Posts Tagged ‘ shell shock ’

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.

Call for Papers – The conflict, the trauma. Psychiatry and First World War.


Museum of the History of Psychiatry S. Lazzaro, Reggio Emilia, Italy

September 2016, exact date to be confirmed
It is well known that First World War represented also a great laboratory, for psychology and psychiatry in particular. The topic of “war neurosis”, the psychological trauma suffered by soldiers deployed at front-line, has already attracted considerable attention and has been explored in historiography. Still, in the occasion of the centenary of the conflict (2014-2018), it seems important to pay further attention to this subject, which offers many important areas which have not been yet fully discussed. We are interested in contributions dedicated in particular to the Italian situation, but also to international comparison.
In particular, presentations on the following issues are sought for:

  • war psychiatry and neuro-psychiatric war services of the Italian Army: their centres and players, with particular reference to the front emergency psychiatric and neurological services, also in comparison with existing similar services of other Countries’ armies;
  • war, psychiatrists, psychologists: how and how many took part in the conflict? What kind of reflections ensued? How was, in Italy and abroad, the political and scientific debate in scientific journals?
  • the nosographic issue: how were the symptom soldiers presented with named? What meaning was given to different diagnoses in different contexts?
  • life in asylums during the war (in active war areas but also far from the front) and in the years following the war: what was the impact of the war on the lives of inpatients (military and civilian), and on health professionals?
  • the experience of prisoners of war, refugees and displaced persons: what the consequences on their minds?

Scholars of every experience level are invited to submit proposals for papers, sending a Summary in Italian or English (max 500 words), by 31 March 2016. A completed application form (see attached) and Author’s curriculum vitae should by sent by email together with the Summary to the following email address: (specifying in subject: Conference: The conflict, the trauma. Psychiatry and First World War).

The Scientific Committee of the Centre for the History of Psychiatry will screen submissions and chosen contributions will be included in the official program of the Conference by May 2016. Conference proceedings will be published.
For info:

Mail to

The Scientific Committee of the Centre: Vinzia Fiorino, Gian Maria Galeazzi, Giorgia Lombardini, Roberto Macellari, Francesco Paolella, Paolo Francesco Peloso, Luca Pingani, Lisa Roscioni, Roberto Salati, Mauro Simonazzi, Luigi Tagliabue

The Executive Committee of the Centre: Gaddomaria Grassi, Mila Ferri, Giordano Gasparini, Elisabetta Farioli, Chiara Bombardieri

Conference Coordinators: Paolo Francesco Peloso, Francesco Paolella;

Conference Institutional Partners:AUSL of Reggio Emilia, Municipality of Reggio Emilia, Istoreco.

Projection – Quand la Guerre rend fou

La Société d’Etudes et de recherches Historiques en Psychiatrie et sa présidente, Agnès Bertomeu ont l’honneur de vous inviter à une projection exceptionnelle de

« Quand la Guerre rend fou »

Documentaire réalisé par Gregory Laville et Jean-Yves Le Naour avec la contribution de la SERHEP

En présence de M. Louis Crocq

Samedi 22 novembre 16h30

Auditorium Médiathèque Saint-Exupéry

100, avenue du 8 mai 1945 à Neuilly sur Marne

Près de la place des Victoires, quartier des Fauvettes, bus 127 ou 113.

Entrée Libre

Louis Crocq : Médecin militaire de 1947 à 1987 (Algérie métropole, Val-de-Grâce, Bordeaux et Lyon) ensuite affecté aux services de recherche du Service de Santé des Armées, et à la Direction des Recherches, Etudes et Techniques ; puis médecin général consultant en psychosociologie au Secrétariat Général de la Défense Nationale à Paris.

Professeur associé (psychologie pathologique) à l’Université René Descartes (Paris V), jusqu’en 1995, il coordonne encore l’enseignement de deux diplômes d’université sur le stress et le traumatisme psychique. En 1995, au lendemain de l’attentat terroriste de la station de RER Saint-Michel à Paris, Louis Crocq est chargé par le Président de la République Jacques Chirac et le Ministre de l’Action humanitaire d’Urgence Xavier Emmanuelli de créer le réseau national des cellules d’urgence médico-psychologiques sur les 100 départements du territoire français. Actuellement président du Comité national de l’urgence médico-psychologique, Coordinateur scientifique du réseau euro-méditerranéen « CHILD TRAUMA NETWORK » pour le soutien psychologique des enfants traumatisés (action soutenue par la Commission Européenne, 2005-2006). Nommé consultant en février 2006 auprès de l’ONU (UNDSS consultative working group on stress management). Il est membre de l’International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, et de l’European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

BBC News Article: Craiglockhart Hospital and Shell Shock

An article entitled “Did Craiglockhart hospital revolutionize mental healthcare?” was published yesterday on the BBC News website. It discusses the pioneering treatment(s) of shell shock offered to patients in that Scottish War Hospital during and after WWI, Craiglockhart’s literary legacy, the different cures for shell shock in various other hospitals at the time, as well as the legacy of shell shock in modern culture.

To access the article and podcast, presented by Claudia Hammond, click here.

Article: Shell Shock in New Zealand

The February issue of Social History of Medicine has just been released online and contains an article by Gwen A. Parsons entitled “The Construction of Shell Shock in New Zealand, 1919–1939: A Reassessment.” The abstract reads:

This article explores the competing constructions of shell shock in New Zealand during and after the Great War. It begins by considering the army’s construction of shell shock as a discipline problem, before going on to consider the medical profession’s attempts to place it within a somatic and then psychogenic paradigm. While shell shock was initially viewed as a psychogenic condition in New Zealand, within a few years of the end of the war it had become increasingly subject to medical understandings of the psychiatric profession, who dominated the treatment of the mentally ill. It is the psychiatric understanding of shell shock which generally defined the treatment of shell shocked veterans within New Zealand after the war. In addition, this medical definition shaped but did not entirely define the government’s repatriation response to shell shocked soldiers. In a number of cases the government saw its responsibility to shell shocked soldiers as going beyond the limits of the psychiatric paradigm, and it responded positively to the veteran lobbying for extensions to the repatriation provisions for shell shocked soldiers. This article concludes by considering why the treatment of New Zealand’s shell shocked soldiers has generally been viewed so negatively within the national historiography.

For more information, click here.

New Sources Guide: War, Psychiatry and Psychology

Credit: Wellcome Library, London

Credit: Wellcome Library, London

The Wellcome Collection presents a new guide dedicated to sources on war, psychiatry and psychology, containing older stuff such as the observations by Charles McMoran Wilson of the new phenomenon of ‘shell shock’ on the Western Front during the Great War and material from Winnicott papers on the effects of wartime evacuation on children but also newer acquisitions such as the papers of Dicks relating to his involvement in ‘de-Nazification’ of Germany after the war.

For more information, click here.

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