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Mad Tales from the Raj

Colonial Psychiatry in South Asia, 1800-58

Waltraud Ernst

Mad Tales from the Raj

'Mad Tales from the Raj' provides a comprehensive and authoritative assessment of British colonial psychiatry during the East India Company's rule in India.

Imprint: Anthem Press
ISBN 9781843318682
March 2010 | 174 Pages | 229 x 152mm / 9 x 6 | 8+ images
PRICE:  £25.00  /  $40.00  Buy from Amazon.co.uk  Buy from Amazon.com

About This Book

'This short book on European insanity and its treatment in the British Raj is a welcome addition to the growing corpus of writing on the encounter between Western medicine and indigenous societies.' 'Social History of Medicine'

'Mad Tales from the Raj' is an extensively researched study of mental illness within the context of British colonialism in early nineteenth-century India. The author challenges the assumption that western medical psychology was impartial and highlights the extent to which it reflected British colonial ideology and practice. This long overdue reprint makes available in easily accessible form an authoritative assessment of western, institution-based psychiatry during the East India Company's period. It includes a fully revised introduction that locates the work in relation to recent scholarly discourse in the field of history of colonial medicine as well as additional material on the treatment of the 'native insane'. The book provides the first comprehensive account of official attitudes and practices in relation to both Indian and European patients at a time when the dictum of the 'civilising mission' guided colonial social policy towards the colonized, and mental illness among the colonizers was seen to tarnish the prestige of the ruling race. Based on archival sources and reports by medical experts, the book provides a highly readable and illuminating account of contemporary psychiatric treatment and colonial policies. It will be fascinating reading not only to students of colonial history, medical sociology and related disciplines, but to all those with a general interest in life in the colonies.

Readership: This book is of interest not only to students of colonial history, medical sociology and related disciplines, but to all those with a general interest in British life in the colonies.

Author Information

Waltraud Ernst is Professor in the History of Medicine at Oxford Brookes University. She has written widely on various aspects of the history of colonial psychiatry.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations; Preface; Chapter 1: Colonizing the Mind Introduction: Ex Oriente Lux - the Light of the Orient; Chapter 2: Madness and the Politics of Colonial Rule; Chapter 3: The Institutions; Chapter 4: The Medical Profession; Chapter 5: The Patients; Chapter 6: Medical Theory and Practice; Chapter 7: 'Mad Dogs and Englismen...'; Primary Sources; Notes; Index