Posts Tagged ‘ 19th century ’

New issue – History of Psychiatry

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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 issue – Social History of Medicine

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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.

New issue – History of the Human Sciences

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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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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.

Call for Papers: The Victorian Brain

Call for Papers: Victorian Brain 

Victorian Network is an open-access, MLA-indexed, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to publishing and promoting the best postgraduate and early career work across the broad field of Victorian Studies. We are delighted to announce that our eleventh issue (Summer 2016) will be guest edited by Professor Sally Shuttleworth (University of Oxford), on the theme of the Victorian Brain.

In the nineteenth century, the discipline of psychology, or the science of the mind, underwent a profound reorientation: a reorientation which was both fuelled by contemporary literature, and which influenced that literature’s form and content. Investigating the mind’s workings was the joint project of such diverse parties as authors and poets; natural scientists and doctors; but also the public, as citizen scientists. Phrenology and the legibility of physiognomy remained central concerns. Simultaneously, medical research created a counterweight to eighteenth-century folk psychology and pseudoscience. Observation of mentally-ill asylum inmates offered another route into the human psyche. These asylums in turn experienced restructuring, turning from spaces of “[chains], straw, filthy solitude, darkness and starvation” (Dickens) in the eighteenth century, to institutions implementing “moral management” by 1900. Mid-Victorians discussed the human brain extensively in both popular literature and specialized periodicals, ranging in disciplines from natural and medical sciences to literature and philosophy. The Journal of Mental Science and Dickens’s Household Words are but two examples from different sides of that spectrum. As these widespread discussions destabilized longstanding convictions including the supremacy of the mind and the integrated self, these convictions’ intricate connections to cultural concerns including gender and class grew evident. Investigations in all possible directions proliferated, bringing (especially in the century’s closing decades) rapid disciplinary changes in neuroscience (e.g. through the work of William Richard Gowers), psychology and psychotherapy. 

The examination of human consciousness also occurred in the nineteenth-century novel. The period’s novelists had such a significant part in shaping the discourse on the mind not least because, in the words of Karen Chase, they “did not inherit a supple and illuminating picture of the mind, but […] had to construct it for themselves, taking insights where they found them.” 

We invite submissions of around 7,000 words on any aspect of the theme. Possible topics include but are by no means limited to:

•    The novel as shaping and shaped by discourses on psychology, the mind, and the brain

•    Mental science and poetry; the “psychological monologue”.

•    Animal dissection and vivisection.

•    The brain as central organ of the nervous system, mind and body as connected; the concept of the mental faculties; the soul as (no longer) extra-corporeal; religion vs scientific psychology. The senses.

•    The mind as culturally formed; national and international conceptions of psychology.

•    The gendered brain and its implications (gender as a universal taxonomy).

•    The Victorian mind in childhood.

•    The theatrical brain: displaying thought and memory on the Victorian stage; depicting mental illness and madness; character interiority; psychology and actor training.

•    Altered states of mind: drug use; mesmerism, hypnosis and trance; dreams and daydreams; somnambulis.

•    Memory and/or trauma; memory and objects (from diaries to post-mortem photography). Sites and cultures of remembering and forgetting.

•    Different disciplines and disciplinary developments: evolutionary and developmental psychology. Psychoanalysis: pre-Freudian concepts of the psyche.

•    Mental illness: asylums, “moral management”; depression; delusions; puerperal disorders; links between mental and bodily health.

•    Insanity and the law  (criminality, legislation, fitness to stand trial); the development of forensic psychology; insanity and sensation.

•    Automatism and volition: new conceptions of the unconscious (e.g. as possessing agency); the unconscious vs habit and self-discipline: automatism, responsibility and accountability.

•    4e cognition (embodied, embedded, enacted and extended cognition) and Victorian literature and culture. 

•     “wound culture”: its roots in the industrial nineteenth century, and the attendant renegotiation of private identity in public terms. 

•    Neo-Victorian representations of any issue outlined above.

All submissions should conform to MHRA house style and the in-house submission guidelinesSubmissions should be received by 15 August 2015.

Contact: victoriannetwork@gmail.com 

Dissertations – The Making and Travelling of Knowledge

Maria Böhmer: “The Making and Travelling of Knowledge. A Biography of a Medical Case History in Nineteenth-Century Europe”

The dissertation is a close study of a single medical case history published by an Italian Professor of Surgery in 1806 which tells the story of a spectacular attempt at public self-crucifixion in Venice: Cesare Ruggieri’s Storia della crocifissione di Mattio Lovat da se stesso eseguita. Mattio Lovat came to Venice at the beginning of the 19th century from the north-Italian mountains to work there as a shoemaker. Obsessed with the idea of crucifying himself, he tried twice to realize this idea in public, the second attempt leading to his being placed under the care of the physician Cesare Ruggieri in the Venetian Clinical School. After his physical recovery, Lovat was declared insane and was hospitalized at the Venetian mental asylum on the island of San Servolo, where he died several months later.

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The frontpage of the English translation of Ruggieri’s Storia della Crocifissione which appeared in 1814 in the Pamphleteer. Respectfully dedicated to both houses of Parliament, Vol. 3, no. IV (London: A.J. Valpy: Chancery Lane, March 1814), pp. 361-375.

Shortly afterwards, Ruggieri published the Storia della crocifissione in which he related the biography of his patient, suggesting that Lovat’s mental condition was related to the fact that he suffered from pellagra, at that time a wide-spread but little-understood disease in northern Italy: a consequence of the severe malnutrition produced by a staple diet of maize, pellagra caused general physical weakness, skin eruption and could also induce mental illness. Ruggieri himself ensured that the Storia della crocifissione appeared in different editions and translations during the following decades. As a result, the case became widely known across Europe, and was discussed in professional and lay discourses in Germany, France, England and Italy throughout the 19th century. It has thus become well known to this day as an early case of 19th-century psychiatry.

By way of situating Ruggieri’s case history in its multiple social, scientific and cultural contexts, the dissertation examines the great appeal the case had for a medical but also a broader lay public in 19th-century Europe: it reconstructs the “making” of the case in the local context of Venice and follows in detail the ways in which the case narrative circulated in between and within new contexts. By analysing the multiple transformations Ruggieri’s case history underwent when transcending geographical, linguistic and, above all, cultural and disciplinary boundaries, the dissertation sheds light on such developments as the formation of specialist disciplines, the emergence of a new media scene and a growing readership, the popularisation of science as well as new approaches to religious questions in 19th-century Europe. In reading the medical case history as an “epistemic genre” (Gianna Pomata), the study is informed by recent approaches in the history of science, medicine and psychiatry. In particular, it draws on recent scholarship on the history of the medical case history and offers a new approach to this field: it presents for the first time a “biography” of a singular medical case history in order to investigate the transnational circulation of medical case literature in 19th-century European culture.

Maria Böhmer (Ph.D.) is a post-doc at the Center for Medical Humanities, History of Medicine, University of Zurich. The dissertation was defended at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy in June 2013. She is currently preparing a book manuscript on the same topic.

Dissertations – The Ottoman State and the insane, 1856–1908

Mental Patients inside Toptaşı Mental Asylum. (From the private collection of Cengiz Kahraman)

Mental Patients inside Toptaşı Mental Asylum. (From the private collection of Cengiz Kahraman)

Cihangir Gündoğdu: “Are there no asylums?”
 : the Ottoman State and the insane, 1856–1908

The present study seeks to contribute to and expand our knowledge concerning the nature and scope of the Tanzimat reforms by bringing to our scholarly attention a relatively understudied matter, the mental asylum reform that took place between 1856 and 1908. This study begins with Luigi Mongeri’s appointment to the Süleymaniye Mental Asylum in 1856 and ends with the 1908 revolution, which inaugurated a period when the mental asylum would undergo a new reformist trend at the hands of Unionist elite. Although the objects of asylum reform were, obviously, the “insane”, this work does not primarily focus on their stories. It rather explores the professional, legal, political, and economic processes that accompanied the mental asylum reform in the second half of the nineteenth century in the Ottoman Empire. It is accordingly organized around certain themes and problematics, such as the definition and quantification of madness, its regulation, the proposals and initiatives to institutionalize the treatment of the insane, and the financing of such initiatives.

Cihangir Gündoğdu did his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago’s Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department. He defended his dissertation on 4 September 2014 and currently teaches history classes at the Istanbul Bilgi University in Turkey.

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