Asylum Archives and Cases as Stories

  • Catharine ColeborneEmail author
Part of the Mental Health in Historical Perspective book series (MHHP)


This chapter takes up the question of the patient case record and its uses by historians. It opens a window into the world of ‘closed’ psychiatric institutions of the past through the prism of the archive, and the stories inside patient cases. In doing so, the chapter seeks to show how we might decolonise the writing of this history. By encountering the archive, the historian also makes an intervention to it; historians are now exploring the divide between historical evidence and personal reflection and are challenging the concept of the neutrality of the archive.


Archive Case records Ethics Patients Representations of madness Indigenous Decolonising madness history 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Humanities and Social ScienceUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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