LETTER TO THE EDITOR: PSYCHOHISTORY IS NOT STAGNANT
by Paul H. Elovitz
NEWSLETTER OF THE INTERNATIONAL PSYCHOHISTORICAL ASSOCIATION
[includes WINTER 2024]
Volume 42, No. 4
In the fine Summer issue of this Newsletter, Ken Fuchsman, in citing Arthur Eaton’s “History Telling: The Rise and Fall Of Psychohistory”, could readily leave the casual reader with the impression that psychohistory is a stagnant field. While I’m confident that this is not Ken’s belief or his intention with the piece, I don’t want readers to come away with this erroneous notion. Let me explain why:
- The Psychohistory Forum is constantly coming up with new ideas and methodologies. For example, the forthcoming issue of their journal, Clio’s Psyche, is focused on the relationship of poetry to psychohistory. To the best of my knowledge this is the first special issue on this subject.
- Psychohistorical ideas are disseminated throughout the world: Going online during the COVID-19 pandemic made psychohistory a much more international movement.
The Psychohistory Forum now has a growing number of international two-year electronic members of the Psychohistory Forum.
- I just received an email from an Iranian colleague that 12 of the 14 chapters of my The Making of Psychohistory: Origins, Controversies, and Pioneering Contributors have been translated into Persian, and I have also been asked to write a preface to this version.
- The Psychohistory Forum’s Psychobiography Reading Group is thriving, having online meetings every other month. The November 14, 2023 meeting will be focused on Freud’s
- The Psychohistory Forum has raised money for and will be publishing (assuming there are enough submissions) a special psychobiography issue in 2024. This will be in addition to our usual three issues.
- Clio’s Psyche already has a variety of submissions for its special issues on the Psychohistory of Antisemitism (Jew-Hatred) and the Psychological Explorations of Election 2024.
- Clio’s Psyche has a considerable backlog of material, and it is publishing its 110th The Journal of Psychohistory has been publishing since the early 1970s and therefore has even far more issues.
- Lifetime Achievement Awards have been given out to about nine colleagues and the next issue of Clio’s Psyche will include the Peter Webb Petschauer Festschrift, which has the most submissions ever received. On December 2, 2023, we granted these awards to four distinguished women: Carol Gilligan, Nancy Chodorow, Eva Fogelman, and Nancy McWilliams.
- This newsletter, thanks to the work of Inna Rozentsvit, Ken Fuchsman, and perhaps others, is making substantial contributions to psychohistory.
Ken, who did such wonderful work during his presidency of the IPhA in confronting some of the negativity about psychohistory in the formal historical profession, should be applauded for his willingness to confront our challenges. As a historian, I can say that the American Historical Association (AHA) abandoned psychohistory, which is why I am one of many who did not renew his membership, leading to only four people listing psychohistory as their subfield. In fact, I personally suffered when at a personnel meeting (which I was not allowed to attend in person), this figure was cited by a colleague who hates psychohistory, though he uses what we do in his writings.
Jacques Szaluta confronted the editor of the American Historical Review (AHR) when he declared that he has not and will never publish psychohistory. Jacques should be commended for his many efforts in asking our historical profession to be as open-minded as they were in the 70s and 80s when they published various psychohistorical articles by Peter Loewenberg and the editor of the AHR. I saw no reason to pay membership dues to receive a journal that had abandoned the work that I and many others have been doing. In the era of the Internet, the AHA and AHR are not the gatekeepers of history.
While I’m not sure if Ken independently came across the studies by Eaton and Pawelec elsewhere, I know I regularly have sent links to these out to our Psychohistory Forum Clio’s Psyche Leadership Team, of which Ken is a valued member. While we in psychohistory pay attention to what’s going on in our professions of origin and sometimes regret their actions, we have kept psychohistory from being anything but a stagnant field. Thanks, Ken, for bringing up these issues.
Paul H. Elovitz
Paul H. Elovitz, PhD, is a founding member of the IPhA, founder and director of the Psychohistory Forum, founder and editor of Clio’s Psyche, a contributing editor of The Journal of Psychohistory, the author of over 400 psychohistorical publications, and a proud psychohistorical historian. He may be contacted at .