Madness in the Early Twentieth-Century Japanese Family: Writing Away from Psychiatry
Department of the History of Science
Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Location: Online, via Zoom
Professor Yumi Kim is a historian of Japan, with research and teaching interests in histories of medicine, psychiatry, gender, family, colonialism, and religion in East Asia and Pacific Empires in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Although it is often assumed that European-trained Japanese psychiatrists assumed control of the management of those considered mentally ill at the turn of the twentieth century, most afflicted individuals remained in the care and custody of their families. This talk explores both the history of how family-based care intensified in Japan despite the introduction of psychiatry, as well as the challenges of writing such a history through a psychiatric archive. It shows how most histories based on the psychiatric archive have rendered invisible a crucial condition that enabled family-based care in the first place: a domestic and moral economy of caregiving that relied on women’s physical and mental labor. By tracing the ways in which my project has shifted in focus from psychiatry to women's domestic caregiving, I aim to spark a broader conversation about the benefits of articulating the intellectual, social, and affective processes through which historians grapple with archival materials and write histories.
Science and Technology in Asia Seminar Series; supported by the Harvard University Asia Center
Convened by Victor Seow, Assistant Professor of History of Science, Harvard University
To attend the Zoom Webinar, register here.