Colonial Psychiatry and “The African Mind”

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.312.7039.1167 (Published 04 May 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1167
  1. Maurice Lipsedge

    Jock McCulloch Cambridge University Press, £35, pp 185 ISBN 0 521 45330 5

    Adistrict medical officer who became superintendent at Mathari Mental Hospital in Nairobi, J C Carothers was the most prolific and influential of the ethnopsychiatrists—those mental health practitioners who, between 1900 and 1960, regarded themselves as authorities on the psychology and behaviour of African people. In addition to Carothers, they included the white South Africans D J F Laubscher and Wulf Sachs, the French Algerian Porot, and the Martiniquean Frantz Fanon, who worked for the French administration in Algeria before defecting to the liberation movement in 1955.

    The subjects of ethnopsychiatry were African patients in the psychiatric hospitals sited in the new cities, where asylums had been set up originally as annexes of the prisons. In Colonial Psychiatry and “The African …

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