists and public officials sought to reinvent asylums as large-scale, totally designed institutions that offered a level of freedom and normality impossible in the outside world. This volume explores the “caged freedom” that this new psychiatric ethos represented by analyzing seven such buildings established in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy between the late 1890s and World War I.

In the last two decades of the Habsburg Empire, architects of asylums began to abandon traditional corridor-based plans in favor of looser formations of connected villas, echoing through design the urban- and freedom-oriented impulse of the progressive architecture of the time. Leslie Topp considers the paradoxical position of designs that promoted an illusion of freedom even as they exercised careful social and spatial control over patients. In addition to discussing the physical and social aspects of these institutions, Topp shows how the commissioned buildings were symptomatic of larger cultural changes and of the modern asylum’s straining against its ideological anchorage in a premodern past of “unenlightened” restraint on human liberty.

Working at the intersection of the history of architecture and the history of psychiatry, Freedom and the Cage broadens our understanding of the complexity and fluidity of modern architecture’s engagement with the state, with social and medical projects, and with mental health, psychiatry, and psychology.

Conference – Les infirmières de la folie (8 May 2017, Montréal) and launch of the special issue of Santé Mentale au Québec

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On the 8th of May 2017 there will be a conference in Montreal titled Les infirmières de la folie. Histoire et évolution des soins infirmiers en psychiatrie au sein de l’espace francophone. Below you find the abstract and the programme of the conference. For more information see the ACFAS website.

During the conference the special issue of Santé Mentale au Québec on l’archive psychiatrique will be launched. The issue is coordinated by Marie-Claude Thifault, Isabelle Perreault, Alexandre Klein and Jean Caron.

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New issue – Bulletin of the History of Medicine

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The Bulletin of the History of Medicine published its first issue of 2017 and includes at least two articles that could be of interest to H-madness readers.

Benjamin Zajicek, ‘Banning the Soviet Lobotomy: Psychiatry, Ethics, and Professional Politics during Late Stalinism’. The abstract reads:
This article examines how lobotomy came to be banned in the Soviet Union in 1950. The author finds that Soviet psychiatrists viewed lobotomy as a treatment of “last resort,” and justified its use on the grounds that it helped make patients more manageable in hospitals and allowed some to return to work. Lobotomy was challenged by psychiatrists who saw mental illness as a “whole body” process and believed that injuries caused by lobotomy were therefore more significant than changes to behavior. Between 1947 and 1949, these theoretical and ethical debates within Soviet psychiatry became politicized. Psychiatrists competing for institutional control attacked their rivals’ ideas using slogans drawn from Communist Party ideological campaigns. Party authorities intervened in psychiatry in 1949 and 1950, persecuting Jewish psychiatrists and demanding adherence to Ivan Pavlov’s theories. Psychiatrists’ existing conflict over lobotomy was adopted as part of the party’s own campaign against harmful Western influence in Soviet society.
Jennifer Lynn Lambe, ‘Revolutionizing Cuban Psychiatry: The Freud Wars, 1955–1970’. The abstract reads:
This article traces the battle over Freud within Cuban psychiatry from its pre-1959 origins through the “disappearance” of Freud by the early 1970s. It devotes particular attention to the visit of two Soviet psychiatrists to Cuba in the early 1960s as part of a broader campaign to promote Pavlov. The decade-long controversy over Freud responded to both theoretical and political concerns. If for some Freud represented political conservatism and theoretical mystification, Pavlov held out the promise of a dialectical materialist future. Meanwhile, other psychiatrists clung to psychodynamic perspectives, or at least the possibility of heterogeneity. The Freudians would end up on the losing side of this battle, with many departing Cuba over the course of the 1960s. But banishing Freud did not necessarily make for stalwart Pavlovians—or vanguard revolutionaries. Psychiatry would find itself relegated to a handmaiden position in the work of revolutionary mental engineering, with the government itself occupying the vanguard.

 

H-madness goes finally social!

 

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We are glad to announce that H-madness finally joined social media. You can now find us on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to like and follow us to stay updated about our latest posts!

The H-madness team

New book – Governing Habits: Treating Alcoholism in the Post-Soviet Clinic

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The book Governing Habits: Treating Alcoholism in the Post-Soviet Clinic by Eugene Raikhel could be of interest to H-madness readers. The abstract on the website of Cornell University Press reads:

Critics of narcology—as addiction medicine is called in Russia—decry it as being “backward,” hopelessly behind contemporary global medical practices in relation to addiction and substance abuse, and assume that its practitioners lack both professionalism and expertise. On the basis of his research in a range of clinical institutions managing substance abuse in St. Petersburg, Eugene Raikhel increasingly came to understand that these assumptions and critiques obscured more than they revealed. Governing Habits is an ethnography of extraordinary sensitivity and awareness that shows how therapeutic practice and expertise is expressed in the highly specific, yet rapidly transforming milieu of hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation centers in post­-Soviet Russia. Rather than interpreting narcology as a Soviet survival or a local clinical world on the wane in the face of globalizing evidence-based medicine, Raikhel examines the transformation of the medical management of alcoholism in Russia over the past twenty years.

The website New Books Network also did an interview with the author. You can listen to this 60-minute podcast here.

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

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