Kirkland, Third Floor 02 Nov 2018 Contributed Papers Session
Medicine and Health 15:45 - 17:45

A Tale of Two Neurosciences: Francis Schmitt, Herbert Jasper, and the Twin Births of Organized Neuroscience
15:45 - 16:15

The modern interdisciplinary field of neuroscience is often thought to have begun as a result of the efforts of the biophysicist F. O. Schmitt, who spearheaded the growth of the Neurosciences Research Program (NRP) at MIT in the 1950s. This historical understanding is largely incorrect. At the same time that Schmitt was developing his ‘mind-brain’ study group at MIT, a parallel development was occurring north of the border at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) in Quebec. This interdisciplinary neurological clinic was considerably more influential in developing the field of neuroscience, and launching that enterprise onto the world stage. This paper will examine the efforts of the MNI electroencephalographer Herbert Jasper, a key player in the development of modern neuroscience. Jasper’s efforts to organize the emerging profession of electroencephalographers gave him a key role in coordinating the conduct of brain research in the post-World War II era, and his efforts to understand the electrophysiology of consciousness and learning ultimately led to the founding of the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) in 1960, an event that is typically regarded as the birth of organized neuroscience in the world outside of the United States. By comparing the parallel development of the NRP and the IBRO, and the contrasting figures of Schmitt and Jasper, we can trace the development of competing visions for the future of the brain and mind sciences in the post-war world. We can also identify different 'styles' of neuroscientific thought that grew out of different institutional, intellectual and national contexts.

Wounded in Mind: Marjorie Van de Water of the Science Service and her Campaign for Humane Treatment of Battle-Weary World War II Soldiers
16:15 - 16:45

The Science Service, a news agency for the popularization of science, was established in 1921 by newspaper magnate, E.W. Scripps and scientist William E. Ritter. In 1929 the Service hired a young female writer, Marjorie Van de Water, to cover social science for its Science News-Letter and other Science Service publications. Van de Water focused much of her writing on psychology, including stories about wartime stress, the plight of the “fighting man,” and the condition we now call post-traumatic stress disorder. During World War II, researchers and practitioners in the fields of psychology and psychiatry began to promote new attitudes toward soldiers with service-related psychiatric conditions. Van de Water articulated these new attitudes in articles and books about the psychology of American G.I.’s. A five-article series, written by Van de Water “to understand and help the returning soldier discharged for neuropsychiatric reasons,” ran in the April 22, 1944 issue of The Science News-Letter and was picked up by newspapers reaching 2-3 million readers. Van de Water’s humane consideration of the psychological concerns of soldiers, in the battlefield and back home, paved the way for the public to understand that stress disorders were not moral failings, that soldiers sometimes returned from war “wounded in mind” and that many of these soldiers could return to productive, satisfying lives if they received proper treatment. This paper briefly examines the evolution of our scientific understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder and places Van de Water’s writings on the topic in their historical context.

Beyond Psychogenic Versus Biogenic: Rereading the History of Psychiatry
16:45 - 17:15

Standard histories of psychiatry rely heavily on the distinction between psychogenic and biogenic approaches to mental illness. This distinction provides a framework for grouping actors into larger configurations, tracing the tensions between those configurations, and explaining psychiatry’s major transitions. For example, the “medicalization” of American psychiatry in the 1970s is often described as a transition from a psychogenic to a biogenic paradigm; the traitement moral of early nineteenth-century France, a transition from a biogenic to a psychogenic one. I propose an alternative framework, which reads the history of psychiatry in terms of a clash between two paradigms, madness-as-strategy and madness-as-dysfunction. Proponents of the first paradigm, madness-as-strategy, view psychiatric problems as strategies that the person or organism is deploying to achieve some (perhaps unconscious) end. The researcher’s goal is to identify the purpose of the patient’s symptoms, and to use that knowledge to inform treatment. Proponents of the second paradigm, madness-as-dysfunction, view psychiatric problems in terms of the breakdown or dysfunction of the mind or brain. The researcher’s goal is to locate that dysfunction and fix it. The dysfunction/strategy distinction crosscuts the biogenic/psychogenic one in interesting ways. One benefit of this framework is that it creates new configurations of actors and it provides alternative descriptions of major transitions. For example, the “medicalization” of American psychiatry can be seen as a transition from a madness-as-strategy paradigm to a madness-as-dysfunction paradigm, and the evolutionary psychology of today can be shown to have stronger liaisons with psychoanalysis than with neuropsychopharmacology.

The Année Sociologique: Writing Journal Reviews and Training Sociologists in Fin-de-siècle France
17:15 - 17:45

This paper focuses on a specific aspect of the efforts of Durkheim and his colleagues to institutionalize sociology as a scientific research discipline in France in the late nineteenth century: the graduate training of the emerging sociologists. This training posed several challenges at its inception, such as the lack of a formal program of education and of dedicated faculty or facilities. One way that Durkheim and his associates worked around their relative lack of resources was through the foundation of the Année sociologique. This journal was a discipline building enterprise: it was a collective undertaking, it discussed a wide variety of material, and it organized the intellectual division of labor in a number of subfields, effectively defining the discipline of sociology by its choices of authors and books for review. Durkheim, as the hub of the enterprise, and Mauss, as his closest collaborator and “alter ego,” reviewed all copy, suggested revisions and insisted in examining everything in the smallest detail. This extensive work of editing formed the style of professional review writing of his collaborators. Durkheim encouraged and directed the research work of his younger teammates, providing them with guidance in creating original articles in the field of sociology, offering models of scientific research in the field, and helping them obtain academic appointments. I examine the practices of training in writing, their transfer across generations, and their significance to the success of the group.

Shimer Great Books School, North Central College
Hunter College
University of Arizona School of Journalism
Harvard University
London School of Economics and Political Science


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