Posts Tagged ‘ John Forrester ’

Freud in Cambridge Conference (London, 1 July 2017)


Freud in Cambridge
Hidden Histories of Psychoanalysis

Day Conference
Saturday 1 July 2017  9.30am – 5.00pm

What kind of project is psychoanalysis? In this conference speakers from a variety of disciplines investigate surprising hidden histories of psychoanalysis and their relevance for today.

Lisa Appignanesi (Writer, researcher and broadcaster)
Laura Cameron (Co-author Freud in Cambridge)
Felicity Callard (Professor in Social Science for Medical Humanities, Durham University)
Matt Ffytche (Director of the Centre for Psychoanalysis, Essex University)
Daniel Pick (Psychoanalyst and Professor of History, Birkbeck College, London)
Bob Hinshelwood (Psychoanalyst, Psychiatrist and author)
Philip Kuhn (Poet and independent researcher)
Brett Kahr (Psychotherapist, author and broadcaster)

Further information   /  Online Booking

N.B. The code to access the special rate tickets is BURSARY1 but please use an academic email.

Thinking in Cases: On and Beyond the Couch (London Freud Museum, 30 October 2016)



John Forrester tragically died in November 2015. His long-standing research project, ‘thinking in cases’ was an attempt to theorise the particular kind of thinking that pertains to psychoanalysis and psychotherapy; different from ‘scientific’ and deductive reasoning but, he asserted, a valid form of knowledge all the same. Can one move from a textured particularity, like that in Freud’s famous cases, to a level of reliable generality? In his last book, to be published in October, Forrester teases out the meanings of the psychoanalytic case, how to characterise it and account for it as a particular kind of thinking and writing. While he was principally concerned with analysing the style of reasoning that was dominant in psychoanalysis and related disciplines, Forrester’s path-breaking account of thinking in cases will be of great interest to scholars, students and professionals across a wide range of disciplines, from history, law and the social sciences to medicine, clinical practice and the talking therapies. This conference brings together speakers from a range of disciplines to debate the pros and cons of ‘thinking in cases’.


ANDREAS MAYER (Centre Alexandre Koyré, Paris)

MATT FFYTCHE (Essex University)


STEPHEN FROSH (Birkbeck College)


RALUCA SOREANU (Wellcome Trust)


30 October 2016
2pm – 5.30pm

For more information, click here.

Psychoanalysis in the Age of Totalitarianism: Panel Discussion and Launch (London, June 2016)

Below please find information about a book launch for Psychoanalysis in the Age of Totalitarianism, which contains a lengthy discussion between John Forrester and Eli Zaretsky about telling the history of psychoanalysis in the twentieth century.

psa and totalitarianism

(*IMPORTANT* 18 JUNE UPDATE: Please note that the event below is a ticket event, by invitation. People can apply to attend by emailing Hidden Persuaders <>)

Psychoanalysis in the Age of Totalitarianism

Edited by Matt ffytche, Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex, UK and Daniel Pick, Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, Birkbeck University of London, UK

Series: The New Library of Psychoanalysis ‘Beyond the Couch’ Series

Much of the important early growth of psychoanalysis took place against the backdrop of the rise of fascism, the Second World War and the Cold War. This atmosphere, in which totalitarianism flourished, was hugely significant for the development of psychoanalytic theory and practice. Here, internationally renowned psychoanalysts, historians and cultural theorists explore the impact of this political and social background on psychoanalysis, and of psychoanalysis on our subsequent understanding of the war and the totalitarian systems after 1945. They look at how lessons drawn from this era can help us understand the interplay between politics, culture and psychoanalysis now.

20% Discount Available – enter the code IRK71 at checkout*

Contributors Include: Sally Alexander, Ana Antic, John Forrester, Stephen Frosh, Dagmar Herzog, Derek Hook, Joel Isaac, Ruth Leys, Erik Linstrum, Peter Mandler, Knuth Müller, Jacqueline Rose, Michael Rustin, Michal Shapira, Lyndsey Stonebridge, Ross Truscott, and Eli Zaretsky.

For more details, or to request a copy for review, please contact: Paulina Miller, Marketing Assistant,


(*IMPORTANT* 18 JUNE UPDATE: Please note that this event is a ticket event, by invitation. People can apply to attend by emailing Hidden Persuaders <>)


Thursday, 30 June 2016, 6pm to 8.30pm

Wine reception at the Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1H 0PD

Professor Catherine Hall, University College, London
Dr Nicholas Temple, President of the British Psychoanalytical Society
Dr D’Maris Coffman, UCL (Bartlett)
Professor Alessandra Lemma, Series editor, New Library of Psychoanalysis, and BPS Dr Matt ffytche, Director of the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, Essex
Professor Daniel Pick, Birkbeck College and BPS

will be in conversation about the themes of the book (from 6.45pm)

This event is hosted by the Hidden Persuaders project. Space is limited. Please email to reserve tickets.

Spring events in honour of John Forrester (1949-2015)

colloque_forresterTo honour the memory of John Forrester, renowned historian of psychoanalysis and the human sciences who passed away in late 2015, two conferences are being held this spring in Cambridge and Paris:

THE JOHN FORRESTER CASE (Cambridge, 18 May 2016)


Simon Schaffer and Liba Taub to Chair

9.15 Arrival: Coffee/Tea will be served in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science

9.45 Welcome: Liba Taub and Simon Schaffer

10.15 Session 1: Boris Jardine, The master of the marginal annotation

10.25 Session 2: Bonnie Evans, John’s Insight and ability to raise new questions

10.40 Session 3: Alexandra Bacopoulos-Viau, John Forrester, Doktorvater

10.50 Session 4: Emm Barnes, The supervisor as psychoanalyst

10.55 Session 5: Leon Rocha, What does it have to do with my penis?

11.10 Break

11.30 Session 6: Richard Ashcroft

11.45 Session 7: Amanda Rees, John as a supervisor and rugby fan

12.00 Session 8: Julia Borossa, John’s vision of psychoanalysis and his gift as a supervisor

12.15 Session 9: Katherine Angel

12.25 Session 10: Matt Drage

12.45 Buffet Lunch will be served in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science

14.00 Session 11: Andreas Mayer, Thinking in cases and its ramifications for HPS

14.40 Session 12: Michael Molnar, Emails and the origins of psychoanalysis

15.00 Session 13: Laura Cameron, On generosity

15.15 Session 14: Jim Secord

15.20 Session 15: Nick Hopwood and colleagues, Generation to Reproduction

15.40 Session 16: Rich McKay, Tiree Love Song

15.45 Final words

16.15 Memorial in Kings College Hall and Afternoon Tea

17.45 Drinks Reception in the Whipple museum

20.00 Finish

REGISTRATION: to register email Registration is free but places are limited. When registering, please let us know if you have any special needs or dietary requirements.


Penser et écrire l’histoire de la psychanalyse et des sciences humaines: autour de l’œuvre de John Forrester

EHESS, Amphithéâtre François Furet (105, bd Raspail, 75006 Paris), 23 mai 2016

John Forrester (1949-2015) fut l’historien de la psychanalyse le plus marquant de sa génération. Depuis sa thèse sur les rapports entre les sciences du langage et la psychanalyse – publiée en 1980 – il s’attacha à inscrire celle-ci pleinement dans l’histoire des sciences. Des rencontres décisives avec Thomas Kuhn, Michel Foucault et Jacques Lacan (dont il traduisit les premiers séminaires en anglais), scandaient son parcours et inspiraient sa manière inimitable de faire dialoguer dans ses travaux et dans son enseignement plusieurs approches et traditions intellectuelles. Professeur au département d’histoire et de philosophie des sciences à l’université de Cambridge, sa renommée était internationale, la plupart de ses travaux étant traduits dans une dizaine des langues. Au moment de sa disparition prématurée, deux ouvrages importants (l’un consacré à l’histoire de la psychanalyse en Grande Bretagne et l’autre à son projet « Penser par cas ») furent presque achevés et paraîtront de façon posthume. Ce colloque est un hommage au travail de John Forrester : il présente les acquis et les ouvertures d’une œuvre qui nous invite à penser et à écrire l’histoire de la psychanalyse et des sciences humaines d’une nouvelle manière.


Coordination : Andreas Mayer (Centre Alexandre Koyré, CNRS-EHESS-MNHN)

e-mail :


10h00-11h00. Ouverture et Introduction

10h00-10h20 Antonella Romano (Paris, Directrice du CAK, EHESS)

10h20-11h00 Andreas Mayer (Paris CAK, CNRS), « What else can it be ? » Inscrire la psychanalyse dans l’histoire des sciences


11h00-12h30. Session 1 : Langages de la psychanalyse 

11h00-11h40 Alain Vanier (Université de Paris 7), John Forrester et le temps de Lacan

11h40-12h20 Dany Nobus (University of Brunel), Translating Lacan: On John Forrester’s rendition of Lacan’s First Public Seminar


13:30-15:30. Session 2 : Penser par cas 

13h30-14h10 Gianna Pomata (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore), Styles of Reasoning and Epistemic Genres

14h10-14h50 Leon Rocha (University of Liverpool), Western Science and the Chinese Case

14h50-15h30 Jacqueline Carroy (Paris CAK, EHESS), Penser par cas ou penser en terme d’affaire? l’exemple des phénomènes de possession de Morzine (années 1860)


15h30-16h00 Pause café


16h00-18h00. Session 3 : Le siècle de Freud. Topographies, généalogies 

16h00-16h40 Nathalie Richard (Université du Maine, Le Mans), Archéologie et psychanalyse : quelques pistes pour une histoire croisée

16h40-17h20 Elizabeth Lunbeck (Harvard University), Hidden in Plain Sight:  Finding Psychoanalysis in Unexpected Places

17h20-18h00 Matt ffytche (University of Essex), John Forrester’s The Freudian Century: a Passagenwerk for Psychoanalysis?


18h00-18h30. Session finale

Lisa Appignanesi (London) en dialogue avec Andreas Mayer (Paris)





New issue: History of Psychiatry

HIst of Psych coverThe March 2016 issue of History of Psychiatry is now online. It contains a number of articles and a classic text, all outlined below, as well as an Obituary for Professor John Forrester.

“Psychogeriatrics in England in the 1950s: greater knowledge with little impact on provision of services” (Claire Hilton)

In the 1950s, the population aged over 65 years continued to increase, and older people occupied mental hospital beds disproportionately. A few psychiatrists and geriatricians demonstrated what could be done to improve the wellbeing of mentally unwell older people, who were usually labelled as having irreversible ‘senile dementia’. Martin Roth demonstrated that ‘senile dementia’ comprised five different disorders, some of which were reversible. These findings challenged established teaching and were doubted by colleagues. Despite diagnostic improvements and therapeutic successes, clinical practice changed little. Official reports highlighted the needs, but government commitment to increase and improve services did not materialize.

“The nature of delusion: psychologically explicable? psychologically inexplicable? philosophically explicable? Part 2” (J Cutting and M Musalek)

The first part of this article dealt with the extant formulations of delusion, psychiatric and psychological, suggestions which, respectively, regard delusion as psychologically inexplicable or explicable. All this was subjected to critique. This second part puts forward informed philosophical thesis whereby delusion can be explained within the philosophical movement known as phenomenology and, in particular, Max Scheler’s version of this.

Psychiatric governance, völkisch corporatism, and the German Research Institute of Psychiatry in Munich (1912–26). Part 1 (Eric J EngstromWolfgang Burgmairand Matthias M Weber)

This is the first of two articles exploring in depth some of the early organizational strategies that were marshalled in efforts to found and develop the German Research Institute of Psychiatry (Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Psychiatrie) in 1917. After briefly discussing plans for a German research institute before World War I, the article examines the political strategies and networks that Emil Kraepelin used to recruit support for the institute. It argues that his efforts at psychiatric governance can best be understood as a form of völkisch corporatism which sought to mobilize and coordinate a group of players in the service of higher biopolitical and hygienic ends. The article examines the wartime arguments used to justify the institute, the list of protagonists actively engaged in recruiting financial and political support, the various social, scientific and political networks that they exploited, and the local contingencies that had to be negotiated in order to found the research institute.

Psychiatric care at a national mental institution during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39): Santa Isabel de Leganés (Paloma Vázquez de la Torre and Olga Villasante)

The scanty research available regarding the health of the mentally ill during the Spanish Civil War is largely due to the loss of most documents, and to the difficulty in accessing the existing archives for decades. Up to the present time, historiography has described overcrowded facilities for the mentally disturbed and the fact that old buildings such as convents and spas were turned into establishments for treating patients with mental problems during the Civil War. However, research reviewing the institutional life and conditions of psychiatric patients during this war is still rather scarce.

The aim of our article is to discuss the characteristics of the patients at Santa Isabel National Mental Asylum between 1936 and 1939, as well as the functioning of this institution located in Leganés, a city to the south of Madrid (Spain). The method for this study includes a review of the medical records, statistical registers and other documents kept in the institution’s Historical Archive. In addition, using documents from other Spanish archives, as well as information obtained from contemporary and secondary sources, we attempt to describe similarities to and differences from other mental institutions.

Pavel Ivanovich Karpov (1873–1932?) – the Russian Prinzhorn: art of the insane in Russia (Vladimir LernerGrigory Podolskyand Eliezer Witztum)

The complicated relationship between the discipline of mental health and the arts has barely been studied systematically. Mental hospitals, shelters and prisons – institutions that accommodate the mentally ill – sometimes promote but often discourage and disrupt the patients’ artistic creativity and the images created. In psychiatric circles, the recognition of patient art was a long, slow and frustrating process. Among the Western psychiatrists who studied the creative activity of the mentally ill, researchers usually mention such names as C. Lombroso, M. Shearing, V. Morgentaller, H. Prinzhorn and others, but rarely refer to their Russian colleagues and contemporaries. Pavel Ivanovich Karpov (1873–1932?), a Russian psychiatrist, was one of the most extensive researchers in the field of the art of the insane, but unfortunately his name is little known among modern psychiatrists. For his clinical and scientific contributions, he deserves to be remembered in the history of psychiatry.

Bipolar disorder and its outcomes: two cohorts, 1875–1924 and 1994–2007, compared (Onome V AtigariMargaret HarrisJoanna Le Nouryand David Healy)

We compared admission rates and outcomes for bipolar disorder patients using the medical records of patients with a first hospital admission in 1875–1924 retrospectively diagnosed based on International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 criteria, and patients with a first admission in 1994–2007. The incidences of first admissions in the historical and contemporary periods are comparable: 1.2 and 1.3 per hundred thousand per year, respectively. Manic episodes constituted a greater proportion of admissions historically, while depressive episodes made up more in the contemporary sample. There is no evidence for a reduction in the mean inter-admission intervals with duration of illness. This study suggests that modern treatments may have decreased lengths of stay in hospital, but at a cost of contributing to more admissions. It also points to a shift in the threshold for admissions.

CLASSIC TEXT: ‘Report of the Committee on Mediumistic Phenomena’, by William James (1886)With an introduction by Carlos Alvarado

Mediumship was a topic of great interest to some nineteenth-century students of mental phenomena. Together with the phenomena of hypnosis and other manifestations, mediumship was seen by many as a dissociative phenomenon. The purpose of this Classic Text is to present an excerpt of an article about the topic that William James (1842–1910) published in 1886 in the Proceedings of the American Society for Psychical Research about American medium Leonora E. Piper (1857–1950). The article, an indication of late nineteenth-century interactions between dissociation studies and psychical research, was the first report of research with Mrs Piper, a widely investigated medium of great importance for the development of mediumship studies. In addition to studying the case as a dissociative experience, James explored the possibility that Piper’s mentation contained verifiable information suggestive of ‘supernormal’ knowledge. Consequently, James provides an example of a topic neglected in historical studies, the ideas of those who combined conventional dissociation studies with psychical research.

The issue also contains a number of book reviews and the John Forrester obituary.

To access it, click here.

Obituary: John Forrester (1949-2015)



Today we received sad news of the passing of Professor John Forrester, one of the leading historians of psychoanalysis. The University of Cambridge Department of History and Philosophy of Science has posted a thoughtful obituary by Simon Schaffer, also published in The Independent (see Professor John Forrester: Philosopher and historian widely celebrated for his work on Sigmund Freud and much-loved as an inspiring teacher).

“The Uses of Psychoanalysis: Britain, France and the USA, 1920-2000” (Mellon Teaching Seminar, Cambridge)

The Uses of Psychoanalysis: Britain, France and the USA, 1920-2000

An Interdisciplinary Mellon Teaching Seminar

University of Cambridge

Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH)

October, November and December 2013

Professor Peter Mandler (Faculty of History)
Professor John Forrester (Department of History and Philosophy of Science)

With the possible exception of Marxism, psychoanalysis has had both a broader and a deeper influence on intellectual life in the West than any other movement. Developed as a therapeutic and psychological programme at the turn of the century, occupying like no other epistemic and institutional project could the no man’s lands between the human and the biological sciences and between the figures of ‘care’ and of ‘knowledge’, it also had great influence on the fledgling social sciences – psychology, sociology and anthropology – in the first half of the twentieth century and fused with revolutionary enthusiasms in politics and in social reform (relating in particular to sexuality and to the position of women).  Above all it stood at the head of the diverse array of ‘technologies of the self’ developed by Western cultures increasingly absorbed by the cultivation of ‘personality’ in an age of alleged massification.  This seminar will examine some of the uses to which psychoanalysis was put, focussing on both disciplinary and interdisciplinary developments and on the local milieux in which psychoanalysis developed most vigorously – urban, cosmopolitan, intellectually and artistically vibrant cities.

The interdisciplinary rationale of the seminar reflects accurately the interdisciplinary scope of psychoanalysis itself. In Cambridge, aspects of psychoanalysis figure in several different disciplines: in history, in philosophy, in psychology, in anthropology, sociology, modern languages (in particular in German and in French, on account of the enormous influence of psychoanalysis on twentieth century French and German cultures) and inevitably in the history and philosophy of science. The 8-week Seminar will bring together approaches from social and cultural history, intellectual history, and history and philosophy of science to survey and take stock of a range of episodes, drawn from US, British and French psychoanalytic cultures, across the twentieth century. The seminar leaders hope that graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from a very wide range of disciplines will be attracted by the Seminar.

The leaders of the proposed Mellon Teaching Seminar are senior figures in the Faculty of History and the Department of History and Philosophy of Science. Mandler, principally a cultural historian, has a long-standing interest in the history and influence of psychoanalytic ideas (and on the popular dissemination of social-science concepts more generally), most recently palpable in his work on mid-twentieth-century cultural anthropology, Return from the Natives: How Margaret Mead Won the Second World War and Lost the Cold War (Yale University Press, 2013). Forrester has worked on various aspects of psychoanalysis, particularly, but not only, its history, for forty years; his recent research projects include the reception of psychoanalysis in Cambridge, 1908-1927 and the development of the concept of ‘gender identity’ in Los Angeles by the psychoanalyst Robert Stoller, c. 1963.

The syllabus will consist of 8 independent historical ‘episodes’, situated in different places and at different times across the period 1920-2000. Each week’s reading will consist principally in three sources, most of them ‘primary sources’ from the episodes in question. Extensive background reading, both primary and secondary, will be supplied for each week’s seminar, but requirement for participation in the Seminar will consist solely in reading the three sources (or thereabouts) for each week.

For additional information, click here.

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