CFP: special issue of History of Psychiatry (2016)

Special Issue: ‘New and emerging research on the history and geography of Scottish “madness”, asylums and psychiatry’

Guest Editors:

  • Jonathan Andrews (School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle University)
  • Chris Philo (School of Geographical & Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow)

Notwithstanding notable contributions from scholars such as Jonathan Andrews, Mike Barfoot, Alan Beveridge, Gayle Davies, Rab Houston, Gavin Miller, Iain Smith and others, it arguably remains the case that Scottish psychiatry has tended to be the ‘Cinderella’ in the existing historiography of British psychiatry. While the journal History of Psychiatry has carried ‘country reports’ on both the historiography of and substantive histories of psychiatry (expansively understood) in different parts of the world, furnishing a rich vein of ‘regional’ surveys, nothing of this kind has yet occurred in the journal specifically for Scotland.

The purpose of this proposed theme issue will be to rectify this absence, and in so doing to profile new and emerging research in the field of work on Scottish ‘madness’, asylums and psychiatry, particularly through giving a platform to a new generation of researchers (PhD students, postdoctoral researchers or other early career researchers) now starting to contribute new empirical evidence – linked to fresh conceptual and methodological agendas – to our understanding of ideas, practices, institutions and patient experiences in this Scottish history. By bringing together a sample of their work, together with an introductory essay contextualising their contributions, the ambition will be to create a theme issue that is more than the sum of its parts: one allowing – through covering a diversity of time periods, types of ‘lunacy’ reforms and asylum/clinical provisions, species of mental disorder, forms of treatment, experiences ‘from below’ of patients, etc. – to paint a reinvigorated overall picture of the turbulent history and changing geography of the Scottish ‘mad-business’.

The envisaged temporal focus of the theme issue will be early-1700s through to mid-1900s, although the editors would be prepared to consider contributions tackling both earlier and later periods. The ambition is that, while papers will report detailed empirical research on particular situations, events, individuals, institutions, etc., there should be an attempt in every paper to see its empirical focus within the context of a broader narrative of key transitions within the past of Scottish ‘madness’, asylums and psychiatry. Moreover, some comparative sense, alert to the possible istinctiveness of the Scottish case relative to what has occurred elsewhere in the British Isles and beyond, would be welcomed. It will be essential that authors demonstrate an awareness of existing scholarship in the history of Scottish psychiatry, as well as thoroughly explaining the nature and provenance of archival (or other primary) sources employed in the empirical studies reported.

Potential Contributors:

Given the focus on ‘new and emerging research’, the anticipation is that contributors will be PhD students and postdoctoral/early career researchers (whose own PhD awards will likely have been in the last 10 years). Nonetheless, the editors would be prepared to hear from other scholars who might not ‘fit’ these categories, provided that a case is made about the novelty of the contribution being made to scholarship on the history of Scottish psychiatry. No a priori preference will be given to potential contributors from any particular institution or part of the world, and the baseline criteria for inclusion will be the quality of the paper submitted.


A call for papers (the present document) will be sent out by the end of October 2014.

Individuals interested in contributing should sent a proposal to Jonathan Andrews ( and Chris Philo ( by end of November 2014, with suggested title, abstract (max. 200 words) and your contact details. It is possible at this stage that we may deem a potential contribution unsuitable or make suggestions about how it might usefully be recast to be suitable. The go-ahead at this stage can be no guarantee that a paper will be published in the journal (which will depend entirely on how it fares in the usual refereeing process).

Papers should be submitted by end of June 2015 via e-mail as WORD attachments simultaneously to both the journal editor, German E. Berrios (, and the theme issue guest editors, Jonathan Andrews ( and Chris Philo ( Andrews and Philo will coordinate the refereeing of the papers, with oversight from Berrios. In the event that more papers successfully negotiate the refereeing process than can be accommodated in the theme issue itself, the journal would undertake to publish ones not selected for the theme issue in subsequent general issues of the journal. It should be underlined that the decisions to publish or not will be based squarely on the referees’ reports and approved by Berrios.


Papers should be prepared according to the Notes for Contributors provided in the journal, and the absolute maximum length should be 10,000 words (including notes and references).

JA and CPP


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