Thesis ID: CBB001567578

Mental Death: Slavery, Madness and State Violence in the United States (2014)


Reed, Adam Metcalfe (Author)

Haraway, Donna Jeanne
University of California, Santa Cruz
Davis, Angela Y.
Arondekar, Anjali R
Davis, Angela Y.
Arondekar, Anjali R

Publication Date: 2014
Edition Details: Advisor: Haraway, Donna J; Committee Members: Davis, Angela Y., Arondekar, Anjali R.
Physical Details: 287 pp.
Language: English

In this dissertation, I analyzing the invagination of slavery and madness as constitutive of the political, medical, economic, legal and literary institutions of the United States. In my introduction, I discuss my previous project concerning all black mental institutions that emerged in the American South after Reconstruction. My first chapter, "Haunting Asylums: Madness, Slavery and the Archive," addresses my difficulties with the fragmented records of the racially segregated mental asylums and how figurations of the ghost or the inhuman failed to provide me with a salvific moment. In Chapter 2, "Compounds of Madness and Race: Governing Species, Disease and Sexuality in the Early Republic," I map the epistemic ground of race, mind and nation in the Revolutionary-era United States. My third chapter, "Worse than Useless, Too Much Sense: Enslaved Insanity in Plantations, Courtrooms and Asylums" is the culmination of previous two, where I trace the admission and treatment records of a sixteen-year-old slave interned in a mental asylum to the discourses and institutions surrounding the internal slave trade. I conclude by discussing two deaths separated by two centuries but connected by the violent conjunction of antiblackness and madness.


Description Cited in Dissertation Abstracts International-A 76/02(E), Aug 2015. Proquest Document ID: 1620907946.

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Authors & Contributors
Summers, Martin
Beam, Alex
Basu, Amit Ranjan
Jackson, Lynette A.
Gambino, Matthew Joseph
Getz, Lynne M.
History of Psychiatry
Indian Journal of History of Science
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
North Carolina Historical Review
Health and History
American Quarterly
Cornell University Press
Ohio University Press
University of Toledo
University of North Carolina Press
Grand Central Publishing
Psychiatric hospitals
Mental disorders and diseases
Medicine and race
African Americans
African Americans and science
Bender, Lauretta
Rosenhan, David
White, William Alanson
Pinel, Philippe
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
20th century, early
20th century, late
Progressive Era (1890s-1920s)
21st century
United States
Ohio (U.S.)
New Zealand
Southern states (U.S.)
Massachusetts (U.S.)
McLean Hospital (Belmont, Mass.)

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