Stanford University
Forming Selves
Forming Selves: The Creation of Child Psychiatry from Red Vienna to the Third Reich and Abroad What makes us who we are? On the eve of Nazi occupation, ideas of the self abounded in Vienna, long a center of psychoanalysis. Amid incredible political and social upheaval, psychologists and psychiatrists grappling with questions of human nature turned increasing attention to child development. They had a variety of approaches, backgrounds, and ideologies–from socialism to Nazism–and often intersected at the city’s schools, government programs, and university departments. With the advent of the Third Reich, many who were Jewish and politically opposed to the regime fled Vienna and established their own practices in England, the United States, and beyond, leading the field of child development. Meanwhile, a cohort of psychologists and psychiatrists remained in Vienna, a number of whom took leading roles in the Nazi euthanasia program, overseeing the murders of hundreds of disabled children. This project traces linkages among the forerunners of child psychiatry from Vienna in the 1930s through the 1940s, outlining connections among the diaspora and those who stayed during the Third Reich. It will offer an international history of a discipline that is usually examined within national networks or within discrete schools of thought, following social as well as intellectual ties in the field. It will also consider how experiences under Nazism and the Second World War may have shaped the trajectory of child psychiatry in different places, with alternate priorities such as war orphans, clinical research, and Nazi eugenics resulting in divergent approaches.
Former Research Assistant:
Michelle Kahn

Spatial History