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Cheiron: The international society for the history of behavioral & social sciences

2016 Cheiron Book Prize


Eligible works for the 2016 Cheiron Book Prize include original book-length historical studies, written in English and published in 2013, 2014, or 2015. Topical areas can include, but are not limited to, histories of psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, sociology, and social statistics. Works that are primarily history of medicine or history of education are not suitable entries, unless they are strongly tied to the history of the social/behavioral/human sciences. Edited collections or anthologies are not eligible, nor are conventional textbooks. Submissions will be judged on the basis of their scholarly character, depth of research, and the importance of their contribution to the field. Submissions can be made by publishers or authors.


Two copies of each entry must be received by the committee chair (address below) by October 1, 2015. Books that are released later in 2015 can be eligible for the next competition; only printed books are eligible.


The author of the winning book will receive $500 plus up to $300 in travel expenses to attend the 2016 Annual Meeting of Cheiron in Barcelona, Spain, where the prize will be awarded. Remote-electronic presentation may be arranged, if possible, for a winner who cannot make the meeting. Announcement of the award will be widely circulated to relevant journals and organizations.

How to Enter

To enter the competition, two copies of each entry, clearly labeled "2016 Cheiron Book Prize," must be mailed directly to the committee chair:

Phyllis Wentworth                           


27 Tanager Street

Arlington, MA  02476


Award of the 2014 Cheiron Book Prize to Fernando Vidal for The Sciences of the Soul: The Early Modern Origins of Psychology

2014 Cheiron Book Prize Committee 21 June 2014

In recognition of the book’s breadth and depth of scholarship and its determination to correct established misapprehensions about the nature of psychology before the “new psychology” emerged 140 years ago, the Cheiron Society awards the 2014 Cheiron Book Prize to Fernando Vidal for The Sciences of the Soul: The Early Modern Origins of Psychology, translated from the original French by Saskia Brown and published by The University of Chicago Press in 2011.

The Sciences of the Soul describes in extensive detail the various understandings of human nature and of human thought, feeling, and action asserted and debated several generations before the “new psychologists” began measuring sensory thresholds and reac- tion times. Based on an analysis of a great body of material written and published from the seventeenth century to the present, the book foregrounds practical, philosophical, and theological questions which have long been of concern to thoughtful people. Central among these are the topics of selfhood, identity, and responsibility for choice, of the relation of mind to body and of both to conduct. Such matters were closely examined in the early modern period. If history, science, and philosophy were sport, Dr. Vidal has shown us, our ancestors were much better players than we in our era of neuroscience imagine they were. We may not have advanced the ball so much farther than they had done. By mining a rich portion of psychology’s long past Dr. Vidal has lengthened its supposed short history. Further, he has demonstrated the scholar’s determination to read everything. Readers of this excellent book will be richly rewarded.

Members of the committee are Jennifer Bazar, Homer Stavely (Chair), Gerald Sullivan, and Leila Zenderland. 

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