Katie Kilroy-Marac

Scholar (Anthropology), University of Toronto, Canada

Katie Kilroy-Marac (PhD, Columbia University) is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. Her research considers the social history of psychiatric thought, the evolution and naturalization of psychiatric categories, and the spaces in which local understandings of illness and suffering come into contact with (Western) psychiatric models. She is in the final stages of completing her book manuscript, entitled An Impossible Inheritance: Postcolonial Psychiatry and the Work of Memory in a West African Clinic (University of California Press), which is based on fieldwork conducted at the Fann Psychiatric Clinic in Dakar, Senegal.

Learn more: www.utsc.utoronto.ca and www.anthropology.utoronto.ca

The Passage to Marseille: Colonial Subjects and the Psychiatric Imagination in a Southern French Asylum, circa 1900

Between 1897 and 1914, the French colonial government transported 144 West African mental patients from Senegal to Marseille to be institutionalized within l’Asile de St-Pierre.  While this endeavor was, by all estimations, a failed colonial experiment, it nevertheless succeeded in producing a particular kind of medico-scientific encounter in which African bodies—and African madness—became objects of scrutiny within the Metropole itself.  This project examines the ideas about race, civilization, and madness that were articulated in and through this colonial experiment, and that emerged out of the psychiatric encounter between French doctors and African patients at St-Pierre circa 1900.