Thursday, Aug 13, 2020 7:00 PM
Atlanta History Center on Zoom
In her new book, activist, professor, and author Mab Segrest presents a scathing and original look at the racist origins of psychiatry, through the story of the largest mental institution in the world.
The Atlanta History Center welcomes the author of “Administrations of Lunacy: Racism and the Haunting of American Psychiatry at the Milledgeville Asylum” for a virtual discussion with GBP “On Second Thought” host, Virginia Prescott.
This event is free and open to the public. Join the discussion via the link below on Thursday, August 13, 2020, at 7:00 PM.
A Cappella Books will have copies of "Administrations of Lunacy" available after the event. Pre-order via the link below. At checkout, choose between the local delivery, curbside pick-up, or shipping options. For zip codes not listed in the above banner, select curbside pick-up or USPS shipping.
About the Book
Today, 90 percent of psychiatric beds are located in jails and prisons across the United States, institutions that confine disproportionate numbers of African Americans. After more than a decade of research, the celebrated scholar and activist Mab Segrest locates the deep historical roots of this startling fact, turning her sights on a long-forgotten cauldron of racial ideology: the state mental asylum system in which psychiatry was born and whose influences extend into our troubled present.
In December 1841, the Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum was founded. A hundred years later, it had become the largest insane asylum in the world with over ten thousand patients. “Administrations of Lunacy” tells the story of this iconic and infamous southern institution, a history that was all but erased from popular memory and within the psychiatric profession.
Through riveting accounts of historical characters, Segrest reveals how modern psychiatric practice was forged in the traumas of slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow. Deftly connecting this history to the modern era, Segrest then shows how a single asylum helped set the stage for the eugenics theories of the twentieth century and the persistent racial ideologies of our own times. She also traces the connections to today’s dissident psychiatric practices that offer sanity and create justice.
About the Author
Mab Segrest is professor emeritus of gender and women’s studies at Connecticut College and the author of “Administrations of Lunacy” and “Memoir of a Race Traitor.” A longtime activist in social justice movements and a past fellow at the National Humanities Center, she lives in Durham, North Carolina.