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Andreas Sommer

College Fellow

Teaching Associate (HPS), Junior Research Fellow (Churchill College)

Research interests

History of the human sciences and medicine, historiographies of science and the occult

I'm investigating the historical interfaces of modern sciences and empirical approaches to the occult, more specifically the co-emergence of international psychical research and professionalized psychology in the late nineteenth century, which has been the topic of my Wellcome Trust-funded PhD work. My current main projects are a revision and expansion of my thesis into a book manuscript, and a reconstruction of the role of unorthodox science in the philosophical Pragmatism of William James and the pragmatist Humanism of Ferdinand C.S. Schiller. I developed and teach the Part II course 'Psychology in History' on Paper 10 and coordinate (with Seb Falk) the Department's History Workshop.

Publications (selection)

'Léon Marillier and the Veridical Hallucination in Late-Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth Century French Psychology and Psychopathology', with Pascal Le Maléfan, History of Psychiatry (forthcoming, 2015)

'Psychical Research in the History and Philosophy of Science: An Introduction and Review', Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 48 (2014): 38–45

'Spiritualism and the Origins of Modern Psychology in Late Nineteenth-Century Germany: The Wundt-Zöllner Debate', The Spiritualist Movement: Speaking with the Dead in America and Around the World, edited by C.M. Moreman (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2013): vol. 1, 55–72

'Normalizing the Supernormal: The Formation of the "Gesellschaft für Psychologische Forschung" ("Society for Psychological Research"), c. 1886–1890', Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 49 (2013): 18–44

'Psychical Research and the Origins of American Psychology: Hugo Münsterberg, William James and Eusapia Palladino', History of the Human Sciences 25 (2012): 23–44

'Policing Epistemic Deviance: Albert von Schrenck-Notzing and Albert Moll', Medical History 56 (2012): 255–276

'Professional Heresy: Edmund Gurney (1847–1888) and the Study of Hallucinations and Hypnotism', Medical History 55 (2011): 383–388

Edited journal special section

'Psychical Research in the History of Science and Medicine', Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 48 (2014): 38–111

Public engagement and media consultation

Forbidden Histories, a blog featuring my work in progress and guest posts by colleagues working on topics related to the history of science and the occult

Historical advisor, The Living and the Dead, an upcoming BBC World drama series