In what ways did reading character off the skull in phrenology contribute to the birth of neuropsychology? How was the spectacle of the trance in mesmerism linked to the emergence of electricity, magnetism and psychoanalysis? What were the connections between the spiritualist seance, the telegraph and the telephone?

These are some of the questions the reading group on Pseudo/Sciences of the Long Nineteenth Century will address. We will explore the notions of ‘science’ and ‘pseudoscience’, the slippery borders between the two, and the ways in which what was deemed central or marginal to scientific practice, and who was defined as insider or outsider, was contingent on the cultural climate of the times. Why were people in the nineteenth century so fascinated with hidden forces and vibrations? In what ways were the spiritual and the psychical intertwined with the physical and with developing technologies of the age?

Previous Reading Groups

Monday 20 January 2014

Johann Zollner, Henry Slade and the fourth dimension

Andrew Shail, Senior Lecturer in Film and English Literature, Newcastle University, will introduce the following readings that consider the idea of a fourth dimension and the role of nineteenth-century spiritism in the making of German experimental psychology.

J.F. Zollner, ‘On Space of Four Dimensions,’, Quarterly Journal of Science April 1878

Staubermann 2001 article on Zollner

For more information about the Reading Group on Pseudo/Sciences of the Long Nineteenth Century, please contact Pat Beesley, Newcastle University, at


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s