Colonial Psychiatry and the African Mind

I included this book on the bookshelf because the author mentions the most famous doctors and scientists in the western world and their influences on Africa. For example Jock Mc Culloch states that King (credited as a child welfare reformer as well as a surgeon specializing in baby care methods) believed that at the age of six weeks, toilet training should commence and be continued until the child was sufficiently trained. Cuddling with an infant was not to exceed 10 minutes per day and there was a specific hour set aside for holding the child, etc. But things were different in colonial Africa.

In this first history of colonial psychiatry in Africa, Jock McCulloch describes the clinical approaches of well-known European psychiatrists who worked directly with indigenous Africans. The psychiatrists shared a coherent set of ideas about “The African Mind,” premised on the colonial notion of African inferiority.

In exploring the close association between the ideologies of settler societies and psychiatric research, this intriguing study is one of the few attempts to explore colonial science as a system of knowledge and power.


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