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Houses of Madness – Insanity and Asylums of Bengal in Nineteenth-century India - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Houses of Madness: Insanity and Asylums of Bengal in Nineteenth-century India

Debjani Das


This book presents an analysis of the history of mental asylums in nineteenth-century Bengal. It explores these institutions through several phases of their development, which not only involved changes in medical treatment and its interpretation of the mentally challenged, but also in the social composition of and the spatial distribution within mental institutions. By locating the asylums both socially and geographically, it explains how mental illness was defined within these confines. The book compares the medical practices in India and England and shows how changing definitions of ‘insanit ... More

Keywords: insanity, madness, asylums, physicians, nineteenth-century Bengal, colonial India, mechanical restraint, moral treatment, inmate labour

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780199458875
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199458875.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Debjani Das, author
Debjani Das is Assistant Professor, Department of History, Vidyasagar University, West Bengal, India.