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Colonialism and Transnational Psychiatry

Colonialism and Transnational Psychiatry

The Development of an Indian Mental Hospital in British India, c. 1925–1940

By Waltraud Ernst

This book provides an in-depth case study of a psychiatric institution within the context of colonial rule during the early twentieth century. It focuses on patient statistics, medical treatments and diagnoses, and considers the ‘indigenisation’ or ‘Indianisation’ of the colonial medical services and the significance of international professional networks.

Paperback, 294 Pages

ISBN:9781783083527

January 2014

£25.00, $40.00

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  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
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About This Book

Psychiatry in India during the nineteenth century has hitherto been represented as an essentially ‘colonial’ psychiatry, permanently and intrinsically linked with the British civilising mission and British control over India. This book is the first comprehensive case study of an early twentieth-century Indian mental hospital that was headed by an Indian rather than a British superintendent.

The work explores the ways in which the institution was run, its patient profile, the circumstances of its staff and the treatments administered, all in relation to the regional sociocultural and political context, the wider medical and colonial setting in South Asia, and contemporary global developments in psychiatry.

Themes covered in the work include gender, culture, race and plural clinical practices within the context of medical standardisation. ‘Colonialism and Transnational Psychiatry’ offers an unprecedented look at both the local and global factors that had such a strong bearing on hospital management and psychiatric treatment at this institution. This study of Ranchi sets a standard against which future scholarship will be able to judge the impact of local affairs and transnational connections on a wider range of institutions in, and exchanges between, South Asia, the West and other parts of the world.

Reviews

 ‘Ernst paints a fascinating picture of a mental hospital in India where doctors and patients struggle with the problems and paradoxes of modernity during an era of dramatic political change and medical innovation on a global scale.’ —Joseph Alter, Pittsburgh University


‘A very important and original contribution to the growing literature on psychiatry and colonialism, notable for its tight focus on a single mental hospital for Indians rather than the imperial ruling class.’ —Andrew Scull, University of California, San Diego


‘An in-depth account wherein individual and institutional histories coalesce, a work of honest scholarship which will be useful for medical historians, sociologists and lay readers alike.’ —Deepak Kumar, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Author Information

Waltraud Ernst is Professor in the History of Medicine in the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion at Oxford Brookes University, UK.

Series

Anthem South Asian Studies

Anthem Modern South Asian History

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Abbreviations; Tables and Figures; Introduction; Chapter 1: Indianisation and its Discontents; Chapter 2: The Patients: The Demographics of Gender and Age, Locality, Occupation, Caste and Religion; Chapter 3: Institutional Trends and Standardisation: Deaths, Diseases and Cures; Chapter 4: Classifications, Types of Disorder and Aetiology; Chapter 5: Treatments; Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography; Index 

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