In the new issue of History of the Human Sciences, Matt ffytche analyses the exclusion of traumatic histories from psychoanalytic accounts of the mid-twentieth century, through a detailed engagement with the figure of the father (and of family authority) in different forms of psychoanalytic theory. Focusing especially on the work of the German psychoanalyst, Alexander Mitscherlich, ffytche traces the filtering out of the historical experiences of Nazism and the war from psychoanalytic narratives of the social - but then their return in texts of the 1980s and 1990s, under the banner of a new interest in historical trauma.  Here, HHS Editor in Chief, Felicity Callard, interviews Matt about his article.  Felicity Callard (FC): Maybe we can start off with the institutional context in which you work. You have recently transitioned from being the director of a Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies to becoming the head of a new Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies. Can you tell us more about this new department, and what its emergence tells us about

the history and sociology of psychoanalysis in the present? Matt ffytche (Mf): It’s a very exciting moment for us, and a fascinating, transitional moment for the discipline. In many UK institutions, programmes connected to psychoanalysis have been in long-term decline, I think mainly because of the way in which Centres or Units which were once set up in relationship with schools of psychology or health, have found the disciplinary ground being whittled away from under their feet as the institutions which housed them have gone more and more quantitative. In the humanities, I think interest in psychoanalysis has remained steady (usually in its Lacanian form) but just as part of the general critical mix – it has rarely dealt in full-scale psychoanalytic programmes. The University of Essex, along with Birkbeck and a few other institutions, have bucked this trend and found a real impetus to growth around such topics as psychoanalysis and the psychosocial – and this…

In the July issue of History of the Human Sciences, Marcia Holmes, a post-doctoral researcher with the Hidden Persuaders project at Birkbeck, University of London, used the 1965 film adaption of Len Deighton’s The Ipcress File to demonstrate the close relationship between Cold War fantasies of mind control and the postwar understanding of the media. In her analysis, our familiar understanding of brainwashing as an irresistible form of domination is disrupted and she instead demonstrates how the spy drama which pits a hero against the mechanical forces of scientific control provided a new template through which audiences could re-conceive their relationship to modern media.  Against the idea of the passive and pliant observer, Holmes promotes the idea of the ‘cybernetic spectator’, who plays an active role in controlling the flow of information in order to reorganise their own personality and consciousness.  In this analysis, brainwashing moves beyond being a simple disciplinary mechanism to become a potential technology of the self.  Viewed from this perspective, brainwashing is less a legacy of Cold War struggles than a part of

psychedelic revolution in which consciousness became a subject for personal exploration and transformation.  Part of the joy of Holmes account is that it connects the history of cold war human sciences to the flowering of the counterculture in the 1960s: a relationship that is only just beginning to receive the attention it deserves. Marcia Holmes is here in conversation with Rhodri Hayward, Reader in History at Queen Mary, University of London, and one of the Editors of HHS. The full paper is available open access here: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0952695117703295  Rhodri Hayward (RH): Thanks for speaking to us, Marcia. What first drew you to Deighton’s novel and the Ipcress File film? Marcia Holmes (MH): I admit that I had never seen The Ipcress File (dir. Sidney Furie, 1965), or read Len Deighton’s 1962 novel, until I began researching films that depict brainwashing. Perhaps this is because I’m an American and only recently transplanted to the UK. The film is well-loved…

We are delighted today to publish a new special issue, 'Psychology and its Publics,' edited by Michael Pettit and Jacy L. Young. HHS editor-in-chief, Felicity Callard, spoke to Jacy about the background  to the issue, and how the question of publics, in particular, may push a heterogeneous collection of interdisciplinary voices to the fore within the history of psychology  Felicity Callard (FC): Jacy, maybe we should start with the genesis of this special issue. Did it start with you explicitly wanting to stage an encounter between research on the history of psychology and research on publics? How has this focus inflected your own research trajectories? Jacy Young (JY): Both Michael Pettit and I have an abiding interest in the manifold ways in which the human sciences have interacted with the public across history. This special issue emerged in conversations in the wake of my doctoral dissertation, a project that was very much concerned with psychologists’ various engagements with the public, specifically in

the context of the history of questionnaire research in American psychology. As we note in our introduction, too often conversations about psychology and the public presume a passive public simply receiving whatever messaging the discipline happens to disseminate. And, the public as an entity is often under-theorized in these discussions. The term is employed but never defined with respect to its parameters and characteristics, its ontology remaining un- or at least under-addressed. The contributions to this special issue speak to these concerns in a variety of ways, expanding the conversation about the public to encompass much more vibrant, active, and multifaceted notions of the public. This is especially so in Kieran O’Doherty’s piece on the construction of deliberative publics. The nature of the public, and the ways in which particular publics are brought into being in interaction with the human sciences continues to be a theme in much of my work, as is the public’s influence on the…

We were delighted in our current tissue, to publish Till Düppe's new article, "The generation of the GDR: Economists at the Humboldt University of Berlin caught between loyalty and relevance." The article is an account of a particular generation of economists at Humboldt - socialized in Nazi Germany, growing up through during the Second World War and the Stalinist period, becoming committed to a state career in the GDR, but whose careers then ended very suddenly, in the 'ultimate reform' of 1989. The article draws on Karl Mannheim's theory of generations to present a very particular historicization of the GDR, one that limns the tension between 'the ideological and productive functions of knowledge in socialism, that is, between loyalty and relevance.' Angus Nicholls, one of the editors of HHS, spoke to Till about the GDR economists. Angus Nicholls (AN): Till, can you tell us a little bit about your own academic career, and how and why you came to be interested in economists in the German Democratic Republic (GDR)? Till

Düppe (TD): I’m trained in continental philosophy and in economics which led me into the history and philosophy of economics. In my previous work, I was interested in how economics became mathematical, and how that development was related to the U.S. during the Cold War. In this paper I am working on the same period, but on a very different group of people, GDR economists, who I met during my post-doc in Berlin. But they are in fact not so different from the American mathematical economists: both operate within rather closed discourses, such that there is little understanding of how they see themselves. This is how I felt when I was at the faculty in Berlin (at Humboldt) from which the GDR generation had been excluded after German reunification, even though they still feel attached to ‘their’ institution. I try to create more understanding, Verstehen, just as I did when I was working on mathematical…

In this book, Velminski’s grandiose claims regarding the telepathic underpinnings of Soviet society tend to drown out the more subtle forms of continuity his materials gesture towards; he is more interested in telepathy as a master analogy for understanding Soviet culture than in exploring telepathic practices and discourses as cultural phenomena.  Perhaps prioritising his materials over his overarching thesis would have allowed the complexities of those hypnotic histories to come to the fore and a less stereotyped portrait of Soviet power may have emerged in the process. 

W. Velminski, Homo Sovieticus: Brain Waves, Mind Control, and Telepathic Destiny, trans. by Erik Butler, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017, £14.95 pbk, 128pp, ISBN: 9780262035699 by Hannah Proctor, Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Berlin ‘Communism is Soviet power plus electrification of the whole land’ declared V.I. Lenin in a 1920 speech. Wladimir Velminski cites this famous phrase in the opening pages of his slim and punchy book, Homo Sovieticus, recently published in English translation by MIT Press. But while Lenin was referring to the electrical infrastructure required for industrialisation in the wake of the October Revolution, Velminski explores how Soviet power harnessed electromagnetic technologies and theories to communise the mind in order to produce ‘uniformity of thought’ and achieve what he bombastically describes as a form of ‘collective brainwashing’ (p. 2, p. 1). Telepathy and hypnosis, or what Velminski calls ‘neural prostheses’, provide the thematic links between chapters. Originally published in German by Merve Verlag – primarily known for their

translations of French and Italian philosophy, theory and political thought – Homo Sovieticus is not a work of cultural history or the history of science in any conventional sense. Indeed, at first glance it might seem to have more in common with McKenzie Wark’s Molecular Red: Theory of the Anthropocene (which includes discussions of Soviet theories of nature by Alexander Bogdanov and Andrei Platonov), than with scholarly monographs discussing specific Soviet scientific disciplines, discourses, thinkers or schools of thought. Superficial stylistic similarities aside, however, Wark excavates specific strands of early Soviet thought he perceives to have radical potential in order to challenge understandings of nature in the ‘capitalist realist’ present, whereas Velminski treats telepathy as a metaphor for comprehending the oppressive operations of Soviet power in the past. Homo Sovieticus is comprised of a combined and uneven jumble of vignettes about telepathy plucked from disparate moments across the Soviet period, encompassing descriptions of cybernetic theories, introductions to technological inventions, glosses of science…

In this book, the view of pain as a ‘deficit of energy’ is dissected and dismissed as inconsistent with physiology. Similarly, pain as the opposite of pleasure is not a convincing hypothesis, as not all pain is displeasing, and disagreeableness is not equivalent to the experience of pain... the systematic dissection of historical concepts of pain is a useful way to challenge our contemporary conceptions of pain and its treatment. This was an insightful read for someone working in a medical field [as I do] as it made me question the way I perceive pain, and how this may be different to the way in which my patients perceive it.

R. Kugelmann, Constructing Pain: Historical, Psychological and Critical Perspectives, London: Routledge, 2017, £34.099 pbk, 158pp, ISBN: 9781138841222 by Lottie Wittingham In this thorough review, Robert Kugelmann charts how ideas around the polymorphous concept of pain have come about via the influence of academic personalities, and their experiences in the spheres of psychology and medicine. Drawing on the theories of figures such as Benjamin Ward Richardson, Henry Rutgers Marshall and well-known philosophers such as Descartes and Bentham, part 1 of the book describes the dualistic concept of pain and the perceived distinction between ‘real’ and imagined pain. Beginning with the development of anaesthesia and the influence of this on the anatomical image of the body as opposed to the ‘felt’ body, the introductory chapter describes the heralding of the abolition of pain, and the consequence of this on people’s opinions on pain and its utility or otherwise. Is pain a useful signal to signify a physical ailment within the body? If

so, where does chronic pain fit into this model? It is posited that the pointlessness of chronic pain perhaps accentuates how much it hurts. The ‘medical gaze’ describes pain as an indicator of bodily dysfunction and this challenges the legitimacy of chronic pain which has no ostensible ‘function’. The theory of pain as a direct sensation felt by specific pain nerves is contrasted with the theory of pain and pleasure as direct antitheses to one another. The view of pain as a ‘deficit of energy’ is dissected and dismissed as inconsistent with physiology. Similarly, pain as the opposite of pleasure is not a convincing hypothesis, as not all pain is displeasing, and disagreeableness is not equivalent to the experience of pain. This section of the book is somewhat hard to follow, but the systematic dissection of historical concepts of pain is a useful way to challenge our contemporary conceptions of pain and its treatment. This was an insightful read for someone…

In this book, we learn much about an all-round scholar and clinician, who, as his own book on the history of psychiatry also showed, was not an either/or thinker regarding relations between body, brain, and the mind. We also learn about a caring European-style pater familias. We learn with the eyes of the respectful granddaughter about a family style that always combined love and commitment with decisiveness.

Ilonka Venier Alexander: The life and times of Franz Alexander. From Budapest to California. London: Karnac, £22.99 pbk, 2015, xxxii + 154 pp. ISBN:  9781782202509 by Csaba Pléh Written by the granddaughter of the famous Hungarian-born and educated psychoanalyst (Franz) Ferenc Alexander, Ilonka Venier Alexander’s book is a peculiar work on the life and work of her grandfather in several regards. The peculiarity of the book is shown in two ways. Regarding its central figure, Franz Alexander, the reader sees a constant shifting of perspective between the personal/familiar and the professional perspective, the latter mainly dealing with the history of American psychoanalysis. On the other hand, sometimes we have to deal not with Franz Alexander, but with the grandchild, the vicissitudes of the divorce of her parents, and the central role of the grandfather. This is not necessarily intended to be a criticism. The book is an excellent resource and a fascinating read. But the constant shifts of perspective make for a

hard time for the reader. As a history of a professional psychoanalyst, the monograph is certainly timely. Alexander has been unduly forgotten. The editor of Karnac's 'History of Psychoanalysis' series, Brett Klahr, points out in the preface that Franz Alexander is an important figure in the history of psychoanalysis; Alexander’s proposal for short therapy was a provocative intervention. Even more provocative was his glittering life in California. The author argues that Franz Alexander’s copious honoraria - which allowed for this luxurious standard of life - made many of his colleagues jealous. At the same time, the fact that Alexander continued his practice for over a decade in Hollywood had an important role in psychoanalysis becoming part of American everyday life, thought and pop culture. The first third of the book is a family chronicle. It presents the Alexander clan with family trees, family photos, and gossip. Franz Alexander’s Father, Bernat (Bernhard) Alexander (1850–1927) – whom the writer spells as Bernard…

"Following in the vein of influential scholars such as Gillian Beer, who in the early 1980s pointed out that nineteenth-century science and literature shared a common language, recent research on sexology by Veronika Fuechtner, Anna Katharina Schaffner and Robert Deam Tobin, among others, has shown that the science of sex was a porous field. The main point of Crozier’s critique – that sexology should be located within an idealized, tightly bound domain of science proper, and most definitely not in the literary realm – is both historically inaccurate and critically outdated. Sexology was constituted from the contributions of medical professionals, legal and social scientists, anthropologists, social reformers as well as authors, literary critics and all kinds of cultural commentators who individually and collectively turned their attention to questions of sex."

Heike Bauer (ed.), Sexology and Translation: Cultural and Scientific Encounters Across the Modern World. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2015, $34.95 pbk, 284 pages, ISBN: 978-1-43991-249-2 by Ivan Crozier, with responses from Heike Bauer Editor's note: we are very happy to here present Ivan Crozier's review of 'Sexology and Translation.' The review is followed by a response from  the editor of that volume, Heike Bauer; then a response to the response; and then a response to the response to the response. We are grateful to both scholars for this lively and interesting exchange, which foregrounds crucial issues about historiography and field-making, which are central to work on sexology, but that span the human sciences much more widely too. Sexology was a trans-European, transatlantic discipline, with important sexological works appearing in Italian, French, English and especially German before Havelock Ellis’s synthesis of the field in his Studies in the Psychology of Sex (1897-1928). As suggested by their footnotes, most of the main players read each other’s languages. They also read widely outside of the field, and rearticulated non-sexological

views of sex from other fields, such as history, literature, law and anthropology. Understanding how they read and used the works of other sexologists and those of other sexperts who were not in the same field is a significant way to map out the intellectual history of one of the most important disciplines that framed many attitudes towards sexuality in the twentieth century. How authors in other fields interpreted and disseminated these sexological discourses is a useful way of assessing the impact that sexologists had.  These are not the same problem, but they both require an understanding of how knowledge is generated within a field. It is obvious to students of sexological texts that translation is a key issue for understanding the field – both the translation of texts between languages and cultures, but particularly the translation of concepts and evidence between fields. This book attends to both types, but with varying degrees of success.…

Sarah Chaney and Chris Millard, in their respective volumes, ally themselves to a view of psychiatric knowledge that derives from historical epistemology. They both use Ian Hacking’s concept of ‘making up people’ to develop the ways that psychiatry produces specific objects of knowledge which are then transported to society through the expansion of psychiatric power - via psychiatric social workers, structures like the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, and education programmes. The increased prevalence of the self-harmer is in part produced by the sustained and expanding psychiatric attention.

Sarah Chaney, Psyche on the Skin, Reaktion Books, London, 2017, £20.00, 320pp. ISBN 9781780237503; Chris Millard, A History of Self-Harm in Britain: a genealogy of cutting and overdosing, Palgrave, London, 2015, £15.99 and available open access. ISBN  9781137547736. by Ivan Crozier People have always changed their bodies in permanent ways – whether with tattoos, scars, tongue splits, brands, piercings, genital modifications (from religious circumcision to self-bifurcation), or through cosmetic surgery. These changes give the body a particular meaning that is entirely dependent on the social context. Sometimes, scarification is done to show belonging to a particular ethnic group (a Mossi man from Burkina Faso was traditionally initiated with specific facial scars made with a hot knife), while other scars might be consensually produced as a part of a heavy sadomasochistic scene, and yet others – as these two books show – might be the result of a distressed teenager engaging in a self-harming practice which increasingly

became viewed as a ‘cry for help’ within psychiatric discourses, and which necessitated the intervention of mental health professionals. These acts of body modification only take on their meanings within certain social groups. In some cases, self-injury is framed as resulting from a disturbed mind. Psychiatry is the dominant current way of understanding deliberate self-inflicted injuries in the west, but this was not always the framework, and, as these two books show, there is much to suggest that psychiatric power is being resisted in current corporeal practices. The abhorrence that has framed self-injuring is partly tied up in ideas about pain as a wholly negative experience, with those willing to engage in it consciously believed to be mentally disturbed and requiring psychiatric attention. This is the main reason that sadomasochistic practices come under the scrutiny of psychiatrists. Another important framework for considering self-harm is the social and legal status granted to suicide. Self-harm was developed as a category within psychiatry, firstly believed to be…

From the mid-century up to the present, psychoanalysis has had some extremely militant challengers to the throne, which have, in some cases, exceeded it in terms of institutional power. Behavioural and cognitive approaches are the obvious candidates here, especially in the way they have mobilized trials and ‘evidence base’ for their cause. But there are others: Rogerian counselling has been ubiquitous at particular moments, and, increasingly, Mindfulness-based approaches. And there is an excellent emerging literature coming through that is beginning to address some of these gap. But the fact that non-psychoanalytic approaches have had very little historical interrogation, thus far, has quite significant implications given the status they’ve acquired.

We were delighted in April 2017 to publish a special issue of History of the Humans Sciences, 'Psychotherapy in Historical Perspective,' edited by Sarah Marks, currently based at Birkbeck, University of London, as part of the Wellcome Trust-funded Hidden Persuaders project. HHS Web editor, Des Fitzgerald, spoke to Sarah about the special issue - and about how we might (re-)think the history of the psychotherapeutic complex today.  Des Fitzgerald (DF): Sarah, thanks for taking the time for this interview. Why a history of psychotherapy, now, in 2017? Sarah Marks (SM): The history of psychotherapy does seem to be having something of a moment right now. There’s recently been the Other Psychotherapies conference at Glasgow, the Transcultural Histories of Psychotherapy conferences at UCL, special issues of this journal, and forthcoming issues of History of Psychology and The European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling. So I’m happy to say that this seems to representative of a blossoming field. The seed for this issue came about a few years

back, though. As a graduate student I was very surprised at how fractional the literature seemed to be by comparison with work on, say, psychiatric diagnostics and the 'Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorder,' psychopharmaceuticals, or asylums and institutions. I thought there must be others out there working on it, and there were. It’s probably particularly relevant that I came to it initially from trying to figure out how Cognitive Behaviour Therapy become such a significant force in the UK. I don’t especially privilege ‘histories of the present’ as an approach, but I think psychotherapies as interventions – and psychotherapeutic knowledge in broader terms – do have something of an unexamined presence in contemporary society and policy, in various forms. I note that there is currently a growing critique, or even backlash against this in Britain, including from therapists themselves.  So taking a historical approach now makes good sense – it reminds us that these are by…