Encountering Crises of the Mind

Madness, Culture and Society, 1200s-1900s


Mental health and madness have been challenging topics for historians. The field has been marked by tension between the study of power, expertise and institutional control of insanity, and the study of patient experiences. This collection contributes to the ongoing discussion on how historians encounter mental ‘crises’. It deals with diagnoses, treatments, experiences and institutions largely outside the mainstream historiography of madness – in what might be described as its peripheries and borderlands (from medieval Europe to Cold War Hungary, from the Atlantic slave coasts to Indian princely states, and to the Nordic countries). The chapters highlight many contests and multiple stakeholders involved in dealing with mental suffering, and the importance of religion, lay perceptions and emotions in crises of mind.

Contributors are Jari Eilola, Waltraud Ernst, Anssi Halmesvirta, Markku Hokkanen, Kalle Kananoja, Tuomas Laine-Frigrén, Susanna Niiranen, Anu Rissanen, Kirsi Tuohela, and Jesper Vaczy Kragh.

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Tuomas Laine-Frigren, Ph.D (2016), University of Jyväskylä, is a postdoctoral researcher in General History at the Department of History and Ethnology. He has published articles on the history of psychology and mental health.

Jari Eilola, Ph.D (2003), University of Jyväskylä, is a senior researcher at the Department of History and Ethnology at the same university. He has published articles on the history of witchcraft, medicine and crime.

Markku Hokkanen, Ph.D (2006), University of Oulu, is a senior lecturer in history at the Department of History. He has published books and articles on histories of medicine, health and colonialism in South-Central Africa and the British Empire, including Medicine, mobility and the empire: Nyasaland networks, 1857¬-1960 (Manchester University Press, 2017).
List of Figures and Tables
Notes on Contributors

1 Sufferers, Specialists, Spaces and Society: Historical Approaches to Crises of the Mind
Tuomas Laine-Frigren, Markku Hokkanen and Jari Eilola

PART 1: Preclinical Definitions of Madness

2 Medical Knowledge of Mental Disorders and Their Cure in Latin and Vernacular Culture in Later Medieval Europe
Susanna Niiranen

3 Defining and Treating Madness in Local Communities of Early Modern Finland
Jari Eilola

4 Melancholy, Race and Slavery in the Early Modern Southern Atlantic World
Kalle Kananoja

PART 2: Modernisation and Crises of Mind: Changing Spaces, Voices and Sources

5 Hospitalised: Patients’ Voices in 19th-Century Finnish Newspapers
Kirsi Tuohela

6 Despair in Finnish: Consultation by Correspondence in Fin-de-Siècle Finland
Anssi Halmesvirta

7 In the Gray Area: Patient Records, Somatic Treatments and the History of Psychiatry in Denmark, 1936–1956
Jesper Vaczy Kragh

8 Treatment and Rehabilitation: Patients at Work in Finnish Mental Institutions
Anu Rissanen

part 3: Encountering Madness in the Peripheries

9 Emotionally Neglected or Deviant? Treating Childhood Neuroses in Communist Hungary during the Early 1960s
Tuomas Laine-Frigren

10 Psychiatry at the Periphery: the Case of Princely India, c. 1830–1900
Waltraud Ernst

11 ‘Madness’, Emotions and Loss of Control in a Colonial Frontier: Methodological Challenges of Crises of Mind
Markku Hokkanen

All interested in social, intellectual and cultural history of madness and mental health, including social scientists, nursing scientists, medical practitioners, psychologists, and other professionals interested in the development of mental health care.
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