BPS History of the Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series

The British Psychological Society History of Psychology Centre in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines

Organiser: Professor Sonu Shamdasani (UCL)

Speaker: Dr Joanna Montcrieff (UCL)

Title: Magic bullets for mental disorders: the evolution of ideas about the nature of drug treatment for schizophrenia


When ‘antipsychotic’ drugs were introduced into psychiatry in the 1950s, they were thought to work by inducing a state of neurological suppression, which reduced behavioural disturbance, as well as psychotic symptoms. This view was reflected in the name ‘neuroleptic’. Within a few years, however, the idea that the drugs were a disease-specific treatment for schizophrenia or psychosis, and that they worked by modifying the underlying pathology of the condition, replaced this earlier view, and they became known as ‘antipsychotics’. This transformation of views about the drugs’ mode of action occurred with little debate or empirical evaluation in the psychiatric literature and obscured earlier evidence about the nature of these drugs. Drug advertisements in the British Journal of Psychiatry reflect the same changes, although the non disease-specific view persisted for longer. It is suggested that professional interests helped to facilitate the transformation of views about the nature of these drugs.

Time: 6pm

Location: UCL Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, Room 544,* 5th Floor, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ

The History of Madness and Psychiatry at the History of Science Society Conference (3-6 November 2011) – bis

For all the nerds among our readers, I have created a twitter list (http://twitter.com/#!/MajBen/science-cleveland2011), which allows you to follow people tweeting from the HSS, SHOT, or 4S conferences in Cleveland (Ohio).

At least one of the co-editor from h-madness (@MajBen) will also try to tweet from the conference.

New Book Announcement – Quand l’histoire rend fou

Laure Murat, L’homme qui se prenait pour Napoléon. Pour une histoire politique de la folie, Paris, Gallimard, 2011, 379 p.

For more please click here.

Thanks for 100 000 views

In January 2010, we launched h-madness. Today we got the 100 000th hit on our website. Thanks to the readers, contributors and commenters.

Psychiatric Narratives Workshop – Cardiff

cardiffPsychiatric Narratives Workshop
Glamorgan Archives, Cardiff, 23 November, 13.00 – 17.00

Organized as part of CISSMI’s “Off Sick” programme of events, the workshop explores the different types of illness narration through an examination of psychiatric narratives and the problems of uncovering the patient’s voice in psychiatric institutions. Uncovering these voices has often proved problematic, and the workshop seeks to explore institutional psychiatric care from the inside out. The workshop features a series of papers by historians and clinicians on problems of evidence and the ways in which they have used psychiatric case notes and fiction to understand the experiences of psychiatric patients and the nature of psychiatric institutions.

13.00 – 14.00 Registration and Lunch
14.00 – 14.15 Introduction
14.15 – 15.00 Pamela Michael (Bangor): “Patients, Imagination and Welsh
15.00 – 15.45 Peter Barham (Oxford): “In pursuit of the imperial
lunatic, c.1860-1940: some problems of evidence”
15.45 – 16.15 Coffee
16.15 – 17.00 Rhys Thomas (Swansea): “Clinicians and case notes: the modern
17.00 – 17.15 Closing Discussion

Funded by the Wellcome Trust, the workshop will be held at the Glamorgan
Archive (Cardiff) on Wednesday 23rd November 2011. Although a free event, to
register please contact Dr Keir Waddington (waddingtonk@cardiff.ac.uk)

Details of where to find the Glamorgan Archives can be found here.

Further details can be found here.

Capitalism and asylums: antipsychiatry and the Sozialistisches Patientenkollektiv Heidelberg

Radio Q, which is animated by students from several German universities, has produced a feature on the Sozialistisches Patientenkollektiv Heidelberg (SPK). The SPK was one of the most radical antipsychiatric movements in Europe.

To listen to the feature, click here.

To get more information on the SPK, click here.

New Book Announcement – La folie by Raphaël Enthoven

The French philosopher Raphaël Enthoven has edited a book with several (historical) contributions on madness. Evelyne Grossmann has written on Antonin Artaud, Judith Revel and Guillaume Le Blanc on Foucault, Jean-Claude Margolin on Erasme…

For more, click here.

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