Professor Jefferson Singer edits special issue of Journal of Personality exploring the psychobiographies of change agents
Jefferson Singer, the Faulk Foundation Professor of Psychology at Connecticut College, is the co-editor of a special issue of the Journal of Personality dedicated to exploring the psychobiographies of social change agents.
The issue, which published in February, “is focused on understanding people who powerfully impact their world, from eminent global leaders to everyday change agents,” Singer said.
Using psychobiographical methods, which apply psychological theories and research tools to the intensive study of an individual of historic significance, the issue’s contributing scholars explore the stories of a broad range of change agents, including former first lady Michelle Obama, business innovator Jack Ma, trans advocate Natasha Keating and politician Harvey Milk.
Connecticut College Professor of Human Development Sunil Bhatia contributed an article on Indian political leader Babasaheb Ambedkar. He co-wrote the piece, “Outsider at home: Reading Babasaheb Ambedkar as a radical, decolonial psychologist,” with Anjali Ram, professor of communication at Roger Williams University.
“Known primarily as the architect of the constitution of India, Babasaheb Ambedkar was also a human rights lawyer, an economist, a social justice advocate, and a polymath. Yet his story is often overlooked in favor of national leaders such as Gandhi,” Bhatia and Ram wrote in the article’s abstract.
“This study highlights Ambedkar as a visionary who called for a radical and new psychology of self that was anchored in ideas of social justice, equity and full participation. Furthermore this study fills the gap in the field of psychobiography which rarely reflects the cultural lives and experiences of the Global South.”
Singer says he hopes the special issue helps elevate the field of psychobiography.
“Psychobiography has an important role to play in contemporary personality psychology and we hope this special issue will itself serve as a foundation for continued innovation in the field,” he said.