On This Day … 20 July

People (Births)

  • 1925 – Frantz Fanon, French-Algerian psychiatrist and philosopher (d. 1961).
  • 1927 – Ian P. Howard, English-Canadian psychologist and academic (d. 2013).

People (Deaths)

  • 2009 – Mark Rosenzweig, American psychologist and academic (b. 1922).

Frantz Fanon

Frantz Omar Fanon (20 July 1925 to 06 December 1961), also known as Ibrahim Frantz Fanon, was a French West Indian psychiatrist and political philosopher from the French colony of Martinique (today a French department). His works have become influential in the fields of post-colonial studies, critical theory and Marxism. As well as being an intellectual, Fanon was a political radical, Pan-Africanist, and Marxist humanist concerned with the psychopathology of colonisation and the human, social, and cultural consequences of decolonisation.

In the course of his work as a physician and psychiatrist, Fanon supported Algeria’s War of independence from France and was a member of the Algerian National Liberation Front.

For more than five decades, the life and works of Frantz Fanon have inspired national-liberation movements and other radical political organisations in Palestine, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and the United States. He formulated a model for community psychology, believing that many mental-health patients would do better if they were integrated into their family and community instead of being treated with institutionalised care. He also helped found the field of institutional psychotherapy while working at Saint-Alban under Francois Tosquelles and Jean Oury.

Fanon published numerous books, including The Wretched of the Earth (1961). This influential work focuses on what he believed is the necessary role of violence by activists in conducting decolonisation struggles.

Ian P. Howard

Ian Porteus Howard (20 July 1927 to 01 June 2013) was a Canadian psychologist and researcher in visual perception at York University in Toronto.

He studied for a BSc at Manchester University, graduating in 1952. Howard held academic positions in Departments of Psychology at Durham University (1953-1964) (from which he obtained his PhD in 1965), at New York University (1965), and at York University in Toronto (1966-2013). At York University, he contributed to the development of the Department of Psychology and, in 1992 founded the Centre for Vision Research (CVR).

While at York, Howard became full professor. Upon retirement in 1993, he became Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus, a position he held until his death.

Mark Rosenzweig

Mark Richard Rosenzweig (12 September 1922 to 20 July 2009) was an American research psychologist whose research on neuroplasticity in animals indicated that the adult brain remains capable of anatomical remodelling and reorganisation based on life experiences, overturning the conventional wisdom that the brain reached full maturity in childhood.

He attended the University of Rochester planning to major in history, but ended up switching to psychology and receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1943 and a master’s degrees in 1944 with a focus on auditory perception.

Following the completion of his studies in 1944, he enlisted in the United States Navy, initially serving as a radar technician at the Anacostia Naval Station. He was later relocated to Tsingtao in China, where he was stationed on the seaplane tender USS Chincoteague.

He attended Harvard University after completing his military service in 1946, and was awarded a Ph.D. in 1949. His thesis showed that the connections between the cochlea and the cerebral cortex could be monitored using electrodes placed on the scalp, without requiring cranial surgery.

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