Research assistant posts at University of Huddersfield

Three full time Research Assistants are required for the project European Healthcare before Welfare States under the direction of Professor Barry Doyle. You will work within the Centre for Health Histories (CHH) to undertake secondary and primary research into the provision of healthcare in one of Poland, Czechoslovakia or Hungary between the wars. The Research Assistants will focus on the following priorities:

  • Undertake a desk based literature review of current work in English and other languages in the field of interwar healthcare in one of Poland, Hungary or Czechoslovakia 1900-1940.
  • Undertake up to two months field work in archives and libraries in one of Poland, Hungary or Czech Republic/Slovakia.
  • Support the development of an international network around the theme of European Healthcare before Welfare States.
  • Along with the project Principal Investigator, develop partnerships with non-academic partners.
  • Work with the Principal Investigator and other Research Assistants to mount an international workshop in December 2016.
  • Produce a report of fieldwork and present findings to a workshop.
  • Contribute to a collective article with the Principal Investigator and other Research Assistants on sources and methods for the study of healthcare in the region between the wars.

With a good Honours degree and an MA in modern health or social history of Central Europe, you will also have fluency in one or (more) of Polish, Czech, Slovakian or Magyar.

For informal discussions please contact the Principal Investigator, Professor Barry Doyle 01484 471625: Email

For further details about this post and to make an application, visit

Closing date: 06 June 2016
Interview date: 30 June 2016


Post-socialism, the psy-ences and mental health

The April 2016 issue of Transcultural Psychiatry includes a new article by Eugene Raikhel and Dörte Bemme :

Over the past decades, the formerly socialist countries of East Central Europe and Eurasia have experienced a range of transformations which bear directly upon the domains of mental health, psychiatry, and psychology. In particular, the disciplines and professions concerned with the human mind, brain, and behavior (“the psy-ences”) were strongly affected by sociopolitical changes spanning the state-socialist and postsocialist periods. These disciplines’ relationship to the state, their modes of knowledge production, and the epistemic order and subjectivities they contributed to have all undergone dramatic ruptures. In this essay, we trace the literature on these issues across three thematic domains: (a) history and memory; (b) the reform of psychiatry in an era of global mental health; and (c) therapy and self-fashioning. We argue for a closer articulation between the social science and historical literature on socialism and its “posts” and the literature among anthropologists, sociologists, and historians on the sciences of the mind and brain, and we suggest that each of these literatures helps to critically open up and enrich the other.

Kateřina Lišková on the history of sexology in Communist Czechoslovakia

History of the Human Sciences have recently published an article by Kateřina Lišková of Masaryk University in Brno:

‘”Now you see them, now you don’t”. Sexual deviants and sexological expertise in Communist Czechoslovakia’

Despite its historical focus on aberrant behavior, sexology barely dealt with sexual deviants in 1950s Czechoslovakia. Rather, sexologists treated only isolated instances of deviance. The rare cases that went to court appeared mostly because they hindered work or harmed the national economy. Two decades later, however, the situation was markedly different. Hundreds of men were labeled as sexual delinquents and sentenced for treatment in special sexological wards at psychiatric hospitals. They endangered society, so it was claimed, by being unwilling or unable to conform to the family norm. The mode of subjection shifted from work to family. I analyse this change by using the tools of Gil Eyal’s sociology of expertise (2013), which focuses on shifts in institutional matrices that bring forth new groups of agents creating new expert networks. I argue that sexology became profoundly institutionalized in the early 1970s, which brought the discipline closer to psychiatry and forensic science. New inpatient facilities were opened that could admit sentenced sexual deviants. Also, demographic changes accelerated in the 1960s, especially skyrocketing divorce rates and plummeting birth rates, which made it imperative for the government to focus on cementing the family. After the failed attempts of the Prague Spring in 1968, the new pro-Soviet government of communist Czechoslovakia did just that. During the time dubbed as ‘normalization’ by the new elites, anyone who strayed from the family norm was suspected of deviance.

Postdoctoral fellowships at UPitt

UCIS Postdoctoral Fellowships in Russian & East European Studies for 2016-18

The University of Pittsburgh is offering two postdoctoral fellowships—one in the arts and humanities, and one in the social sciences and professional disciplines—to begin in September 2016 for scholars whose work focuses on Russia, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet regions of Eurasia. These fellowships are designed to offer junior scholars the time, space, and financial support necessary to produce significant scholarship early in their careers while simultaneously building their teaching records.

The UCIS Postdoctoral Fellowships in Russian & East European Studies are for two years, renewable for an additional (third) year. Fellows will be expected to pursue their own scholarly work and participate in the academic and intellectual activities of UCIS and REES, as well as the department or professional school with which they are affiliated.

Each of the UCIS/REES Fellows will teach one course in the first year, two in the second year, and two in the third year if the fellowship is extended. The specific courses to be taught will be determined according to fellows’ interests and the needs of their departments and REES. However, it is anticipated that each fellow will co-teach the interdisciplinary REES capstone course, through which undergraduate students undertake a major research project as part of the REES certificate program requirements, at least once during the fellowship period. Fellows will also be expected to support the Center’s annual graduate and undergraduate student conferences and other Center outreach activities.

The annual stipend will be $40,000, plus benefits. The UCIS/REES Fellows are eligible to apply for REES Faculty Small Grants, up to $3,000 annually, to support their research agenda.

Eligibility: We invite applications from qualified candidates in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and professional disciplines who have received the PhD or final professional degree from a university other than the University of Pittsburgh no earlier than December 2013.  Applicants who do not have the PhD in hand at the time of application must provide a letter from their department chair or advisor stating that the PhD degree will be conferred before the term of the fellowship begins.  The fellowship may not begin before the candidate has actually received the PhD or equivalent final degree in a professional discipline. Strong preference will be given to candidates whose application is supported by an agreement from a current University of Pittsburgh faculty member to serve as mentor for the candidate during the period of the fellowship.

Apply by December 31, 2015 online at submittable ( Applicants must clearly specify whether their application is for the UCIS Postdoctoral Fellowship in Russian & East European Studies: Arts and Humanities or the UCIS Postdoctoral Fellowship in Russian & East European Studies: Social Sciences and Professional Disciplines. All applications must include:

1.  Application form

2.  Curriculum vitae

3.  Statement of current research interests that outlines the goals of the research to be undertaken during the term of the fellowship (1,000 words maximum).

4.  One writing sample no longer than 25 pages

5.  Copy of the Dissertation Table of Contents

6.  Two-page statement of teaching interests and two course proposals (including subject area, brief syllabus and proposed methods) for 15-week courses directed toward advanced undergraduates or graduate students. Applicants should address their interest/preparedness to teach the REES undergraduate capstone course as part of their two-page statement.

7. Names, professional titles, and email addresses of three references

Applications must be submitted by December 31, 2015.  Only complete applications will be considered. A committee will review all applications and contact a smaller pool of candidates for Skype interviews. Final notifications will take place by March 1, 2016.

The University of Pittsburgh is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educator. Women, minorities, and international candidates are especially encouraged to apply.

Pre-modern Medicine in Bohemia – seminar at the Wellcome Library

The next seminar in the 2015–16 History of Pre-Modern Medicine Seminar Series takes place on Tuesday 24th November.

Speaker: Professor Michael Stolberg

Humanist self-fashioning and ordinary medical practice. The Bohemian physician Georg Handsch (1529–c. 1578) and his notebooks

L0025259 A medical practitioner examining urine brought by his patien Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images A medical practitioner examining urine brought by his patients. Painted relief after Giotto. Oil Published: - Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0


The professional identity of learned physicians underwent some major changes in the 16th century. The rise of humanism reshaped the world of the ‘res publica literaria’ in which learned physicians prominently participated. At the same time, growing numbers of physicians settled in large and small towns all over Central and Western Europe and sought to make a living as medical practitioners. Drawing on the voluminous notebooks of a little known and rather unsuccessful Bohemian physician by the name of Georg Handsch, and some other physicians’ letters and practice journals, this paper will take a look at the ways in which fairly ‘ordinary’ physicians coped with this tension: how they self-fashioned themselves as humanist intellectuals, but also engaged with the medical lay-world and interacted with (and learnt from) the townsfolk in an effort to secure a place in urban society and to hold their own in the medical marketplace.


Wellcome Library, 183 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BE.

Doors open at 6pm, seminar will start at 6.15pm.

The seminar series is focused on pre-modern medicine, which we take to cover European and non-European history before the 20th century (antiquity, medieval and early modern history, some elements of 19th century medicine).

Soviet-era psychiatry in new issue of Cahiers du Monde russe

The new issue of Paris-based journal Cahiers du Monde russe includes two articles on psychiatry in the region during the Soviet period:

Sarah Marks ‘From Experimental Psychosis to Resolving Traumatic Pasts: Psychedelic Research in Communist Czechoslovakia, 1954-1974/ De la psychose expérimentale à la guérison des traumatismes du passé  : la recherche psychédélique en Tchécoslovaquie communiste, 1954‑1974’

Drawing on research papers, archives and scientific memoirs, this paper reconstructs the psychedelic research projects developed in Prague between 1954 and1974, situating psychiatric research in Communist Czechoslovakia within the transnational context of Cold War science. It traces attempts to induce experimental psychosis as a means of exploring the aetiology of schizophrenia; as well as the resilience of psychoanalytic theory and practice in Czechoslovakia, illustrated by approaches to psychotherapy using LSD as an accelerant. Time – and the subjective experience thereof – formed a fundamental part of the psychotherapeutic process, and the researchers explicitly utilized hallucinogenic drugs to actively manage patients’ memories of their own past within the controlled environment of the clinic and the therapeutic relationship. The use of pharmacological and psychological techniques to control experiences from the patient’s history for therapeutic purposes fitted into a wider progressive project for the improvement of human subjectivity itself: they appeared to offer a utopian method for revisiting and ultimately curing trauma. Ultimately, psychedelic research resonated with broader interests of socialist modernity, which was concerned with facilitating future human potential, and the use of science and technology to further social progress.

Gregory Dufaud ‘Quel usage des thèses pavloviennes en médecine? Schizophrénie, incertitudes scientifiques et psychiatrie en Union soviétique/ The use of Pavlov’s theories in medicine: schizophrenia, scientific uncertainty and psychiatry in the Soviet Union’

This article deals with psychiatric interpretations and uses of Pavlov’s theories. The author shows that the choice to base psychiatry on Pavlov’s theses was not self‑evident. It was made because it seemed likely to turn psychiatry into a modern specialty on par with other medical specialties or biological disciplines in terms of its truth regime. At stake in the redefinition of psychiatry were recognition and legitimacy concerns related to both the discredit that psychiatry had long suffered and the competition with physiology: as of the late 1920s, physiologists started to question psychiatry’s ability to apprehend mental illness and explain human functioning objectively. As it progresses, this study of the advent of physiological psychiatry shows the interrelation of production of knowledge, institutional reconfigurations and moral values.

CFP: Religion & Medicine Conference, Birkbeck, University of London 15-16 July 2016

This conference will explore the relationship between religion and medicine in the historic past, ranging over a long chronological framework and a wide geographical span. The conference’s focus will be primarily historical, and we welcome contributions which take an interdisciplinary approach to this topic.

Four main themes will provide the focus of the conference. The sub-themes are not prescriptive, but are suggested as potential subjects for consideration:

1. Healing the body and healing the soul
• Medical traditions: the non-natural environment and the ‘passions of the soul’.
• Religious traditions (for example, the Church Fathers, sermons and devotional literature).

2. The religious and medicine
• Medical knowledge and practice of religious personnel, including secular and regular clergy.
• Nurses and nursing.
• Medical practitioners, religious authorities and the regulation of medical activity and practice.

3. Religious responses
• Religious responses to epidemics, from leprosy to plague to pox and cholera.
• Medical missions in Europe and the wider world.
• Religion, humanitarianism and medical care.

4. Healing environments and religion
• Religious healing, miracles, pilgrimage.
• Institutional medical care (including hospitals, dispensaries and convalescent homes).

Proposals, consisting of a paper abstract (no more than 300 words) and a short biography (no more than 400 words), should be submitted to by 30 October 2015. We will respond to proposals by early December. For more information please visit our website, and follow us on Twitter: @RelMedConf2016.

Hidden Persuaders: Histories of Brainwashing and the Psy-disciplines during the Cold War at Birkbeck, University of London

The Hidden Persuaders research group at Birkbeck, University of London headed by Daniel Pick have recently launched their website, blog and a series of events.


On the 3-4th of July they will host a conference, ‘Brainwash: History, Cinema and the Psy Professions’:

“Early cinema had frequently explored the hypnotic processes it was accused of inducing. But the intersecting fears of mind control at the movies and in the consulting room seemingly entered a new stage of complexity with the Cold War. New theoretical and visual languages of ‘brainwashing’ emerged, and the ideas of Pavlov and of Freud were often placed side by side. In the decades after 1950 (the year in which the word ‘brainwashing’ was coined), film further explored subliminal interference. Roles for ‘psy’ experts working for shadowy organisations were to feature, and the dangers of psychological experiment returned again and again.

Visions of ‘conditioning’ and ‘programming’ resonated on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Work such as Shivers (1981) by the Polish filmmaker Marczewski explored the communist indoctrination of young people. In the West, films such as The Mind Benders (1963), The Ipcress File (1965), A Clockwork Orange (1971) and The Parallax View (1974) played upon conjoined political and psychological terrors of brainwashing.  Most famous, ironic, and perhaps most imitated of all works in this tradition was The Manchurian Candidate (1962). Meanwhile, many specialist commentators in the human sciences explored the vulnerability of the ‘captive mind’, considered the psychic effects of ‘totalitarianism’, the nature of induced desires and manufactured anxieties, advertising, not to mention extreme sensory experiences (and deprivation) in shaping behaviour and thought. The limits of an individual—or a group’s—capacity to remember, to will, to know, and to organize were probed; and terms such as ‘regression’ and ‘automatism’ gained a substantial new purchase.

In this workshop we ask whether the Cold War obsession with brainwashing was a break with past narratives and anxieties over mental manipulation and suggestion. We consider how far cinema, television and video have been caught up in this history of hidden or coercive persuasion, and how far they have changed the terms of debate. What forms of human experimentation inspired interest in brainwashing, and vice versa?  And how and why did depictions of automatism on screen so often connect to fears of the ‘psy’ professions?”

Tickets are abailable here:

Society for the Social History of Medicine 2014 Conference

Disease, Health and the State

The Centre for Health, Medicine and Society: Past and Present, Oxford Brookes University and the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, University of Oxford

Call for Papers
Proposals that consider all topics relevant to the history of medicine broadly conceived are invited, but the 2014 committee encourages proposals for papers, sessions, and round-tables that examine, challenge, and refine the history of disease, health and the state. Suggested themes include local and global understandings of health, medicine, and governance; the consolidation, breakdown, or absence of state power in the midst of health and medical crises; and the experience of health and medical bureaucracies in the past.

Paper submissions should include a 250-word abstract and a short CV. Panel submissions should include three papers (each with a 250-word abstract and short CV), a chair, and a 100-word panel abstract. Round-table submissions should include the names of four participants (each with a short CV), a chair, and a 500-word abstract.

Call closes: 1 January 2014

Further details: