Wendy Gonaver: Jailing People with Mental Illness, Part 2

Today we welcome a second guest post from Wendy Gonaver, author of The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840–1880, just published this month by UNC Press.  You can read the first installment here. Though the origins of asylums can be traced to Europe, the systematic segregation of the mentally ill into specialized… Continue Reading Wendy Gonaver: Jailing People with Mental Illness, Part 2

Wendy Gonaver: Jailing People with Mental Illness, Part 1

Today we welcome the first of two guest posts from Wendy Gonaver, author of The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840–1880, just published this month by UNC Press. Though the origins of asylums can be traced to Europe, the systematic segregation of the mentally ill into specialized institutions occurred in the Unites… Continue Reading Wendy Gonaver: Jailing People with Mental Illness, Part 1

Kathryn Shively Meier: Civil War Soldier Trauma in Unexpected Places

Soldiers on both sides pegged environmental circumstances as some of the most serious stressors of the war. Privates through non-commissioned officers, common soldiers rarely had traveled far from home before deploying. That meant the vast majority of them were transported to foreign environments that appeared extremely threatening based on popular notions of disease causation. Lacking conceptions of germ theory or insect-borne illness (theories developed in the 1870s and 80s respectively), mid-century Americans widely believed that a sudden change of location or weather and the air, water, and terrain of certain locales (particularly those of the South) caused life-threatening diseases, such as dysentery, malaria, and typhoid. It was clear to soldiers that disease claimed far more mortalities than combat; indeed, two-thirds of soldier deaths by war’s end would be from sickness rather than wounds. Nature appeared to be the soldiers’ fiercest enemy. Continue Reading Kathryn Shively Meier: Civil War Soldier Trauma in Unexpected Places