On Friday, April 27, 2018, a new Research Colloquium takes place at the LFE.
Dr. Christine von Oertzen (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin) give a talk entitled:
“At the Cradle of Developmental Psychology: Milicent Shinn and her Network of At-Home Baby Observation, 1890-1910”
Childhood development studies during the 19th century gained momentum as a volunteer movement much like some citizen science initiatives today. It was not only naturalists, but also physiologists and psychologists who came to encourage “amateurs” to join their efforts to amass data. Triggered by Charles Darwin’s 1876 essay on the diary he had kept observing his first son’s early development, scholarly enthusiasm for the physiological and mental development of infants and toddlers inspired men and women all over Europe. However, it was in the United States, where college-educated women assumed the challenge of not just collecting data on their own infants, but also classifying and comparing them to produce scientific knowledge of babies’ and toddlers’ minds. Albeit not a mother herself, Milicent Shinn from Niles near San Francisco emerged as a key figure in this at-home science of babies, stepping forward to establish a female graduates’ network of observation that spanned the North American continent.
As a historian of science, I am interested in exactly how Shinn collected the data, how she came to her conclusions, and how her work can be positioned in a long-term perspective within the discipline. Thus my interest in sharing some of my findings is to discuss how nineteenth-century observations resonate with current research in the cognitive sciences/developmental psychology on the human mind.
When? Friday, April 27, 2018 | 11:15 am – 12:45 pm
Where? Leipzig University, Marschnerstraße 31, House 3, Room 301 („Turmzimmer”), D-04109 Leipzig