Internationalizing the History of Psychology

Internationalizing the History of Psychology

Internationalizing the History of Psychology

Internationalizing the History of Psychology


"A welcome corrective to the texts that place North America at the center of the intellectual universe. The volume uses an international perspective to illuminate important topics for all countries, including psychology's relation to liberal democracy, the psychologizing of social relations, and psychology's role in cultural imperialism.... An illuminating guide to the history of psychology." - Benjamin Harris, University of New Hampshire

"The history of psychology is at the forefront of the struggle to re-vision the discipline as a genuine set of global and diverse maps. Instead of a uniform topography where only certain features count, and the only places worth studying are those that are home to the original map-makers, this book offers a new cartography for those willing to invest in different landscapes of psychology. For those who wish to glimpse the future of psychology, there is no better place to begin than with this historical volume." - Henderikus J. Stam, University of Calgary and editor of the journal Theory & Psychology

While the U.S. was dominant in the development of psychology for much of the twentieth century, other countries have experienced significant growth in this area since the end of World War II. The percentage of those in the discipline who live and work in the United States has been growing smaller, and it is now impossible to completely understand the field if developments in psychology outside of the U.S. are ignored. This volume brings together luminaries in the field from around the world, including Ruben Ardila, Geoffrey Blowers, Kurt Danziger, Aydan Gulerce, John D. Hogan and Thomas P. Vaccaro, Johann Louw, Fathali M. Moghaddam and Naomi Lee, Anand Paranjpe, Irmingard Staeuble and Cecilia Taiana. Rather than presenting descriptive accounts of psychology in particular countries, each raises core issues concerning what an international perspective can contribute to the history of psychology and to our understanding of psychology as a whole. For too long, much of what we have taken to be the history of psychology has actually been the history of American psychology. This volume, ideal for student use and for those in the field, illuminates how what we have been missing may change our views of the nature of psychology and its history.


The title of this section is meant to be tongue in cheek, but it does have a serious purpose. Many psychologists acquire their knowledge of the history of psychology from one or more of the glossy American textbooks on the subject. This is especially true of the vast majority of psychologists who do not go on to become specialists in the area. The textbooks not only are read and studied by Americans but also are widely used in other English-speaking countries, such as Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Australia. The works are also very often translated into other languages, such as Spanish, for use in non-English-speaking countries. The ramifications of this topic, therefore, go well beyond the United States.

The reason American textbooks are so widely used is due partly to the sheer size of the population of the United States and partly to the sheer size of its psychology “industry.” Another factor may be that history of psychology is widely taught in the United States, whereas it is not a priority in many other countries. For example, the university in Manchester, England, where I did my undergraduate degree, offered only a brief sketch of the history of psychology, which was provided as part of an introduction to the subject in the first year. The same was true of the university in Dublin, Ireland, where I currently teach, until I arrived. All these factors taken together mean the potential market for history of psychology textbooks in other countries is so small that it is not economically viable to produce their own. American textbooks tend to be used instead.

What kind of a view of the history of psychology can be found in these texts? There is certainly a great deal on the history of psychology in the . . .

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