Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology (Hilary Term, Week 1)

Who? This term’s first lecture will be given by Dr Michael Finn, who will be speaking about ‘Self-help and psychology’.

What? ‘Self-help literature proliferates today, on bookshelves and online, providing guidance and knowledge for people looking to improve their lives, careers and mental health. The origins of the genre have been traced as far back as antiquity, but it was in the 19th century, in the works of authors such as George Combe and Samuel Smiles, that the publication of self-help works gained mass popular appeal. This growth in self-help literature, amongst other things, accompanied the development of scientific theories of mind, and the rise of psychology as a distinct discipline in the Western World.

In this talk, I wish to look at the historical relationship between psychology and self-help from the 19th century onwards, asking to what extent theories of mind have underpinned self-help advice, how these have changed over time, and what lessons historians can take from this story.’

Where? History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

When? Monday 20th January 2020, 16:00.

This lecture has been organised by the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology as part of the Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology series.

All welcome to attend!