Global Histories of Psychiatry

Global Histories of Psychiatry

Prof. Dr. Hubertus Büschel, University of Groningen; Het Kasteel Groningen
Het Kasteel Groningen, Melkweg 1, 9718 EP Groningen
Vom - Bis
07.11.2018 - 08.11.2018
Büschel, Hubertus

The workshop "Global Histories of Psychiatry" to be held on 07/08 November 2018 in Groningen, The Netherlands, is part of the project ‘Experiences of Modernity and Psychiatry: Global Histories in the 19th and 20th Century’ funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and led by Prof. Dr. Hubertus Büschel, University of Groningen.

The workshop defines psychiatry as a lens for fundamental social, cultural and political phenomena in societies within the Global South. In the broad fields of psychiatry, psychology and psycho analysis, through its forms of diagnoses, treatment and epistemic cultures we can trace processes of social inclusion as well as exclusion. Otherness and racism are essential in the psychiatric encounters and negotiations of normative psychiatric frameworks in areas of the Global South. The workshop seeks to address fundamental problems of provincializing and decentering psychiatric discourses and practices as well as the silencing of patients.

The following elements are seen as central in papers being admitted for the workshop:
1. Global negotiations of ‘experiences’ which were seen as causing mental illnesses and informing the diagnoses and treatment.
2. The ‘experiences’ of so called ‘traumatic modernization’ following colonialism and development and their effects on the human mind in anthropological, psychological and psychiatric fields of ‘knowledge’ travelling between Europe and areas of the Global South.
3. Examining historical notions that European psychiatric ‘civilization-sicknesses’ and their accompanying therapies can be studied through knowledge about the mental conditions of Non Western people.
4. ‘Histories of entanglement’ of Western/Non-Western psychiatric discourses.
5. Local perspectives and ‘experiences’ of globally driven psychiatric diagnoses and treatment.

Furthermore, the workshop is also open to reflections regarding the practice and historiography of the subject. This includes the introduction of new empirical, theoretical and methodological approaches for the field of the global history of psychiatry, psychology and psychoanalysis in Colonial and Postcolonial times. Expanding upon existing research, the conference will focus on quasi-humanitarian, ‘reform’-psychiatric approaches in tropical and subtropical areas in the 19th and 20th centuries as well as on the perceptions and ‘experiences’ of all people involved, whenever possible. It will also be an inquiry into the global circulation and ‘translation’ of anthropological and psychiatric knowledge. The conference intends to show not only how normative definitions of ‘modernity’ or other factors seen to cause mental illness underwent questioning, local negotiation and pluralization throughout the time period under investigation, but also how prominent stereotypes, ‘racial othering’, social inclusion and exclusion and, last but not least, physical and psychic violence played important roles in these processes.



Conference Schedule:

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

10.00-10.15 – Welcome and Introduction
Hubertus Büschel (University of Groningen)

10.15-12.00 – Keynote Lecture
Nancy R. Hunt (University of Florida):
“Madness, Psychiatry, and the Vernacular”

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13.00-14.00 – Paper Presentation
Sloane Mahone (University of Oxford)
“Casting Out Anger: Stress, Possession and Hysteria in Taita, Kenya”

14.00-15.00 – Paper Presentation
Matthew M. Heaton (Virginia Tech)
“The Doctor Describes it as ‘Mental Disorder’: Student Anxiety and Brain Fag Syndrome in Late Colonial Africa”

15.00-16.00 – Paper Presentation
Nina Stuber (University of Bern)
“Sharing a Drink: A History of Alcoholism in Colonial Algeria”

16.00-17.00 – Paper Presentation
Hubertus Büschel (University of Groningen)
“Mr. Tanka’s Illness: Biopolitics of Schizophrenia in Colonial Africa”

17.00-19.00 – Film Screening and Discussion
Robert Lemelson (University of California in Los Angeles)
“Shadows and Illuminations”

19.00-19.15 – Closing Remarks for Day 1
Hubertus Büschel (University of Groningen)

Thursday, 8th November 2018

10.00-10.15 – Welcome and Introduction
Hubertus Büschel (University of Groningen)

10.15-12.00 – Keynote Lecture
Waltraud Ernst (Oxford Brookes University)
“Global Histories of Madness”

12.00-13.00 – Lunch

13.00-14.00 – Paper Presentation
Richard Keller (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
“World Mental Health Twenty Years Later: The Impact and Limitations of a UN Report”

14.00-15.00 – Paper Presentation
A. Tancrède Pagès (University of Groningen)
“Sanctioned Dying: A Cultural History of Death in Lutindi Mental Hospital, Tanzania”

15.00-16.00 – Paper Presentation
Richard Hölzl (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
“The Psyche and the Soul: Missionary Anxiety and the Psychology of Conversion, 1900s to 1950s”

16.00-17.00 – Paper Presentation
Jonathan Sadowsky (Case Western Reserve University)
“Depression and Culture: The History of a Global Mental Health Conundrum”

17.00-18.00 – Paper Presentation
Thomas Röske (Prinzhorn Collection of the Psychiatric University Clinic of Heidelberg)
“Modernism and Madness Regarding Sex, Gender, and Sexual Inclination in Drawings of the Prinzhorn Collection, Heidelberg”

18.00-18.15 – Closing Remarks on Workshop
Hubertus Büschel (University of Groningen)

General Information

Participation fee for lunch, coffee etc.
30,-- Euro/ day

To express interest in participating in the workshop or for general inquiries, please contact A. Tancrède Pagès at with ‘Global Histories of Psychiatry’ written as the subject.

Organized by:
Prof. Dr. Hubertus Büschel (University of Groningen)
A. Tancrède Pagès (University of Groningen)


Tancrede Pagès

RUG Groningen, Faculty of Arts, Contemporary History

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