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Archive for July, 2018

– contributed by Lizette R. Barton.

Recently the CCHP served as host for the 50th anniversary conference of everyone’s favorite international society for the history of the behavioral and social sciences – Cheiron. It was a pleasure to have so many great historians here in Akron and I figured since we’d have them in town we might as well share what we are doing in regards to archival education and instruction here at the Cummings Center. Thankfully the committee accepted my submission and they put me on the program.

We host visiting classes at the Center from the University of Akron and around the country. And we offer a variety of hands-on archival projects and activities – namely document analysis exercises. So even for a room full of historians I started with the basics.

I annotated the scanned letter below in order to draw attention to some of things we want the students to notice and I waxed poetic about just how much we can get from a single document.

 

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Abraham Maslow papers, box M4495, folder 3

Just look at this gem of a letter between Ross and Abe! It’s got all my document analysis favorites – it’s missing last names, it provides societal context (The Goodyear Rubber strikes), it references someone who eventually changed their name (Krechevsky aka David Krech), it mentions the very beginnings of an unnamed psychological society (SPSSI), and it provides information on what both the receiver and writer of the letter were working on at the time (anthropology, fascist attitudes, and social psychology).

Next up – analyzing a photograph.

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Walter and Catharine Cox Miles papers, box V43, folder “Yale”

We discussed challenges associated with analyzing photographs. And we discussed issues specific to this image including how to interpret handwriting and what had been written by the owner of the image (names and dates) and what had been added later by other parties (M1199.16 is the box number from which his photograph came).

After all this talk it was time to let the Cheironians do some analyzing of their own so I reused a project we created for a UA sociology professor and her Social Inequalities class.

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David Grant papers, boxes M1023 and M1024

I distributed redacted, but unannotated copies of each of these two letters to the Cheironians and asked them to work in groups to complete a document analysis sheet. The analysis sheet first asks participants to list adjectives used to describe each candidate followed by questions including, “What do you notice about the similarities and differences in the language used to describe each candidate?”; “What might account for the differences?”‘ and “What if this same language was used in reference letters in 2018?”

I gave the groups about 15 minutes or so to work and and just like when we worked with the UA students on this project we had a great discussion! The historians had all kinds of theories. It was excellent!

For our last group project I distributed copies of Operations of the Government Hospital for the Insane (1857) – the second annual report of the first government asylum in the United States that would become known as St. Elizabeth’s – and another analysis sheet. This was a riff on a project we created for another UA sociology professor’s Sociology of Health and Illness class.

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Look at all these Cheironians doing history! So awesome!

The analysis sheet asked participants to locate illnesses and conditions for which patients were hospitalized. It asked participants to determine if the language describing any of the illnesses had changed over time and how similar illnesses or conditions would be described and treated today. The sheet also asked participants to look for costs associated with the running of the hospital and statistics regarding patients. And finally, “What did you find out from this document about mental health and mental health treatments you had not already known?”

Whew! What a discussion! It was excellent.

I think the coolest part was that so many people asked poignant questions regarding the history of mental health care in American and state hospitals. I took that as an opportunity to point out that while I didn’t know the answers to the majority of their question these are exactly the kinds of questions a project like this should evoke and it’s why we often let visiting instructors lead the discussion. We at the Cummings Center are experts in access but the instructors we work with are the content experts. That’s why we make such a great team!

The best part of this activity was that I was able to share with the Cheironians they could do this one with their own students since we are actively working on upload our entire collection of Cushing Memorial Library Collection of Asylum Reports to our digital repository in full-text as downloadable PDFs. Woohoo!

Cheiron was such a great time and I was so pleased to be able to share the educational work we do at the Cummings Center with such an engaged and supportive group. If you’re interested in learning more about the projects discussed here and/or working together to create an archival project please contact us at ahap@uakon.edu.

 

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contributed by CCHP graduate assistant Arianna Iliff.

Conference season is upon us, and between all the seminars, workshops, forums, keynotes, poster sessions, and opportunities for continuing education credit, psychologists like to have fun too. Today, in honor of National Anti-Boredom month, we explore some gems from the AHAP special interest collection, specifically from a variety of professional conference programs.

Professional conferences offer not only educational presentations for psychologists, but also opportunities to network and socialize with fellow professionals. For some, the big annual conference of their favorite organization might be the only time during the year that they get to meet up with particular friends and colleagues. Even in 1967, conference planners with the Tri-State Group Psychotherapy Society were responsive to this with various social activities.

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Sometimes, this looks like a simple “social hour,” for others, this might be a coffee-and-donuts session or other informal gathering.

American Psychological Society

The organization Association for Psychological Science, formerly the American Psychological Society, is known for its focus on the advancement of quality research and good scientific practice in psychology. However, their ability to create conferences with a breadth of interesting activities is also worth mentioning. In 1992, a two-part film festival with topics relevant to psychology was part of the conference activities.

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In 2003, APS took advantage of Atlanta’s great zoo, offering the opportunity to “hang out with your friends (human and animal alike),” which I imagine is a nod to the animal behaviorists among them.

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The year 2004 offered a chance to enjoy comedy at Chicago’s Second City.

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The Association for Behavior Analysis

The psychologists of the ABA, or currently the ABAI, are evidently a lighthearted bunch. Two conference programs show evidence of fantastic entertainment. The 1979 conference dedicated several program events to fun activities: the “behavioral boogie,” a mini-marathon, a performing arts talent show with a focus on behavioral science, and even a banquet with two key figures in behaviorism! I can only imagine the kind of academic fandom that participants felt. What I wouldn’t do to meet some of my professional idols!

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Their 1990 conference in Nashville included a grand dance and banquet featuring a Grammy-winning country-western artist. Like APS, they chose to take advantage of the spirit of their conference location. Additionally, when pulling this program from our collection, you can find a ticket to Jacksonville State University’s after-dinner hospitality suite—very fancy.

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Clinical Hypnotism

When I found these materials, I showed our Digital Projects Manager, Dr. Jodi Kearns. When I expressed my amusement at the fun activities available to clinical hypnotists, she quipped, “they know how to relax.” Clearly! The 1975 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis dedicates a full page of their program to enjoying the sights during their Seattle-based proceedings. With a luncheon at a waterfall, a Seattle harbor cruise, a dinner theater event that includes “kosher turkey,” a champagne brunch at the Space Needle, and a glamorous party that includes dancing until “____”. Anyone knows that when the invitation puts a blank space where the end time should be, it’s going to be a good time. The art on the front page of the program accurately describes these events: “Great! Useful! Worthwhile! Timely!”

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As the pièce de résistance, let’s end our exploration of conference fun here: at the Seminars for Hypnosis cruise. With a full itinerary of academic and fun activities both in and out of port, participants had access to the whole of the ship. I’ve heard it whispered that some people treat conferences like their vacations, but it seems that Seminars for Hypnosis didn’t even try to hide it.

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 So for those of you headed to conferences this summer and fall, I wish you easy travel, good knowledge, and great fun!

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