At the edge of modern : different forms of French and colonial psychiatry in early 20th century Algeria

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2022-06-15

Authors

Donnelly-Rutledge, Jeremey

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Abstract

Algerian psychiatry at the beginning of the twentieth century was heavily influenced by a multitude of forms of psychiatry that had been developing in Europe and the United States over the course of the nineteenth century. Algeria was both a space where the colonizers had the right to the full spectrum of mental healthcare and where the mentally ill non-European population needed to be controlled. This paper explores the development of the field of psychiatry within Algeria through the examination of three key participants: Antoine Porot, Victor Trenga, and Louis Livet. The culmination of efforts led by Porot was the Psychiatric Hospital at Blida-Joinville, which will be interrogated here as one of the last of the nineteenth century state asylums to be built after World War One. The ultimate contention of this paper is that despite the highly interconnectedness of psychiatry between France and its colonies, an overwhelming urge to resist change triumphed over any potential innovations in care.

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