Mental Health in Historical Perspective

Lunatic Asylums in Colonial Bombay

Shackled Bodies, Unchained Minds

Authors: Pinto, Sarah

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  • Takes the experience of Indian patients, families and local practitioners as the focus of this study, rather than psychiatry
  • Traces the history of lunatic asylums in Bombay, drawing extensively on Indian and British archival sources
  • Offers a new narrative of mental health treatment in India through its exploration of the historical traumas associated with these colonial institutions
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-94244-5
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $84.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-94243-8
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About this book

This book traces the historical roots of the problems in India’s mental health care system. It accounts for indigenous experiences of the lunatic asylum in the Bombay Presidency (1793-1921). The book argues that the colonial lunatic asylum failed to assimilate into Indian society and therefore remained a failed colonial-medical enterprise. It begins by assessing the implications of lunatic asylums on indigenous knowledge and healing traditions. It then examines the lunatic asylum as a ‘middle-ground’, and the European superintendents’ ‘common-sense’ treatment of Indian insanity.  Furthermore, it analyses the soundscapes of Bombay’s asylums, and the extent to which public perceptions influenced their use. Lunatic asylums left a legacy of historical trauma for the indigenous community because of their coercive and custodial character. This book aims to disrupt that legacy of trauma and to enable new narratives in mental health treatment in India.

About the authors

Sarah Ann Pinto completed her PhD in History from Victoria University of Wellington in 2017. Her awards include the ‘Bowen Prize for the Best Student in History, 2017', and the ‘Fr Henry Heras Prize, 2008’. Her passion for history and healing motivates her research. Through her work, she intends to enable new narratives in mental health treatment.


   

Reviews

“Original, courageous and evocative, Sarah Pinto’s history of colonial asylums is a powerful work. Attending to the experiences of patients and their families, the soundscapes and spaces of the asylum, Pinto goes beyond existing understandings to show us the persistence, the failures and the consequences of a painful past. The book is a rich addition to the histories of colonial India and to health, and introduces a historian with a skillful sensitivity to people and difficult predicaments in the past and present.” (Charlotte Macdonald, Professor of History, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

“In this pioneering study of asylums in the Bombay Presidency Sarah Pinto argues that the colonial imposition of asylums quickly became subverted. Attentive to the everyday workings of the asylums and the views of them by the communities in which they operated, this study suggests how understanding the history of the treatment of the mentally ill is vital to reconceptualising their treatment today.” (Barbara Brookes, Professor of History, University of Otago, New Zealand)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $64.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-94244-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $84.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-94243-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Lunatic Asylums in Colonial Bombay
Book Subtitle
Shackled Bodies, Unchained Minds
Authors
Series Title
Mental Health in Historical Perspective
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-94244-5
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-94244-5
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-94243-8
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVII, 242
Number of Illustrations
28 illustrations in colour
Topics