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Conference on the History of Psychiatry

30. Okt. 2015

"Psychiatry in Europe after World War II" was the title of an international conference held from October 30 - 31 at the Karl Jaspers Centre in Heidelberg. It was organised by Dr. Maike Rotzoll and Dr. Frank Grüner, who coordinate project MC 11.2 "Melancholy", and Prof. Wolfgang U. Eckart, director of the Institute of History and Ethics of Medicine at Heidelberg University.

The conference explored the situation and development of post-war psychiatry focusing on the impacts of war and mass murder of the sick. It brought together experts in the field of the history of psychiatry from countries that were affected by the Second World War. The scholars took a closer look on the psychiatry politics of the occupying powers and their possible influences including a comparative analysis of the development in other countries; those that were part of the Western and Soviet bloc system as well as those that were not. In doing so, the focus was on parallel developments, continuities and breaks as well as transfer and exchange processes between the examined countries. The key research questions focused on the role of Second World War as a turning point in the development of psychiatry and the character, quality and intensity of the expected exchange processes.

Among others, the conference presented findings of the DFG research project “After patient murder. Structure and daily asylum life of former extermination centres in the four occupation zones 1945–1955” based at the Institute of History and Ethics of Medicine at Heidelberg University.

The conference was jointly organised by Dr. Frank Grüner and Dr. Maike Rotzoll, coordinators of project MC11.2 "Gloom Goes Global: Epistemologies and Ontologies of Melancholy between Europe and Asia" with Prof. Wolfgang U. Eckart (Institute of History and Ethics of Medicine). Research project MC11.2 focuses on the study of melancholy as a historical-anthropological phenomenon and scientific medical concept from a transcultural perspective.

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  • Group of participants

  • Maike Rotzoll

  • Frank Grüner

  • Wolfgang Eckart

  • Audience