All rooms are equipped with an overhead projector
Rooms C, D, E, F, G and H (H only on Saturday): slide projector (framed slides, carrousel. There are extra carrousels available to set up your presentation in advance)
Rooms C, D, M, N, O, U and Committee Room 2: beamer to connect your laptop. You have to bring you own laptop. (If you want to use your Apple notebook, please contact us, as it may be incompatible.)
Rooms C, T and U: VCR
|Psychiatry and the Regulation of Homosexuality in Britain, 1916-1925: From Roger Casement to the Departmental Committee on Sexual Offences against Young People|
|In 1895, when Oscar Wilde was prosecuted for ‘gross indecency’, no experts suggested at his trial that he should receive treatment for his condition. Yet by the 1950s the behaviour that had led to his imprisonment was being explained as a treatable aberration, psychiatric understandings of sexual deviance almost as ubiquitous in Britain as in the United States. Amongst historians of homosexuality, it is accepted that the 1930s was a crucial decade in which the ‘new psychology’ became prominent in accounts of homosexual behaviour. In the wake of the sensational, 1931 trial of the cross-dressing Augustine Hull on charges of procurement in order to commit ‘gross indecency’, various institutions—from the Tavistock Clinic to the British Sexological Society—called for the psychological treatment of the homosexual offender, the Home Office commissioned reports on the psychological treatment of crime, and progressive magistrates requested psychological reports on the behaviour of the offenders they encountered and insisted that such offenders be sent for treatment rather than imprisonment.
This paper will explore the origins of these phenomena, locating them during and immediately after the First World War. It will reconstruct the ways in which the ‘new psychology’ came to influence the understanding of the ætiology of homosexuality and the gradual, and hesitant, acceptance of such ideas in legal and criminological circles. It will cover the period 1916 to 1925, a decade in which we can trace some of the very earliest manifestations of loosely psychoanalytic thinking with respect to homosexuality taking root in British society. The starting point for the study will be Roger Casement’s trial for treason in 1916, a trial at which medical men debated his homosexuality, some tentatively attributing his condition to various psychological defects. The end point for the study will be the 1925 ‘Report of the Departmental Committee on Sexual Offences against Young Persons’, a report based on the testimony of a individuals and agencies influenced in part by the ‘new psychology’. Between these years the paper will focus on a number of landmarks in the psychiatrization of the homosexual: the impact of the work of psychoanalysts (especially Ernest Jones, whose Treatment of the Neuroses was published in 1920 and Social Aspects of Psychoanalysis in 1924); the role of Birmingham prison doctor Maurice Hamblin Smith in introducing the ‘new psychology’ to fellow criminologists; the logic of the first published case study of a male homosexual treated by psychoanalytic means aired at length in a British medical journal (1921); finally, the case of Frank Amos Zealley—tried in 1924 for ‘gross indecency’—who had been undergoing psychoanalysis and against whom charges were dismissed if he remained amenable to further psychoanalytic treatment. By investigating these phenomena, this paper will map with precision the origins of the psychiatrization of the homosexual in Britain and will explore the effects of that process, both in the arena of policy-making and on the processes of social understanding and homosexual self-fashioning.