I specialize in the history of psychiatry and the psychological sciences in Africa. I have extensive experience in East, Southern and Central Africa, dating back to the Peace Corps in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Zaire). My recent research has focussed on East Africa, particularly Kenya and Zanzibar. My current project deals extensively with photography and visual sources, particularly related to neurology and psychiatry. I also teach and supervise in the history of Global Psychiatry; the Psychology of Religion; and Gender and Sexuality.
Psychiatry and Empire brings together scholars in the History of Medicine to explore questions of race, gender and power relations in former colonial states across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Focusing on the intellectual histories of concepts of mental illness, mental healing and strategies of coping and resistance, this volume advances our understanding of the rise of modern psychiatry as it collided with, and sometimes underpinned, the psychology of colonial rule.
History of Medicine and Psychiatry
History of Photography
Psychology of Religion
At present, I am completing a project on the history of psychiatry and photography in late colonial Kenya. The monograph looks at the turmoil of 1950s Kenya as told through a unique photographic collection taken by a Canadian psychiatrist who ran the mental hospital in Nairobi during the Mau Mau war. This is an unusual approach to a history of psychiatry – opting to follow the trail of a physician photographer as he encountered healers, prophets, patients, and prisoners during the most tumultuous period in Kenya’s modern history. This project has become as much a history of photography as a history of medicine with the use, re-use and misuse of the images themselves an integral part of the story. My next project, now in the planning and preliminary field site investigation stage, is a comparative history of epilepsy and neurology across Africa.
'Hat on - hat off': trauma and trepanation in Kisii, western Kenya
Psychiatry and Empire
Psychiatry and the Practical Problems of Empire in East Africa
Psychiatry in the East African Colonies: A Background to Confinement
The Psychology of Rebellion: Colonial Medical Responses to Dissent in British East Africa