By Matthew M. Heaton
Black epidermis, White Coats is a historical past of psychiatry in Nigeria from the Nineteen Fifties to the Eighties. operating within the contexts of decolonization and anticolonial nationalism, Nigerian psychiatrists sought to interchange racist colonial psychiatric theories concerning the mental inferiority of Africans with a common and egalitarian version targeting large mental similarities throughout cultural and racial barriers. specific emphasis is put on Dr. T. Adeoye Lambo, the 1st indigenous Nigerian to earn a strong point measure in psychiatry within the uk in 1954. Lambo again to Nigeria to develop into the clinical superintendent of the newly based Aro psychological health facility in Abeokuta, Nigeria’s first “modern” psychological sanatorium. At Aro, Lambo started to revolutionize psychiatric learn and scientific perform in Nigeria, operating to integrate “modern” western clinical idea and applied sciences with “traditional” cultural understandings of psychological ailment. Lambo’s learn enthusiastic about deracializing psychiatric pondering and redefining psychological ailment when it comes to a version of common human similarities that crossed racial and cultural divides.
Black epidermis, White Coats is the 1st paintings to concentration totally on black Africans as manufacturers of psychiatric wisdom and as definers of psychological affliction of their personal correct. via interpreting the ways in which Nigerian psychiatrists labored to combine their psychiatric education with their indigenous backgrounds and cultural and civic nationalisms, Black pores and skin, White Coats offers a foil to Frantz Fanon’s extensively publicized reactionary articulations of the connection among colonialism and psychiatry. Black pores and skin, White Coats can also be at the innovative of histories of psychiatry which are more and more drawing connections among neighborhood and nationwide advancements in late-colonial and postcolonial settings and overseas clinical networks. Heaton argues that Nigerian psychiatrists have been in detail conscious of the necessity to interact in foreign discourses as half and parcel of the transformation of psychiatry at domestic.
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Additional resources for Black Skin, White Coats (New African Histories)
Nigerian psychiatrists also disseminated their findings on the basic equality of human psychology through a variety of international engagement efforts. They published in highly respected international journals in their field, even creating one for a short time. They organized and participated in international symposia on global psychiatry. They wrote working papers for international organizations like the World Health Organization. The knowledge that transcultural psychiatrists produced became important not only for practicing psychiatry in non-Western environments but also increasingly for practicing in immigrant communities in the West (see chapter 3).
How different was the psychotherapy that Western-trained psychiatrists practiced from that provided by “traditional” healers? Could Western-trained psychiatrists work within traditional belief systems, or with traditional healers? What could they learn from one another? Could psychiatric principles coming from a Western cultural trajectory be effectively integrated into traditional belief systems to form a holistic universal therapy? No clear consensus emerged on these questions, but in all cases, Nigerian psychiatrists posited themselves as the possessors of the “real” knowledge that would ultimately serve a Nigerian population destined for a postcolonial modernity, and as the only ones with both the scientific and the cultural expertise to negotiate the integration of traditional beliefs and practices into that modernity.
J. C. Carothers, 1953 The position of lunatics in prisons is considerably worse than it would be if they were left to wander the streets. —C. E. Marlow, Acting Secretary of Health, Nigeria, 1957 Wh ile th is b o o k i s n o t ce n t r a l l y concerned with colonial psychiatry, it is important to provide some early background on psychiatry in colonial Nigeria in order to establish the professional context that Nigerian psychiatrists encountered in their efforts to transform psychiatric institutions from the 1950s.