Raj Persaud in conversation - the podcasts

The untold story of how hereditary data in mental hospitals gave rise to the science of human heredity


In the early 1800s, a century before there was any concept of the gene, physicians in insane asylums began to record causes of madness in their admission books. Almost from the beginning, they pointed to heredity as the most important of these causes. As doctors and state officials steadily lost faith in the capacity of asylum care to stem the terrible increase of insanity, they began emphasizing the need to curb the reproduction of the insane. They became obsessed with identifying weak or tainted families and anticipating the outcomes of their marriages. Genetics in the Madhouse is the untold story of how the collection and sorting of hereditary data in mental hospitals, schools for "feebleminded" children, and prisons gave rise to a new science of human heredity.

In this compelling book, Theodore Porter draws on untapped archival evidence from across Europe and North America to bring to light the hidden history behind modern genetics. He looks at the institutional use of pedigree charts, censuses of mental illness, medical-social surveys, and other data techniques--innovative quantitative practices that were worked out in the madhouse long before the manipulation of DNA became possible in the lab. Porter argues that asylum doctors developed many of the ideologies and methods of what would come to be known as eugenics, and deepens our appreciation of the moral issues at stake in data work conducted on the border of subjectivity and science.

A bold rethinking of asylum work, Genetics in the Madhouse shows how heredity was a human science as well as a medical and biological one.

Theodore M. Porter is Distinguished Professor of History and holds the Peter Reill Chair at the University of California, Los Angeles. His books include Karl Pearson: The Scientific Life in a Statistical AgeTrust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life, and The Rise of Statistical Thinking, 1820–1900 (all Princeton). He lives in Altadena, California.


"I suspect this bold, dauntingly well-documented book will prove difficult to dismiss."--David Dobbs, Nature
"By following the technologies of paperwork and data collection, Porter has unearthed a radically new history of human genetics, one that evokes not the double helix but the humble filing cabinet."--Emily M. Kern, Science
"Fascinating but scary. Genetics in the Madhouse . . . uses date collection in psychiatric hospitals to show the stages when research straddles subjectivity and science."--Liz Else and Simon Ings, New Scientist
"Porter takes a fascinating look at early attempts to tame unruly minds with big data and statistics."--Bruce Bower, Science News
"[An] absorbing account of the role played by mental illness studies in gaining an early understanding of human heredity."--Robin McKie, The Observer
"Genetics in the Madhouse provides a fascinating examination of investigations of human heredity, conducted long before DNA could be studied in laboratories."--Glenn Altschuler, Philadelphia Inquirer


"We’ve all been taught how genetics got its start in Mendel’s pea patch. But the real story is more complicated, and a lot more interesting. In Genetics in the Madhouse, Theodore Porter chronicles some of the early history of heredity—not in gardens, but in asylums. The book is a fascinating exploration of the long-running conviction that madness, criminality, and other mental traits can be passed down from parent to child."—Carl Zimmer, author of She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity
"Porter’s masterful book casts the fresh light of sanity over a previously uncharted sea of data on madness. He brings analytical order to an intriguingly chaotic subject, illuminating the challenges of ‘big data’ from a past era when the plasticity of categorization resulted in data being deduced from conclusions, a problem with uncanny similarities to those we face today."—Stephen M. Stigler, author of The Seven Pillars of Statistical Wisdom
"Porter brilliantly reveals the debt that the science of human heredity owes to the data gathering, numerical tables, and statistical interpretations that emerged from attempts to account for mental and physical disease among patients in asylums, hospitals, and prisons. Richly informed by archival sources, his book is masterfully argued, lucidly written, and boldly original. A landmark in the history of medicine, science, and mental illness."—Daniel J. Kevles, author of In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity
"Porter serves as a captivating and intriguing guide into the largely uncredited history of statistical and genetic data derived from the pre-Mendelian asylums, prisons, and schools. Genetics in the Madhouse succeeds in illuminating our present concepts of heredity and eugenics by leaning into the complexities of human science."—Aaron T. Beck, University of Pennsylvania
"Genetics in the Madhouse is a fascinating examination of the role played by big data in the history of genetics and its subsequent exploitation in the disgraced science of eugenics. Porter weaves together complex elements of historical influences, personalities, and seismic events almost like a novel, but the difference is that his story cannot have a neat and tidy resolution. Beautifully written and admirably researched, this is an enthralling book."—Catharine Arnold, author of Bedlam: London and Its Mad
"Important and original. Drawing on a wealth of archival research in many languages across many different national settings, Porter reexamines the role of psychiatry in the study of human heredity. Genetics in the Madhouse is an enormously impressive book."—Andrew Scull, author of Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity, from the Bible to Freud, from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine
"A very significant contribution to the history of the human sciences, statistics, and eugenics. Porter rewards readers not only with astonishing insights into nineteenth-century data collection on the mentally ill and feebleminded, but also with the pleasure of reading a good, intriguing story."—Staffan Müller-Wille, coauthor of A Cultural History of Heredity

Theodore Porter


Distinguished Professor of History & Vice Chair for Academic Personnel

I teach various topics pertaining more or less directly to history of science.

My first book, The Rise of Statistical Thinking (1986), was about the development of statistical ideas and methods in fields ranging from the social science of statistics to biological evolution and thermodynamics. This interest in the relations of the natural and the social is also central to my Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life (1995). There I emphasize that effective quantification is never a matter simply of discovery, but always also of administration, hence of social and technological power. Quantitative objectivity is in a way a form of standardization, the use of rules to confine and tame the personal and subjective. Science did not always idealize this mechanical form of objectivity, but has come to do so (at least in its rhetoric) as an adaptation to modern political and administrative cultures—which it at the same time has helped to shape. In both of these books I invert the usual account of the relations between natural and social science, by showing how some of the crucial assumptions and methods of science arose within contexts of application. The history of quantification is the history of a social technology, reflecting a sensibility that is as closely linked to fields like accounting and cost-benefit analysis and to social science as to physics. The ethic of systematic calculation as a basis for social decisions—and often, as in inferential statistics, also for scientific demonstration—responds to a political culture marked by distrust of elites and even, in a way, of experts. 

In 2003, Dorothy Ross and I completed a book on the history of the social sciences, volume VII of The Cambridge History of Science volume on The Modern Social Sciences (2003). This is our pioneering effort to provide a synthetic history of social science since the eighteenth century, in relation to each other and to the sciences of nature. The volume tells a story not of detached knowledge, but of tools, theories, and images that have helped to create the modern world. 

My most recent book is Karl Pearson: The Scientific Life in a Statistical Age (2004). This is a biographical study of a scientist who was ever in revolt against the confines of this or any professional identity and who lived his life, with conscious reference to Goethe, as a bildungsroman. At the age of 23, after his German Wanderjahre, he published a fictionalized autobiography under the title The New Werther, and followed it with a passion play for the nineteenth-century. For a decade after that he threw himself into writings on socialism, on the cultural history of the German Reformation (he loathed Martin Luther), and on sexuality, friendship, and the status of women. I’ve been fascinated by the continuities between his works and experiences in these years and the statistical labors that absorbed him after about 1892. I am interested, too, in his deep relationship to nature as an object of passionate attraction, which yet, when approached in the true spirit of science, must always be remote. Pearson’s life displays a deep and revealing ambivalence between scientific method as a way of controlling the merely personal and science as an expression of individuality that is inseparable from wisdom and maturity. Finally, I think I have learned some new things about the relation of statistics to all of this, as well as to ether theories in physics and graphical methods in engineering instruction. 

I have advised or am advising graduate students working on a variety of historical topics: science and rational leisure; social science and colonial administration; nature and imperialism in the North Atlantic; Chinese mathematics; the British census; scientific exchanges in the Eastern Mediterranean; psychical research; museums and ethnology in imperial Germany.. 

My current book project, which I intend to finish during my stay at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2013-14, is about this history of human heredity, and more particularly how insane asylums and related institutions became important sites for recordkeeping on conditions regarded as hereditary, and for research on their presumed inheritance. These institutions developed the ideologies and some of the research methods of eugenics decades before Francis Galton announced this biological human science. From the beginning it was a science of data and statistics. The history of data practices and analysis is as central to the history of genetics and genomics as is the more familiar story of Mendelian breeding, fruit flies, and the decoding of DNA. This project highlights the key role of social and medical institutions, and of the expansion of state activities, in the rise of genetics, and conversely of hereditary ideas and practices in the shaping of welfare states. 

On the back burner just now, but likely to develop before too long into a book, is a project on the contradictions of quantification at the intersection of science and government. An ethic of the simple fact, typically in numerical form, grew up over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, less as an export of science than as a political and bureaucratic role for which certain tools of science have been shaped. The ideal has been to reconcile central control with local autonomy, but the required faith in what I call “thin description” is often undermined by creative deception. Ambitions for “evidence-based” practices under the neo-liberal governance have formed an unprecedented vulnerability to Funny Numbers (my working title).

Direct download: raj_persaud_talks_to_theodore_porter_about_his_new_book.mp3
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You can also listen to this interview on a free app on iTunes and google play store entitled 'Raj Persaud in conversation', which includes a lot of free information on the latest research findings in mental health, plus interviews with top experts from around the world. Download it free from these links



David Humbert discusses with psychiatrist Dr Raj Persaud his new book on Violence in the Films of Alfred Hitchcock and uses a depth psychological analysis to show that there are often hidden layers of meaning behind the use of violence in film. This analysis also helps us understand ourselves better and why we turn to anger and violence ourselves.



Violence in the Films of Alfred Hitchcock
A Study in Mimesis
Parting ways with the Freudian and Lacanian readings that have dominated recent scholarly understanding of Hitchcock, David Humbert examines the roots of violence in the director’s narratives and finds them not in human sexuality but in mimesis. Through an analysis of seven key films, he argues that Girard’s model of mimetic desire—desire oriented by imitation of and competition with others—best explains a variety of well-recognized themes, including the MacGuffin, the double, the innocent victim, the wrong man, the transfer of guilt, and the scapegoat. This study will appeal not only to Hitchcock fans and film scholars but also to those interested in Freud and Girard and their competing theories of desire.
Subjects: Religion | Psychology | Film Studies
Publication Date: May 1st, 2017
210 pages| 6 in x 9 in
“This book is a brilliant response to a famous volume edited by Slavoj Žižek in which Jacques Lacan takes the place of René Girard. The author convinces us that one of the best guides to understanding Girard is Hitchcock’s filmography. The anguish of the wrongly accused, the irresistible escalation of violence, and the independence of desire from its object are all ingredients of the Hitchcockian suspense, and we follow the author’s analyses with the same pleasure as we watched the movies.”
Jean-Pierre Dupuy, author of The Mark of the Sacred

“Humbert’s commentary is an excellent introduction both to Girard’s thought and to Hitchcock. And a welcome addition to film studies. That postmodern garden has long since gone to weed, overrun by an ‘emancipatory’ obsession with sex that would draw us down the rabbit hole into the lost world of gender theory, where everything is fungible and whose motto must be, ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.’ Humbert’s book begins to clear out the post-Freudian staleness with a breath of fresh critical air. This book is very well-written and easily accessible. Its interest is not confined to the specialist and academic, as postmodern theory is by definition, but generously welcomes the lay reader and the student as well. Highly recommended.”
Stephen GardnerAssociate Professor of Philosophy, The University of Tulsa
Direct download: raj_persaud_talks_to_david_humbert.mp3
Category:(2) General Podcasts -- posted at: 7:59am UTC

You can also listen to this interview on a free app on iTunes and google play store entitled 'Raj Persaud in conversation', which includes a lot of free information on the latest research findings in mental health, plus interviews with top experts from around the world. Download it free from these links




The Voices Within




The Voices Within is a book about the voices in our heads. It is published by Basic Books in the US and by Profile Books/Wellcome Collection in the UK.

The Voices Within was picked as a top neuroscience book of 2016 by Forbes and a science book of the year by the Observer and ABC. It was chosen as a top spring science book by Nature and selected as a summer reading pick in the Guardian and Times Higher Education. It was the subject of an essay-review in the New Yorker.

I spoke about the themes of the book on the Diane Rehm Show, and discussed them in this Q&A with The Atlantic. These pieces for TIME Ideas and the LA Times explore the benefits of talking to yourself. I spoke about these ideas on BBC Radio 4's Start the Week; you can listen again here. You can also see me speaking about the themes of the book in this talk for 5x15 and in this Royal Institution lecture. The book featured in a Guardian Books podcast. An abridged extract from the book was published by BBC Future.

Translation agreements have been concluded for German, Spanish, French, Turkish, Italian, Korean and simplified Chinese.

Order from the Guardian BookshopHive.co.uk or Amazon.com.






'A lucid, authoritative survey of our current knowledge… The author’s investigations, at once scientific and humane, represent the discipline of psychology at its rare best.' Raymond Tallis, Wall Street Journal

'An intriguing and deeply humane book… particularly good when addressing the role of inner voices in creativity… In ‘The Voices Within’, [Fernyhough] has again rendered complicated mental experience without losing its human texture.' Casey Schwartz, New York Times Book Review

'Fernyhough’s book … provides enough science to ground the argument, but the real achievement here is the writing. The author is a psychologist and a novelist, and his prose has a narrative feel that separates it from most books on the psych shelf. The subject is one of the tough brain conundrums that’s far from settled; we’ll be trying to figure out the role of the inner voice long from now, but Fernyhough’s book is a readable take on what we know and where the questions may go next.' David DiSalvo, Forbes Brain Books of 2016.

'From explaining the hurdles of studying our internal dialogue to setting the record straight on schizophrenia and “hearing voices,” this book is a must-read for those seeking to understand the voices in their heads.' DiscoverMagazine

'Fernyhough has built up an interesting picture of inner speech and its functions… making a case for the role of inner speech in memory, sports performance, religious revelation, psychotherapy, and literary fiction.' The New Yorker

'This sophisticated and appealing work scrutinizes a tangled topic with aplomb and will leave readers permanently observing their own thought processes differently. Perfect for readers of Oliver Sacks and Malcolm Gladwell.' Booklist (starred review)

'After reading the book, I couldn’t help noticing my thoughts more closely—asking myself, Is this dialogic thinking? or What perspective was that voice taking?At one point, there’s mention of “the idea that, when we internalise dialogue, we internalise other people. Our brains, like our minds, are full of voices.” For me, at least for now, one of those voices is Fernyhough’s.' New York Magazine, The Science of Us


'Though the book is not about creativity per se, one of its highlights is its fascinating insight into the process of artistic creation, particularly writing. In another high point, the narrative gently prods readers into a wider and more empathetic view of pathologies such as aural hallucinations. Fernyhough's book is a valuable addition to the literature surrounding the unending human quest to understand the location—and the creation—of the self.' Publishers Weekly

'Fernyhough examines the phenomenon of "inner voices," which manifests in two broad components: the more or less ordinary business of talking to oneself and the more fraught existence of voices inside one's head... with much to say about how the brain works at the interface of thought and language.' Kirkus Reviews

'This expansive review offers a stimulating blend of theory, research, and insight on inner speech and voice hearing that will complement more prevalent behaviorist and biomedical perspectives.' Library Journal

'A book that will challenge some of our preconceptions about how we think and how "the voices within" may be plentiful, or infrequent, helpful or problematic and variable from person-to-person. This is a valuable book for those who want to understand one important aspect of our human mind.' New York Journal of Books

'Intriguingly challenges conventional assumptions about the self as unified and coherent, while also posing the question: how might that which we deem pathological be shaped by the mores of our times?' Christine Gross-Loh, Guardian summer reading picks.

'As enlightening as it is surprising… By entwining inner voice theories, research, and data into easy-to-digest literary, pop culture, and personal anecdotes, Fernyhough has (quite intentionally) crafted a book that reads like a novel but never strays from its carefully examined scientific foundation.' Kirkus Reviews author interview

'Charles Fernyhough isn't just a scholar and a scientist, he is also a novelist, and this book reflects his unusual combination of gifts. It is an engaging and humane exploration of the experience of voices in our heads, delving into the origin of these voices in children, their contribution to problem-solving, creativity, and religious experience, their role in madness, and much else. This is a beautifully written and fascinating work.' Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology at Yale University, and author of Just Babies

'Perceptive, illuminating and humane.' Gavin Francis, author of Adventures in Human Being

'Fascinating and elegantly humane... [Fernyhough’s] book is refreshingly interdisciplinary in its insistence that philosophy and literature are going to be just as important investigative tools for this subject as clinical psychology and brain scan.' Steven Poole, Guardian

Fascinating… the book traces in detail (the footnotes are just as interesting as the text) the various attempts to pin down inner voices… an expert blend of the scientific and artistic.' Erica Wagner, New Statesman

'Persuasively unravels connections between the voices we hear inside and the words we say out loud... an elegantly written survey.' Nick Rennison, Sunday Times

'If Fernyhough is to be believed, there is a sense in which we are visited all the time by good or bad angels and it is the ability to question and discriminate that distinguishes creative thoughtfulness from madness... His book, The Voices Within, is the intriguing result of his research.' Salley Vickers, Observer

'Fascinating… thought provoking… intriguing… clear presentation of the slippery nature of both our inner and spoken worlds.' Suzanne O’Sullivan, Lancet

'Stimulating and fruitful... A fascinating tour d'horizon.' Mike Jay, Literary Review

'Profound and eloquent... an intriguing array of fresh findings and perspectives.' Douwe Draaisma, Nature

'Compelling… reassures those of us who worry that we have a chorus of voices jabbering in our heads.' Mail on Sunday

'This is a truly exceptional book for its scope, richness of detail and originality… a book that informs as well as provoking thought and reflection… It is quite simply a remarkable book.' British Journal of Psychiatry

'With its extensive illustrations of the creative effects of inner speech and voice-hearing, sane and mad, [The Voices Within] is a thought-provoking and engaging read.' Times Higher Education

'Fernyhough presents his work as a wide-ranging investigation, spanning psychological research – including the brain-plundering marvels of fMRI – as well as philosophy, spirituality, literature and the arts. If there’s a drawback to The Voices Within, it’s that it may make you spend even more of your waking hours listening to yourself think.' The Saturday Paper(Australia)

'Utterly fascinating... the main joy of Fernyhough’s book comes from watching him chase down the faintest conceptual ripples extending outward from the ideas he discusses.' The National (UAE)

'A surprisingly humanitarian approach to a necessarily human topic… a vital, illuminating, engaging exploration of the things that make us who we are.' Ilkley Gazette

'Most of us talk to ourselves. In fact, many people describe their thoughts as being like a conversation between the different voices of their consciousness. In his eye-opening new book, Charles Fernyhough explores this inner speech, revealing what purpose it serves, what it says about us, and what it can tell us about those who experience hallucinated voices.' BBC Science Focus



I was born in Chelmsford, Essex, in 1968, and educated at Brentwood School, Essex, and Queens’ College, Cambridge, where I read Natural Sciences.

I returned to Cambridge to study for a PhD in Developmental Psychology, which I was awarded in 1995.

My writing has been published in several anthologies, including New Writing 11 and New Writing 14, and my books have been translated into eleven languages.




Photo credit: Ben Gilbert/Wellcome Images


My awards include a Time to Write Award from the Northern Writers’ Awards and an Arts Council of England Grant for the Arts

I have taught creative writing, with a particular focus on psychological processes in reading and writing, in a variety of contexts around the UK, including a short course on Creative Writing and Psychology at Newcastle University. Between 2004 and 2006 I worked as a mentor on the British Council’s Crossing Borders project for African writers.

I have appeared at festivals in Barcelona, Sydney, Durham, Newcastle, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Hay-on-Wye, LSE, Wigtown and Bath.

I work as a part-time Professor of Psychology at Durham University, with interests in child development, memory and hallucinations.

  photo credit, it’s Ben Gilbert/Wellcome Images

Dr Charlotte Hanlon is a British psychiatrist who lives and works in Ethiopia, linked to Addis Ababa University and King’s College London. Dr Hanlon provides clinical supervision to psychiatric trainees working in general adult psychiatry in Ethiopia. She co-ordinates a PhD programme in mental health epidemiology at Addis Ababa University, from which 6 Ethiopian students have graduated and a further 20 students are enrolled. Her research interests focus on public mental health, women’s mental health, cultural validity of measurement, intervention studies and health service and system implementation research. She is research director for the Programme for Improving Mental health carE  (PRIME:www.prime.uct.ac.za) which is developing evidence to support scale-up of integrated mental health care, and country lead for the ASSET project (health system strengthening in sub-Saharan Africa: https://www.healthasset.org) and PST project (adaptation and piloting parent skills training for child developmental disorders).

Dr Hanlon works to support efforts of the Federal Ministry of Health to scale up mental health care in Ethiopia and is a member of the Ministry’s technical working group on mental health. Dr Hanlon and Professor Vikram Patel have just co-edited a revised version of Where there is no Psychiatrist (https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/where-there-is-no-psychiatrist/47578A845CAFC7E23A181749A4190B54) to support the delivery of integrated mental health care in primary care settings.

Dr. Hanlon received her PhD in psychiatric epidemiology from the University of London, a master's in epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and her medical degree from the University of Oxford. 

You can also listen to this interview on a free app on iTunes and google play store entitled 'Raj Persaud in conversation', which includes a lot of free information on the latest research findings in mental health, plus interviews with top experts from around the world. Download it free from these links





Delusions, in their many different manifestations, are central to the concepts of madness and psychosis. Yet what causes them remains in many ways a complete mystery. McKenna's Delusions is the first comprehensive attempt to tackle one of the most arresting phenomena in psychiatry: an in-depth and critical review of what delusions are, the forms they can take and how they might be explained from both psychological and biological perspectives. Delusions covers key topics such as the clinical features of delusions, the disorders they are seen in, other oddities that resemble them in both health and disease and the different approaches that have been taken to try and understand them. It is an essential book for psychiatrists and psychologists who work with delusional patients, as well as being of interest to neuroscientists engaged in research into major psychiatric disorders.

Peter McKenna qualified in medicine in the university of Birmingham and has a degree in psychology and physiology from the university of Oxford. He worked as a clinical psychiatrist in Cambridge and then became professor of psychiatry in Glasgow. His research focuses on neuropsychological aspects of schizophrenia and other major mental disorders and their relationship to symptoms and brain function. He has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals and is the author of a book on schizophrenia (currently in its 2nd edition). He is also, with a linguist, Tomasina Oh, the co-author of a book on on disordered speech in schizophrenia. For the last five years he has worked as a senior researcher in FIDMAG and is a principal investigator in the CIBERSAM mental health research network.

You can also listen to this interview on a free app on iTunes and google play store entitled 'Raj Persaud in conversation', which includes a lot of free information on the latest research findings in mental health, plus interviews with top experts from around the world. Download it free from these links



Could you live to 120 years old? Is all disease just a manifestation of a more fundamental biological process referred to aging? Why do we get old and get sick? A revolutionary new approach to aging and disease is being pioneered by one of the foremost authorities on longevity Dr Valter Longo. Dr Raj Persaud interviews him about his latest research and new book. Professor Longo's research suggests that living to 120 is entirely possible and that the average human lifespan could end up being 110 if the right diet and lifestyle is followed.


From https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/valter-longo/133188/



Dr Valter Longo was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1967. He is one of the world leaders in the field of aging and aging-related diseases and has published over 120 papers which include the discovery of some of the genes responsible for longevity and the identification of a genetic mutation protecting humans from some of the most common diseases.

He is currently a professor of Biogerontology and Director of the Longevity Institute in the School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California in Los AngelesThis is his first commercial book.

Valter Longo, PhD, is the Edna Jones Professor in Gerontology and Professor in Biological Science. He is also the Director of the USC Longevity Institute. He is interested in understanding the fundamental mechanisms of aging in yeast, mice and humans by using genetics and biochemistry techniques. He is also interested in identifying the molecular pathways conserved from simple organisms to humans that can be modulated to protect against multiple stresses and treat or prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease and other diseases of aging. The focus is on the signal transduction pathways that regulate resistance to oxidative damage in yeast and mice.

Direct download: DR-100_0089.mp3
Category:(2) General Podcasts -- posted at: 12:00am UTC

You can also listen to this podcast using the free app 'Raj Persaud in Conversation' for Android and Apple mobile devices; the app gives you access to more interviews with world class experts plus more free information and bonus content on the latest cutting edge psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, self-help, social science and neuroscience then any other app and is available free from itunes app store and Google Play Store - click on these links
If you are having difficulty viewing any of the content on the app, or the latest updates or bonus content, just uninstall it and re-install it.
Why Enlightenment culture sparked the Industrial Revolution


During the late eighteenth century, innovations in Europe triggered the Industrial Revolution and the sustained economic progress that spread across the globe. While much has been made of the details of the Industrial Revolution, what remains a mystery is why it took place at all. Why did this revolution begin in the West and not elsewhere, and why did it continue, leading to today's unprecedented prosperity? In this groundbreaking book, celebrated economic historian Joel Mokyr argues that a culture of growth specific to early modern Europe and the European Enlightenment laid the foundations for the scientific advances and pioneering inventions that would instigate explosive technological and economic development. Bringing together economics, the history of science and technology, and models of cultural evolution, Mokyr demonstrates that culture—the beliefs, values, and preferences in society that are capable of changing behavior—was a deciding factor in societal transformations.

Mokyr looks at the period 1500–1700 to show that a politically fragmented Europe fostered a competitive "market for ideas" and a willingness to investigate the secrets of nature. At the same time, a transnational community of brilliant thinkers known as the “Republic of Letters” freely circulated and distributed ideas and writings. This political fragmentation and the supportive intellectual environment explain how the Industrial Revolution happened in Europe but not China, despite similar levels of technology and intellectual activity. In Europe, heterodox and creative thinkers could find sanctuary in other countries and spread their thinking across borders. In contrast, China’s version of the Enlightenment remained controlled by the ruling elite.

Combining ideas from economics and cultural evolution, A Culture of Growth provides startling reasons for why the foundations of our modern economy were laid in the mere two centuries between Columbus and Newton.

[back cover bio]Joel Mokyr is the Robert H. Strotz Professor of Arts and Sciences and professor of economics and history at Northwestern University and Sackler Professor at the Eitan Berglas School of Economics at the University of Tel Aviv. Joel Mokyr is the Robert H. Strotz Professor of Arts and Sciences and professor of economics and history at Northwestern University and Sackler Professor at the Eitan Berglas School of Economics at the University of Tel Aviv. His many books include The Enlightened Economy and The Gifts of Athena (Princeton). He is the recipient of the Heineken Prize for History and the International Balzan Prize for Economic History.

A Culture of GrowthThe Origins of the Modern EconomyJoel Moky 

Direct download: Why_Do_Societies_Make_Progress3F_Is_Progress_Inevitable3F.mp3
Category:(2) General Podcasts -- posted at: 10:32am UTC

Press Release•
Sat, November 04, 2017, 7:16 PM
You can also listen to this podcast using the free app 'Raj Persaud in Conversation' for Android and Apple mobile devices; the app gives you access to more interviews with world class experts plus more free information and bonus content on the latest cutting edge psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, self-help, social science and neuroscience then any other app and is available free from itunes app store and Google Play Store - click on these links
If you are having difficulty viewing any of the content on the app, or the latest updates or bonus content, just uninstall it and re-install it.
Maurice Papworth - The story of one man’s battle against the medical establishment - by Joanna Seldon - University of Buckingham Press - Hardback £14.99 

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of Maurice Pappworth’s seminal work Human Guinea Pigs (1967), the controversial book which unearthed shocking practices within the medical establishment including experimentation on humans. Despite ethical principles set up by the Nuremburg code, Pappworth uncovered increasingly invasive procedures on vulnerable groups including babies, pregnant women and cancer patients up until the 1970’s in Britain, the US and Canada. From deliberately inducing heart stoppage to achieve better X-Rays and oxygen deprivation on infants to the deliberate blistering of children’s abdomens, Pappworth named and shamed those that placed the pursuit of science above ethical practice and put lives at risk.

The Whistle-Blower is the first biography exploring the life of Pappworth, a physician who reshaped the medical establishment and helped change the face of medical ethics with Human Guinea Pigs. Brilliant, Jewish, already an outsider, Maurice Pappworth was recognised as the best medical teacher of his generation. Unafraid to speak his mind, Pappworth’s exposés were frequently covered in the press and eventually led to stricter codes of practise for human experimentation. From the Rights of Patients Bill to the establishment of ethical committees in the UK, The Whistle-Blower examines the impact Maurice Pappworth had on the medical establishment.

Maurice Pappworth’s daughter, the late Joanna Seldon, reassesses the importance of Human Guinea Pigs as a major milestone in the development of modern research ethics. The Whistle-Blower calls for a re-evaluation of the pioneering medical ethicist who compromised his own career for the protection of the patient.

About the Author

Dr Joanna Seldon, wife of historian, and political commentator, Sir Anthony Seldon, was an independent teacher and writer who died in 2016 after losing her battle with cancer. She was awarded the top first in her year reading English at Oxford University and went on to complete a Ph.D. She has published a range of novels, short-stories, poems and non-fiction titles including Still Crazy (2013), Squared (2014), Piper’s Hole (2014) and Waterloo to Wellington: From Iron Duke to Enlightened College (2015). 

Sir Anthony Seldon is a political historian and commentator on British political leadership as well as on education and contemporary Britain. He is also Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham.

He was previously the 13th Master (headmaster) of Wellington College, one of the country's most famous and historic independent schools. He was co-founder and first Director of the Institute of Contemporary British History. He is also author or editor of some 40+ books.

From http://www.anthonyseldon.co.uk/biographical-details/

Sir Anthony Seldon MA, PhD, FRSA, MBA, FRHisS

Anthony Seldon is a leading authority on contemporary British history and education and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham. He was formerly Master of Wellington College, one of the world's most famous independent schools. He is author or editor of over 40 books on contemporary history, politics and education and is the author on, and honorary historical advisor to, Downing Street.

After gaining an MA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Worcester College, Oxford, and a PhD at the London School of Economics, he qualified as a teacher at King's College, London, where he was awarded the top PGCE prize in his year.

In 1993, he was appointed Deputy Headmaster and, ultimately, Acting Headmaster of St Dunstan's College in South London. He then became Headmaster of Brighton College from September 1997 until he joined Wellington College in January 2006 as 13th Master. He left Wellington College in summer 2015 to become Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, the only independent university in the UK with a Royal Charter.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and King's College London. He was knighted in the Queen's 2014 Birthday Honours list for services to education and modern political history. He founded the Sunday Times (now Telegraph) Festival of Education and most recently the Festival of Higher Education, and is widely known for introducing and promoting happiness, wellbeing and mindfulness across education.

Portrait by Caroline Ayles

Portrait by Caroline Ayles

He founded, with Professor Lord Peter Hennessy, the Institute of Contemporary British History, the internationally renowned body whose aim is to promote research into, and the study of, British history since 1945.

He founded Action for Happiness with Professor Lord Richard Layard and Geoff Mulgan. He is governor of several bodies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, and is Chair of The Comment Awards.

Some of Anthony Seldon's books include:

Churchill's Indian Summer, which won a Best First Work Prize; Major, A Political Life, the authorised biography of the former Prime Minister; Conservative Century, the standard academic history of the Conservative Party; The Powers Behind the Prime Minister, co-written with Professor Dennis Kavanagh; Number 10: The Illustrated History, which he is currently updating for publication in 2016; The Foreign Office: A History of the Place and its PeopleBlair and Blair Unbound, his acclaimed two-part biography of the former Prime Minister; three volumes of edited books on the Blair governments; Trust: How We Lost it and How to Get it BackBrown at 10, with Guy Lodge; The Great War and Public Schools, with David Walsh; and The Architecture of Diplomacy: The British Ambassador's Residence in Washington, written with Daniel Collings. In March 2015 his new books, Beyond Happiness and The Coalition Effect 2010-2015, co-authored with Dr Mike Finn, were published. His latest political history, the authorised study Cameron at 10 with Peter Snowdon, was published in September 2015. The book is the inside story of the Cameron premiership, based on over 400 in-depth interviews with senior figures in 10 Downing Street, including the Prime Minister himself. He has also been historical consultant on the memoirs of several former Prime Ministers and Foreign Secretaries.

Sir Anthony is regarded as one of the country's most authoritative high profile commentators on contemporary history and on education and appears regularly on television and radio and in the press, and writes for several national newspapers. His views have regularly been sought by the government and political parties.

He was married to Joanna, who also taught and wrote, and they have three children, Jessica, Susannah and Adam. According to 'Who's Who, his interests are sport, directing plays, family and old English sports cars.


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