268 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 5 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-4844-6
Published: March 2019
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-4843-9
Published: March 2019
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-4845-3
Published: February 2019
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Awards & distinctions
2021 Francis B. Simkins Award, Southern Historical Association
Drawing from these institutions' untapped archives, Gonaver reveals how slavery influenced ideas about patient liberty, about the proper relationship between caregiver and patient, about what constituted healthy religious belief and unhealthy fanaticism, and about gender. This early form of psychiatric care acted as a precursor to public health policy for generations, and Gonaver's book fills an important gap in the historiography of mental health and race in the nineteenth century.
About the Author
Wendy Gonaver is archives assistant at the Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives at Chapman University.
For more information about Wendy Gonaver, visit the Author Page.
“Provides a fascinating glimpse of the origins of humane treatment of the mentally ill and a sound indictment of nineteenth-century pseudoscientific thought.”--Choice
“Eminently readable . . . . A great addition to the literature on asylums.”--Journal of Social History
"Gonaver's monograph is a truly illuminating addition to canons of American medical history and racialized society, one that will inspire and fascinate students and scholars of slavery and madness in the nineteenth century."--Journal of the Civil War Era
“The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry is a valuable institutional history, in addition to the contribution it makes to the history of race and medicine.”--Black Perspectives
“This is a timely, intriguing, and deeply researched social history, telling the story of how a racially hierarchical, internally segregated, asylum set at the heart of chattel slavery was absorbed into perhaps an even bleaker carceral system following the Civil War.”--Bulletin of the History of Medicine
“A welcome addition. . . . Studies such as these may indeed help us to better understand the racialized roots of heath inequality that continue to plague us today.”—H-Sci-Med-Tech