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Trained as a psychologist in Italy and the US, Filippo is a Roy McMurtry Fellow in Legal History interested in the history of human sciences, medicine, and disability. Before moving to Canada, he worked as a Health Promoter in several reception centers for asylum seekers in Italy and as a Head-hunter for a Dutch multinational firm. Besides co-authoring a book on the concept of normality in psychology, he recently wrote on the procedures for involuntary detention in common law jurisdictions, the burden of stigma in mental health, and on the emergence of psychiatric training in Britain.

He collaborates with the World Health Organization’s Mental Health Unit on the MindBank Project.

His dissertation, entitled “The Certification of Insanity: A Transnational History”, explores the emergence of the medical certification of insanity in the second half of the nineteenth century. Taking a transnational approach, he looks at the diffusion of the so-called “Imperial system of certification” in various jurisdictions around the world, including England and Ontario. His research engages with some of the most delicate issues in contemporary mental health, including the production of stigma, expertise, and the law-medicine relationship in involuntary confinements.

His research has been funded by the Government of Ontario (OTS), the Osgoode Law Society, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and the American Historical Association. In 2021, he was nominated a Junior Fellow of the Victoria College.

Passionate about Digital Humanities, he created Mindthepast.com a website dedicated to mental health and disability rights in history. He is an Assistant Editor of H-Madness and a former Editor of H-Disability.

In his free time, Filippo enjoys Delta Blues and Trail Running. He is a “Trail Running Society Ambassador” for 2021.

Selected Publications:

Sposini FM (2021). The paper technology of confinement: Evolving criteria in Admission Forms (1850-1873). History of Psychiatry, 32(2), pp. 210-226.

Sposini FM (2021). The rise of psychological physicians: The certification of insanity and the teaching of medical psychology. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 74, pp. 101667.

Sposini FM (2020). Confinement and certificates: Consensus, stigma, and disability rights. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 192(48), pp. E1642-E1643.

Sposini FM (2020). Just the basic facts: The certification of insanity in the era of the Form K. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 75(2), pp. 171-192.

Sposini FM (2019). At the borders of the average man: Adolphe Quêtelet on mental, moral, and criminal monstrosities. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 56(3), pp. 201-217.

Turchi GP & Sposini FM (2016). Al di là del normale e del patologico: Sulle possibilità normative tra medicina e psicologia. [Beyond Normality and Pathology: On the Normative Possibilities in Medicine and Psychology]. Napoli: Edises.

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Contact Information

  • E-mail address: filippomaria.sposini@mail.utoronto.ca