Articles

Custodia e Cura degli Alienati: The Italian Legislation on Lunacy (1904-1909)

Italy was one of the latest countries in the Western world to pass a national legislation on mental health. Most regions of the Mediterranean peninsula became a unified Kingdom in 1861 with the exception of the Vatican State which reluctantly ceded its territories a decade later. By that time, all major cities had erected public… Continue reading Custodia e Cura degli Alienati: The Italian Legislation on Lunacy (1904-1909)

Liberty and Mens Rea: Insanity Trials in England (1760-1885)

The nineteenth century was not only about large asylums, institutional psychiatry, and welfare provisions. It was also the century that reshaped the way law professionals approached the subject of insanity. Influential and controversial notions such as certificates of lunacy, the MacNaughtan Rules, and "monomania" profoundly changed the relationship between law and madness in many Western… Continue reading Liberty and Mens Rea: Insanity Trials in England (1760-1885)

Civil Confinement in Continental Europe (1838-1905)

During the second half of the nineteenth century, much of continental Europe witnessed a period of significant social, political, and technological change. In the history of disability and mental health, these decades are considered the zenith of the institutionalization movement. As a protective and supposedly restorative space, the institution epitomized generations of state-driven policies for… Continue reading Civil Confinement in Continental Europe (1838-1905)

Confinement in America: The Provisions for Asylum Committal in the US (1880s-1910s)

As the United States transitioned from the destructive effects of the Civil War, the imperative of institutionalization increasingly gained momentum all over the country. With the construction of public lunatic asylums came the problem of regulating admission. By the late 1880s, every state had formulated specific laws for the care and custody of people experiencing psychological… Continue reading Confinement in America: The Provisions for Asylum Committal in the US (1880s-1910s)