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April 10th, 2014 at 8pm

Shayna Fox Lee

Editing A History of Psychology in Autobiography: Disciplinary Commemoration as Boundary Work

The first chapter of my thesis examines the practices and relational dynamics of the various editorial committees of the A History of Psychology in Autobiography volumes as a lens through which to view the shifting disciplinary contexts in which they were embedded. The production of the series, and its editorial vision, can provide insight into how psychologists have undertaken, and related to, the work of constructing and reformulating the parameters of their ever-changing discipline. Consideration of how the editorial committees conceptualized the series' purpose, and how that conceptualization changed over the generations of editors, can allow for a historically oriented interpretation of how psychology has come to inculcate values, and establish and commemorate its own identity as a credible academic and applied science. By guiding who would get to write a personalized history of their own careers, these psychologist-historians engaged in boundary work: the project of defining what theories and methods would be espoused or devalued, privileged or marginalized.

Shayna Fox Lee is a 2nd year Master’s student with the History and Theory of Psychology program at York University. Her research interests include a theoretical focus on boundary-work and reflexivity, and a methodological focus on the integration of traditional archival approaches with the digital humanities. Her current work looks at a series of professional autobiographies as a form of commemorative historiography in 20th century Western Psychology.

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