The politics of the psychiatric cadaver : Eduard Hitzig, Carl Westphal, and clinical psychiatry in Germany in the 1880s


Humboldt University Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Germany
Fax. 6869949


Wilhelm Griesinger's model of a university psychiatric clinic which joined together psychiatric and neurological wards had a major impact on the development of late nineteenth century German psychiatry. Yet Griesinger's thoughts on how a modern psychiatric clinic should be organized did not go uncontested among his medical colleagues. Instead, they sparked heated professional debates between academic psychiatrists, alienists, neurologists, and internists. These debates were part of a fundamental redistribution of expert labor within the profession. One of the chief issues at stake in these disputes was the professional jurisdiction over psychiatric cadavers as well as the necroscopic techniques associated with them. Drawing on archival materials from the clinics in Berlin and Halle, this paper will explore how two of Germany's most prominent psychiatrists, Karl Westphal and Eduard Hitzig, sought to secure greater control over psychiatric cadavers and thereby stabilize the authority of their profession within the German academic community in the 1880s.


Plenary 3   (Wilhelm Griesinger Lecture)
Wednesday, 15 September 1999

The Neurosciences and Psychiatry: Crossing the Boundaries

Joint Congress of the European Association for the History of Psychiatry (EAHP), the European Club for the History of Neurology (ECHN), and the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN)

Zurich and Lausanne, Switzerland, 13-18 September 1999