history and systems textbooksgreenspun.com : LUSENET : History & Theory of Psychology : One Thread
I will be teaching History and Systems at the undergraduate level for the first time this fall. What suggestions do people have for textbooks? Which ones do people recommend and why?
-- Jonathan Raskin (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 06, 2001
There are, of course, dozens of history of psychology textbooks on the market. I'm sure you've seen ads for the standard, hardback (expensive) texts put out by commercial textbook publishers. I'll leave it to others to make their recommendations with respect to these books. An alternative way to go, however, is to combine different sources so that students gain experience with a variety of approaches to historical research.
Dan Robinson's _Intellectual History of Psychology_ (3rd ed., Wisconsin, 1995), is very interesting because its emphasis is on the philosophical roots of psychology back to ancient times. Indeed, in the intro. to the 2nd ed., he made the provocative claim that most contemporary psychological positions were articulated by about 1750, our era adding just some data and technology (good for class discussion!). Robinson's book is an excellent antidote for many common misconceptions about the history of psychology. (It also comes in an inexpensive paperback edition, which means it can be combined with other material without breaking your students' bank accounts). My experience is that some undergraduates find this book difficult because it assumes a decent understanding of the history of "western civ."
I often combine in the same course Robinson's book with Ray Fancher's _Pioneers of Psychology_ (3rd ed., Norton, 1996), which emphasizes psychology since 1750 (though it includes some background on enlightenment philosophy). By contrast with Robinsion's history of ideas approach, Fancher takes a biographical approach to the subject. It is very readable, and my students usually enjoy reading it. (Fancher's book also comes in an inexpensive paperback edition).
A third interesting (inexpensive, paperback) book is Roger Smith's _Fontana History of the Human Sciences_ (which has another title in the US: _Norton History..._ ???, 1997). At nearly 900 pp. in length, it can't be read in a single sememster course, but because it covers the histories of other "human sciences" as well, and examines the interconnections between them, it presents an utterly unique perspective on the topic. Some teachers extract a few chapters from it for additional readings.
Finally, I can't talk about teaching history of psychology without mentioning the importance of having students read at least some *primary* source material on their own, otherwise they are completely at the mercy of secondary source intepretations -- some good, some not so good, all limited. It used to be fairly difficult to locate, print, and distribute primary sources. Thus, I set up the "Classics in the History of Psychology" website (http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/) to alleviate these problems. There you'll find electronic versions of the full text of around 150 articles/chapters and 25 books that are important to the study of psychology's past. There are also links to around 200 relevant documents at other sites. You don't have to worry about printing or distributing -- you just have to give your students the URLs to the documents you'd like them to read, and have them download and print them themselves. See especially the page entitled "Primary Source Reading Suggestions for History of Psychology" (http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/suggestions.htm).
Also, as you obviously know, I have very recently set up this very WWW-based History & Theory of Psychology Question & Answer Forum. Students (or anyone else) can send in questions, and other users will attempt to answer them. Some of the leading experts in the field participate.
-- Christopher Green (email@example.com), May 06, 2001.
When I took "History & Systems" in my fourth year of undergraduate, we used Hergenhan's "An Introduction to the History of Psychology" (2nd ed., Belmont, Calif. : Wadsworth Pub. Co., c1992) I thoroughly enjoyed the text. I'd say it's worth a look.
-- Daniel J. Denis (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 07, 2001.
Hi Joh, if this is your first go-around, have a look at Warren Street's notes on his home page which I think you will find through the Central Washington University site, psychology department. His outline with Hergenhahn's An Introduction to the History of Psychology seems a particularly straight forward approach for a quarter system. Best, David
-- david clark (email@example.com), May 07, 2001.
If you're interested in integrating coverage of history with a consideration of issues in contemporary psychology, I valuable approach I feel, then you might consider either Richards, G (2002, 2nd ed) Putting Psychology in its Place, Psychology Press; or my own (sorry!) Jones, D & Elcock, J (2001) History and Theories of Psychology: a critical perspective, Arnold/ Oxford University Press. Both attempt to draw lessons from the history of psychology for understanding the nature of psychology, rather than outlining history per se. If you want a more traditional approcah, I find Leahey's History of Modern Psychology very good
-- Dai Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 15, 2002.