Hall, Granville Stanley


Psychologist and Pedagogue

The founder and first president of Clark University, Granville Stanley Hall formulated theories on child development, psychology, play, and race that greatly influenced theories about white manhood and male sexuality around the turn of the twentieth century.

Hall's chief concern was neurasthenia, a medical condition of mental and physical exhaustion first diagnosed by the physician George M. Beard in 1869. Neurasthenia tended to affect white middle-class men who feared that industrialization and urbanization undermined their ability to meet contemporary expectations of manhood. While men such as Theodore Roosevelt advocated the “strenuous life” as an antidote, Hall supported a preventive approach that targeted adolescent boys.

The concept of organic memory, which states that each individual inherits the history of his or her own race, informed Hall's ...

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