Mapping the relations between history and history of science: the case of the history of psychiatry

One of the main questions that undoubtedly ‘tortures’ historians of science is how their research object can fruitfully be an essential part of a discussion with, and about, history per se. In other words, the questions are focusing on the tools that history can offer to the history of science and, at the same time, on the ways through which history of science can contribute to the widening of history’s scope, as well as to the re-shaping of reading and representing the past. Our aim is to try to deal with the above general, methodological questions through the case of the history of psychiatry, in order to clarify the relations and ruptures, as well as the fruitful dialogue, between history and history of science. Actually, the course of mental illness and its lived experience, the position of mentally ill people in past societies, as well as the evolution of psychiatry per se, has been the object of numerous studies during the past decades. Nonetheless, the issue is how the above studies could contribute to more pluralistic historical discourses and, thus, to a more critical representation of the past.