Madness Restrained and Unrestricted

Discussing the meaning of mental illness in China

by Maureen Moroz '19

Emily BaumEmily Baum

Emily Baum, a scholar of modern Chinese history, will discuss how the meanings of madness changed in early 20th century Beijing as care for those with mental illness shifted from the home to institutions. Her talk, “Madness Restrained and Unrestricted: Police, Families and the Beijing Municipal Asylum,” is this year’s Donald W. Flaherty Lecture in Asian Studies at Dickinson. The lecture will take place Monday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Stern Center Great Room.

Using police records from the Beijing Municipal Asylum, Baum will show how the meanings associated with madness underwent several subtle, yet significant, transformations following the advent of institutional care. Focusing specifically on the role that police and families played in this process, Baum will argue that perceptions of what constituted madness gradually broadened over the course of the early 20th century in China.

Baum is an assistant professor of modern Chinese history at The University of California, Irvine. Her research focuses on the history of madness and psychiatry in early 20th century China. Her book, The Invention of Madness: State, Society, and the Beijing Insane, 1900-1937, is forthcoming from University of Chicago Press.

The Donald W. Flaherty Lecture in Asian Studies is supported by a fund established by students, colleagues and friends of Professor Flaherty, a pioneer in the development of East Asian studies at Dickinson. The lectureship brings to campus scholars and speakers who reflect Flaherty’s lifelong interest in all aspects of Asian history, culture and politics.

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Published November 10, 2017