Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Joint Colloquium with Anthropology
219 Aaron Burr Hall
Warwick Anderson, University of Sydney
"Hermannsburg, 1929:Turning Aboriginal ‘Primitives’ Into Modern Psychological Subjects”
In 1929, the Lutheran mission at Hermannsburg (Ntaria), central Australia, became an extraordinary investigatory site, attracting an array of leading international psychologists wishing to define the “primitive” mentality of the Arrernte, who became perhaps the most studied people in the British empire and dominions. This is a story of how scientific knowledge derived from close encounters and fraught entanglements on the borderlands of the settler state. The investigators—Stanley D. Porteus, H.K. Fry and Géza Róheim—represent the major styles of psychological inquiry in the early-twentieth century, and count among the vanguard of those dismantling rigid racial typologies and fixed hierarchies of human mentality. They wanted to evaluate “how natives think,” yet inescapably they found themselves reflecting on white mentality too. They came to recognize the primitive as an influential and disturbing motif within the civilized mind—their own minds. These intense interactions in the central deserts show us how Aboriginal thinking could make whites think again about themselves—and forget, for a moment, that many of their research subjects were starving.
Warwick Anderson is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Professor in the Department of History and the Center for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine at the University of Sydney. He is an historian of biology, medicine, and public heath with research interests in race, human difference, and citizenship in the global south. Anderson is author of The Collectors of Lost Souls: Turning Kuru Scientists into Whitemen (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), Colonial Pathologies: American Tropical Medicine, Race, and Hygiene in the Philippines (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006), and The Cultivation of Whiteness: Science, Health and Racial Destiny in Australia (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2002; paperback Duke University Press, 2006). With Ian R. Mackay, he is currently at work on a new project exploring the history of autoimmune diseases and conceptions of biological identity.
211 Dickinson Hall
Michal Shapira, Tel Aviv University
"The War Inside: Child Psychoanalysis, Total War and Democracy in Postwar Britain"
The paper examines the contribution of British psychoanalysis to the making of social democracy, childhood, and the family during World War II and the postwar reconstruction. Psychoanalysts informed understandings not only of individuals, but also of broader political questions. By asserting a link between a real 'war outside' and an emotional 'war inside', psychoanalysts contributed to an increased state responsibility for citizens' mental health. They made understanding children and the mother-child relationship key to the successful creation of a democratic citizenry. Using diverse archival sources, the paper revises the common view of psychoanalysis as an elite discipline by taking it out of the clinic and into the war nursery, the juvenile court, the state welfare committee, and the children's hospital. It traces the work of the second generation of psychoanalysts after Freud in response to total war and explores its broad postwar effects on British society.
Michal Shapira is Assistant Professor of History and Gender Studies at Tel Aviv University. She had previously taught at Amherst College as a Visiting Assistant Professor and at Barnard College, Columbia University as an ACLS New Faculty Fellow. She received her B.A. with honors in History and Interdisciplinary Studies from Tel Aviv University and her Ph.D. in History and Gender Studies from Rutgers University. Her research and publications deal with the domestic, socio-cultural, cross-national, and imperial legacies of World War Two in Britain and beyond. She focuses on the impact of total war and the development of expert culture in the twentieth century. Her book is titled The War Inside: Psychoanalysis, Total War and the Making of the Democratic Self in Postwar Britain (Cambridge University Press, 2013). She received fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the American Psychoanalytic Association, Rutgers, Princeton, and Cornell Universities and others. She lectured widely in the US, Europe and Israel. She participated at the Kandersteg Seminar of NYU’s Remarque Center, and guest lectured at such institutions as the Department of the History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University and the Institute for Historical Research, UK. She is teaching courses on European History; Britain and British Imperialism; History of the Human Sciences; History of Childhood; War and Society; the History of the Sciences of the Self, and Women and Gender Studies.
Thursday, 18 April, 2013
Beth Linker, University of Pennsylvania
"Straight as an Arrow: How Posture Became a Health Metric in Twentieth-Century America"
In the 1990s, American critics and academics became scandalized by the revelation that just decades earlier, many of the nation’s elite schools took nude photographs of all incoming freshman to assess posture and physical fitness. Some claimed that the photos were a thinly disguised form of pornography, while others argued that it was a vast eugenic experiment run by “pseudo-scientists” with a hidden master-race agenda. This paper will reopen the so-called Nude Posture Photo debate with the intent to offer a deeper historical consideration of the practice, seeking to understand twentieth century posture experts on their own terms. Looking at early attempts to measure and standardize posture (with photography as but one method), “Straight as an Arrow” will demonstrate how a wide array of early-twentieth-century medical and social scientists came to agree upon a uniform posture norm and how they utilized this standard as an indicator of physical health.
Department of History of Science
University of Wisconsin-Madison
3 October, 2012
20 September, 2012
Vilas Research and William Coleman Professor of History of Science, Medical History, and Environmental Studies
The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison
"Ecological Imperialism Revisited: Entanglements of Disease, Commerce, and Knowledge in a Global World"
29 November, 2011
Cornell University, Department of Science and Technology Studies
"Common Culture in Early-Modern Natural Philosophy"
What did philosophers argue about in early-modern Europe, and in what terms did they do it? Prominent epistemic themes of the period ran through many different modalities of philosophical representation. Sorting out topical registers for a distant historical culture is, of course, far from straightforward. Quentin Skinner spoke of recognizing particular "activities" in the history of European political thought at widely different periods as a sin qua non for his own historical specialty. While there are good grounds for saying that early-modern speculative natural philosophy certainly was not the same activity as modern science (itself not a single activity), a genetic, or genealogical, link surely exists between important elements of the game of natural philosophy in the seventeenth century and elements of our modern games of science. Understanding the various uses of epistemic themes in different periods involves drawing links between many different categories of activity, not treating them as necessarily alienated from one another. This paper considers the specific themes of "reason" and "matter," and looks particularly at how Robert Hooke combined the two in some of his speculations on the workings of the human brain.
11 October, 2011
Associate Director of the Beckman Center, Chemical Heritage Foundation
"Turning the Page on Atlases: Picturing Anatomy through Systems of Display in Enlightenment Britain"
Late eighteenth- and early nineteenth- century anatomy depended upon a variety of visual displays. Drawings in books, particularly expensive, beautiful, and elaborately illustrated books that have been the objects of historians’ fascination, were understood to function alongside chalk drawings done in classrooms, casual and formalized experience with animal and human corpses, text describing or contextualizing the images, and preserved specimens. This system of visual display was used both in the development of new knowledge and in the teaching and conveying of established knowledge. Historians have attempted to understand the relationships between seeing and knowing by extracting books from that system of visual displays, looking at images and illustrations in isolation as representations of visual culture. In so doing, they have granted a primacy to elegant and beautiful books of the sort that risks denying the significance of the context of their use during the period. I argue that the constellation of visual displays used by anatomists defies categorization into the neat and naturalized dichotomies of nature and representation or image-as-representation and text-as-knowledge, dichotomies that are themselves modern. Instead, a system of display stood in for nature and at the same time represented her ordering by anatomists.