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Madness in the Family: Insanity and Institutions in the Australasian Colonial World, 1860-1914

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Madness in the Family: Insanity and Institutions in the Australasian Colonial World, 1860-1914

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Madness in the Family is the first comparative study of families and insanity: a trans-colonial study of the relationships between European families and public colonial hospitals for the insane in Australia and New Zealand between 1860 and 1914. It explores issues such as how colonial families coped with insanity, interaction between physicians and the sick, and whether physicians and families had different ways of viewing, describing, and treating insanity. Drawing on rich and moving archival evidence the book also raises methodological and theoretical questions about the asylum archive. What we can ever ‘know’ about mental breakdown in the past is contingent upon the way the archival sources have been collated, what is extant, and how we read these materials.

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