History of Psychiatry in Britain and Ireland since 1500 – Part Two

Blog written by Professor Rab Houston

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George Trosse, Photo attrib. YOONIQ, CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

I guess most of you already know about the series of podcasts I have put out over the last year, exploring the rich and sometimes curious History of Psychiatry in Britain and Ireland since 1500. There are 44 episodes that range from sex to suicide, asylums to alienists, doctors to devils. I wrote the ‘script’ for these and I delivered them as a monologue in my soft Scottish voice.

The second series of podcasts that followed and is currently airing is called The Voice of the Mad‘ and looks at mental illness in Britain from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. It has a dual format. The basis of what I say in my spoken contribution is a contextualisation of the writings of people long dead, who either knew they were mentally disordered or who wrote to refute the notion. I interpret their words and explain the cultural context that created them: law, society, medicine, religion, and so on. That part is exactly the same as series one.

The other part is an original historical source, either written or printed. These words are, if you like, a bit like ‘gobbets’: extracts from documents that are the core of final year special subjects across the School. In fact, some of the extracts are from my course ‘Madness and its social milieu in England, c.1560-1820’ (MO4904). I thought it would be a good idea not only to reproduce the words of the people I am interpreting, which you can find on the website, but also to have them spoken by people other than myself. Thus Seb Bridges, who was once in my first-year MO1007 tutorial, recruited members of Mermaids to help; Seb is the secretary of this popular student society. Members of Mermaids voiced the written words, allowing those who have visual problems (or who simply prefer to listen) the opportunity to hear the vivid and affecting (and sometimes troubling) words of people struggling to come to terms with their minds and the people around them.

You can find more information on our website and the written versions of the extracts are available on the Extracts and Readings page. You will also find links to all the podcasts and recorded extracts.

So do please read, listen, and think about those with mental problems, past and present. This is history with a living purpose.

Royal Historical Society Prizes for St Andrews

ashley.jpgThe Royal Historical Society awards a number of prizes every year to scholars of all levels in order to encourage further research. This year, a great number of (former) St Andrews scholars received prizes – congratulations to all the winners!

MLitt student Ashley Atkins was awarded the Rees Davies Prize for his dissertation ‘The Authorship, Function and Ideological Origins of the Claim of Right of 1989’. The thesis was supervised by Professors Colin Kidd and Roger Mason, and the judges described Ashley’s argument as “thoroughly convincing, superbly demonstrated on the basis of a range of primary and secondary sources, and written with remarkable lucidity, elegance and panache.”

The David Berry Prize was awarded to Dr Malcolm Petrie for his essay ‘Fear of a “Slave State”: Individualism, Libertarianism, and the rise of Scottish Nationalism c.1945-c.1979’. The judges commented that “it is a profound work of scholarship with real historical significance on a subject that has received little scholarly attention. […] The author does a wonderful job in providing a clear narrative in a style which both the academic and the lay reader can appreciate.”

Three former St Andrews students also received prizes. Dr Claire Eldridge, who completed both a Master’s degree and a PhD here, won the Gladstone Prize for her new book From Empire to Exile: History and memory within the pied-noir and harki communities, 1962-2012. Dr Andrew Smith, who also attended St Andrews for a Master’s degree, was shortlisted for the same prize with his book Terror and Terroir: The Winegrowers of the Languedoc and modern FranceDr Richard Sowerby, now at Edinburgh, was shortlisted for the Whitfield Prize for Angels in Early Medieval England.

Donald Bullough Fellow – A Look Back

Blog written by Dr Jacqueline Murray

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Photo attrib. Nick Amoscato, CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

When I walked into the Department of Mediaeval History for the first time I was greeted effusively by the fantastic office staff, Dorothy Christie and Audrey Wishart. These two friendly faces quickly became the fonts of all information. ID cards, library and IT access, all done with the blink of an eye. After apprising Tim Greenwood of my arrival, he instantly whisked me off to that all important centre for medievalists: Jannettas. Soon joined by Alex Woolf, we moved from coffee to fabulous soup – cream of aubergine – and with that I was introduced to one of the most important gathering places for medievalists in St Andrews, with flavours of gelato limited only by imagination )though I confess to wondering about haggis gelato]. Over time my daily café became We Are Zest both because of its proximity to 71 South Street and because of their staffing policy to employ and train young workers

The Donald Bullough Fellowship provides a unique opportunity to become immersed in a rich community of medieval historians. Not many of us, especially at North American universities, enjoy the company of so many scholars whose fields of expertise stretch from Scandinavia to Byzantium, Roman Britain to the fifteenth century, and multifarious geographies, temporalities, and topics in-between. This depth and breadth of scholarship is complemented by weekly seminars by visiting scholars, sponsored by St Andrews Institute for Mediaeval Studies, and other research groups.

A couple of seminar presentations stand out to me. One, on spiders in Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, was a fascinating introduction to an unfamiliar research area. Thankfully, the illustrations of spiders did not disturb a real-life arachnophobe. Another speaker reconceptualized the periodization of Germanic Imperial literature in the High Middle Ages, proposing a different series of ebbs and flows in book production. These and all the presentations were a wonderful introduction for post-graduates and also provided exciting new concepts for faculty members.

In addition to presenting my own seminar on a reconceptualization of medieval masculinity through masculine embodiment, I also led a workshop on mystical castration, focusing on the fine distinctions of context and experience. The annual Gender and Transgression in the Middle Ages conference was a lovely way to end the semester. Particularly notable was the excellent keynote address by Elizabeth Robertson and terrific discussions with the speakers and graduate students. Additionally, I had the privilege to be invited to give presentations at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Dundee.

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Photo attrib. Dunnock, CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

The main responsibility of the Bullough Fellow is to write. This is necessarily a solitary activity, so much of one’s time is spent alone, but there are opportunities to enjoy the presence of scholarly colleagues. It is the office, the computer, and the library that must capture the attention of the Bullough Fellow as they engage in diligent research and the pursuit of intellectual tidbits from the past that will form the basis of hours of thoughtful deliberation in the future. I was delighted that the St Andrews Library is rich in both current and retrospective secondary sources, and boasts an exceptionally helpful staff and an efficient Interlibrary Loan office, on those rare occasions it might be necessary. All in all, the research support at St Andrews is exceptional.  I wrote far more than I had anticipated and I will always remain grateful for the scholarly support, nestled (like the building itself) within the heart of an ancient and noble Scottish city.

Living in St Andrews, a city and university of great Scottish antiquity, is rather like being transported into the Middle Ages. Walking the little streets, especially near the cathedral and north port, offers a medieval world view that counteracted the glass and concrete skyscrapers of my daily cityscape. It is not just the fact of the vestiges of medieval houses; rather it is that they can occupy two or three full blocks. Similarly, the ruins tug at the heartstrings: the devastated cathedral, the remnants of the bishop’s palace, and perhaps, worst of all, the destroyed Blackfriars, all bring home the vicissitudes of the Scottish Reformation.

I feel very grateful to have spent five months with the medievalists of St Andrews. I am most grateful to have been afforded this extraordinary opportunity, truly a highlight of my professional life. Thank you so much St Andrews!!

Monthly Round Up: June

book coverStaff Activity

On Friday 2nd June 2017 Professor Guy Rowlands was the expert guest on BBC2’s ‘Inside Versailles’ 

Dr Chandrika Kaul was interviewed as an expert on Brexit for Konflikt, the leading foreign affairs show on Sveriges Radio, the national public service broadcaster of Sweden, on 3rd June

On June 7, ‘The Interwar Dance Craze: a Transnational History’ symposium took place

On 8 June Dr Jacqueline Rose and Professor Colin Kidd co-organised an impact event at All Souls College, Oxford, on ‘Political Advice: from Antiquity to the Present’, which brought together practitioners from both sides of the Whitehall fence as well as academics from a variety of disciplines, including literature, history, classics, psychology, politics and natural sciences

Between June 7 and June 15, Dr Tomasz Kamusella presented the following papers: ‘Europa Środkowa w krzywym zwierciadle map, języków i pojęć’ [Central Europe in the Distorting Mirror of Maps, Languages and Concepts]; ‘Niepolska Polska: rok 1989 i iluzja odzyskanej ciągłości historycznej’ [The Un-Polish Poland: 1989 and the Illusion of
Regained Historical Continuity];  ‘Imagining the Nation: Ontological and Epistemic Objectivity’;  ‘Problemy mizhnarodnoi bezpeky v Tsentralnii Evropi’ [The Problems of International Security in Central Europe], at Iaderna bezpeka Ukrainy v konteksti svitovogo dosvidu [Nuclear Security and Ukraine from the Global Perspective conference]; ‘Tsentral’na Evropa v krivomu dzerkali map, mov i poniat’ [Central Europe in the Distorting Mirror of Maps, Languages and Concepts]

Publications

Chandrika Kaul, ‘Researching Empire and Periodicals’ in “Researching the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press: Case Studies’ in Alexis Easley, Andrew King and John Morton (eds.), Researching the Nineteenth Century Periodical Press: Case Studies, (Routledge, 2018)

Tim Greenwood, The Universal History of Step‘anos Tarōnec‘iOxford Studies in Byzantium (OUP, 2017)

Tim Greenwood, ‘Aristakēs Lastivertc‘i and Armenian urban consciousness’ in M. Lauxtermann and M. Whittow (eds.), Byzantium in the Eleventh Century: Being in Between (Routledge, 2017), pp. 88-105.

Untangling Academic Publishing Launch

Blog written by Dr Aileen Fyfe

untanglingpublishingbooks.jpgAcademics should take back control of the communication of research, according to a briefing paper launched on May 25 by a team led by St Andrews researchers. ‘Untangling Academic Publishing: A history of the relationship between commercial interests, academic prestige and the circulation of research’ examines the recent historical changes in academic publishing, and highlights the disconnect between traditional scholarly ideals of circulation and the current commercially-motivated system. It argues for the importance of considering academic work cultures – particularly the emphasis on publishing in certain prestigious venues – when trying to drive changing practices.

The paper was launched with a talk at the British Academy by Dr Aileen Fyfe, lead author, and reader in Modern History. She outlined the huge change in models of academic publishing that took place around 1950, and asked why similarly large changes had yet to take place despite known problems such as the constraints on library funding, and the arrival of online publishing.  Aileen argued that learned societies and universities – as organisations representing communities of academics, and with an intrinsic commitment to promoting research and scholarship – ought to take the lead in creating cost-efficient, prestige-bearing venues for online communication of research.

untanglingphoto.jpgDavid Sweeney, Executive Chair Designate of Research England, responded to the talk, saying it had raised many key points about the value of academic publishing and its relationship to academic prestige culture. He welcomed the briefing paper as a ‘constructive and thoughtful’ contribution to the debate about the future of academic publishing. He praised it as ‘pleasingly free – almost! – from polemic’, noting that this is all too rare in an area where there are strong feelings on both sides. Some common ground is needed if we are genuinely to work together to seek a future arrangement that offers value for all.

The launch was supported by a number of articles written by Aileen and her team. In ‘Who should speak for academics over the future of publishing?‘ she called upon scholars to take back control over the peer review process, and she advocated for the return of non-commercial academic publishing in ‘Commercial publishing has had its day, and societies must adapt‘. Professor Stephen Curry also encouraged a return to information shared freely, instead of continuing to adhere to the expensive subscription models.

Since the launch, there has been an outpouring of responses to the report from across the globe. The Times Higher Education recommended that “academics should resist signing over the copyright of their research to a “profit-oriented” academic publisher if they can secure a licence to publish themselves” while Ernesto Priego described the report as “documenting the need for academics to enhance the fairer dissemination of their research work and to reclaim and redistribute ownership of academic content from for-profit publishers. ” Shawn Martin unpicked the differences between UK and US academic publishing history, and Veruscript was especially interested in returning the control of publishing to the academic community. Kat Steiner highlighted the problems of accessibility, stating that “academics shouldn’t just sign over their copyright” – even the British Library Science Blog concluded that “it is time to look again at whether learned societies should be taking more of a role in research dissemination and maybe financially supporting it, with particular criticism of those learned societies who contract out production of their publications to commercial publishers and do not pay attention to those publishers’ policies and behaviour.”

 

Monthly Round Up: May

john galtNews

Dr Aileen Fyfe and her team presented the report Untangling Academic Publishing, which has invited responses from all over the world!

Congratulations to Professor Chris Given-Wilson, Emeritus Professor of Medieval History, who has been shortlisted for this year’s prestigious Wolfson History Prize for his book Henry IV

Dr Caleb Karges, who graduated in 2016 after completing his PhD ‘”So Perverse an Ally” Great Britain’s Alliance with Austria in the War of the Spanish Succession’ has won the André Corvisier Prize. Congratulations!

Staff Activity

On 9th May, Professor Given-Wilson discussed his book Henry IV on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking

Dr Emily Michelson presented the paper  “Converting the Jews of Rome: New, Old and Failed Tactics,” at Agents of Conversion, a conference at Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters

Professors Elena Marushiakova and Veselin Popov gave public lecture on topic “Towards Modernity: Roma Awaking in the Interwar Period in Eastern Europe” on May 11 in the SEELECTS – Slavic and Eastern European lecture series, organised by the Research group Slavonic and Eastern European Studies at Faculty of Arts and Philosophy Ghent University

Between 22 and 25 May, Professors Elena Marushiakova and Veselin Popov presented the paper ‘Politics of Multilingualism in Roma Еducation: Between Two World Wars and its Current Projections’at  “The politics of Multilingualism: Possibilities and Challenges” organised at the University of Amsterdam

In May, Dr Emily Michelson presented the paper “Defining hate speech and Jewish resistance in early modern Rome”

heirsthronePublications

The Heirs to the Throne Project, The Royal Annual 2017

Emily Michelson, ‘Conversionary Preaching and the Jews in Early Modern Rome‘, Past&Present, Vol. 235, No. 1, (2017), pp. 68-104.

Colin Kidd and Gerard Carruthers, (eds.), The International Companion to John Galt (Association for Scottish Literary Studies: Glasgow, 2017)

Colin Kidd, ‘Satire, Hypocrisy, and the Ayrshire Renfrewshire Enlightenment’ in, Colin Kidd and Gerard Carruthers, (eds.), The International Companion to John Galt (Association for Scottish Literary Studies: Glasgow, 2017) ,pp. 15-33.

Class Trip ‘The German Hercules’: Martin Luther and Germany

Luther 2017 1.jpgBlog written by Ffion Bailey

Our intrepid historical adventurers set off from St Andrews bright and early on a fine Thursday morning for a few days of Lutheran fun, neither ‘celebrating’ the ‘jubilee’ of the beginning of the Reformation in 1517, nor embarking on a pilgrimage to buy Lutheran relics (or Playmobil figurines), but commencing an exploration of the places that were key to Luther’s Reformation.

Our journey began with a walking tour of the Wartburg, where Luther hid under the protection of Frederick the Wise after the Diet of Worms. Although disappointed by the lack of donkeys at the castle, which welcomed Luther in his day, buses were an adequate substitute for our enthusiastic bunch to reach their destination. Despite feeling rather worse for wear after tasting some German beer(s) the previous night, the brightly reconstructed nineteenth-century rooms, castle views and interesting gift shop souvenirs rallied the group. Johann Sebastian Bach’s Eisenach house offered further entertainment later in the day, where highlights included the hanging pods designed for listening to some of the composer’s greatest hits, and one class members’ debut as a pedal pusher in a musical demonstration.

Our study and research continued after hours, as the Leipzig crew sampled the local nightlife with traditional German beers and food, as well as finding a Scottish bar to remind us of home, thus successfully emulating Luther’s alcohol-laden table talks.

Luther 2017 2.jpgOur adventures brought us next to Wittenberg, a town at the heart of the Lutheran Reformation, although seriously lacking in much hustle or bustle today. Must-see sights included the brand new and well-equipped train station which welcomed us and set high hopes for our day in Luther’s university town. We also visited the famous doors of Castle Church, redesigned in the nineteenth century, where Luther allegedly nailed his 95 Theses, the beautiful Cranach the Elder Wittenberg Altarpiece, and of course Luther’s house. From receiving a stern and disapproving look from a member of staff when we held a Luther’s works story time in the Luther Room, to learning all about the animals the family kept at their home, and reading the many interesting pamphlets from Luther’s day in the printing room – hours of fun were had at the Luther House. This was undoubtedly the best part of everyone’s trip, with two members of the class particularly taking their time to soak up all the facts and learn about each display in minute detail, to everyone else’s delight…

The fun continued in Berlin, where some of us attended a number of church services to truly immerse ourselves in Lutheran theology, and others explored art galleries, set off sightseeing and getting lost around the Brandenburg Gate, and found the best place for breakfast. However, our planned itinerary later that day was cruelly cancelled due to the distraction and disruption of striking staff at all Berlin airports, which left everyone extremely disappointed to miss another museum visit. The solution of course was clear and we found a quaint bar to help drown our travel-dispute-related sorrows. Online comments stated that the barman was Mephistopheles himself, and that the basement bar was a parallel universe, although these claims can be neither confirmed nor denied.

Luther 2017 4.jpgGetting back to the UK became our next class mission. Collectively, we missed seven flights, had a further six cancelled, caught trains from Berlin to Hamburg, Vienna and Amsterdam, and even booked non-refundable hotel rooms mistakenly for seven months in advance in the Dutch capital – if anyone would like to buy these rooms from us please get in touch. With our numbers dwindling and seemingly re-enacting ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’, or perhaps Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’ (minus the murder element and basically unlike the plot at all) the three remaining adventurers still stuck in Berlin desperately tried to return to St Andrews. Punished with flight delays and the Forth Road Bridge closure, we finally returned to The Bubble after twenty-eight hours of travel, where we will continue to study Luther from a safe distance. Dispersed across Europe, all members of the infamous 2017 Luther field trip could now truly understand Luther’s difficulties traveling through Germany.

Our thanks go to Dr Heal for organising the trip, showing us the sights, and most importantly getting us home. Half the class having converted to Catholicism, and all being very reluctant to leave Scotland for the foreseeable future, this was all in all a very successful trip.