Chapter

Introduction

in Colonial Madness

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780226429724
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226429779 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226429779.003.0001
Introduction

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Novelists, travelers, and physicians in the mid-nineteenth century conjured a North Africa that was a space of savage violence and lurid sexuality, but also a space of insanity. A century later, a new literature placed the subject of North African madness in a different light. During the decolonization struggles of the 1950s and 1960s, and in their immediate aftermath, an emerging group of North African writers saw insanity as a consequence of the traumas of colonial rule and the transition to a development state. This book explores the genealogy and development of the idea of the Muslim world as a space of madness from the beginnings of colonial expansion to the present. Yet it also aims at a wider cultural history of the ways in which the theories, practices, and institutions of French psychiatry in colonial North Africa inscribed the idea of Muslim insanity in a medical language. To investigate the ways in which psychiatric ideas informed the colonial encounter, the book places Frantz Fanon's attack on colonial psychiatry in a wider history of psychiatric theories, institutions, and practices.

Keywords: madness; colonization; North Africa; colonial expansion; psychiatry; Frantz Fanon; Muslim world; decolonization; cultural history; insanity

Chapter.  7694 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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