Teaching Psychology in America: A History

Editors: Antonio Puente, Janet R. Matthews, and Charles Brewer

American Psychological Association, 1992

Teaching Psychology in America was published by APA in 1992 on its 100th anniversary and covers a range of topics about teaching psychology over the hundred-year history. It is one of Dr. Janet R. Matthews’ contributions, working with Antonio Puente (U. of North Carolina) and Charles Brewer (Furman University) and a host of contributors who help paint the fascinating history of the teaching of psychology in America, placing the facts and archival details into a rich social and cultural context.

“A discipline that is separated from its history lacks direction…” the authors quote Murchison in their introduction, going on to write, “…the history of the teaching of psychology in America suffers from a dearth of documented information. This book represents an initial and partial solution to that problem. However, these chapters are much more than a repository of facts and anecdotes or a chronology of the field. They represent a careful analysis of such data in the context of the larger professional, social, political, and scientific spirit of the times.”

The work accomplishes that, and more, in its 578 pages covering topics such as “Key Individuals in the Teaching of Psychology,” (Part II), “Conferences Advancing the Teaching of Psychology,” (Part III), and “Organized Psychology in Advancing the Teaching of Psychology,” (Part IV).

“Key Publications in the Teaching of Psychology” (Part V) includes chapters on “Portraits of a Discipline: An Examination of Introductory Psychology Textbooks in America,” “Psychological Handbooks: History and Function,” and “Constancy and Change: Teaching as Depicted in Psychological Journals.”

‘It was a fun project and part of the APA centennial celebration,” Janet told the Times. “The outline for that book was actually prepared with my colleague Tony Puente as a convention of National Academy of Neuropsychology. We had coffee at the hotel and worked on a possible book on a paper napkin. We then recruited Charles Brewer as our third editor because he is such a legendary teacher.”

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