The Lives of Kenya’s White Insane


'The European', the project argues, was, in the colonial context, a constructed identity, based not only on skin colour but on social performance as well. Examining the ways by which mental illness was apprehended amongst Kenya's 'European' population, therefore, is liable to tell us much about the relationship between colonial ideologies, deviance and social control at a time (1939-1959) when 'Western' psychiatry is thought to have lost much of its earlier racial inflections.

Using 'European' case files currently archived at Kenya's Mathari Mental Hospital, the project also seeks to ask new questions of the problems and possibilities inherent in using the psychiatric case file as a biographical source.