HL90DC: Colonialism as Madness





Instructor: Anouska Bhattacharyya
Meeting time: Monday, 1-3

HL90DC: Colonialism as MadnessWhy do we take the history of Euro-American psychiatry as the barometer against which we understand all other histories of madness? Is there a larger narrative of insanity that doesn’t use the Greenwich Meridian as the centre of the world? To give students the tools to answer these questions, this course uses underutilized literature from South Africa, the Pacific Islands, and South Asia as the roots of a new kind of canon. Students will grapple with the history of madness in three registers -- individual, community, and transnational. Within these registers lies a more pressing issue: can we consider colonialism itself a form of madness? Students will unpack a historical and literary madness that removes the centrality of the Euro-American story and creates a global story where the ‘mad’ are not simply a racial ‘other’.