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Grant number: FA-58275-15

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Camille Robcis
Cornell University (Ithaca, NY 14853-2801)

The Psychiatric Revolution in France, 1945-1975

My project traces the history of institutional psychotherapy, a movement born in France after World War II. Anchored in Marxism and in Lacanian psychoanalysis, institutional psychotherapy advocated a radical restructuring of the asylum in an attempt to rethink and reform psychiatric care. It was originally theorized and practiced in the hospital of Saint-Alban, a small and remote town in central France where various doctors, intellectuals, and artists (including François Tosquelles, Frantz Fanon, Georges Canguilhem, Paul Éluard, and Tristan Tzara) were exiled during the war. The experience of living under occupation, they contended, was essential to their critiques of how madness was diagnosed, explained, and treated – not only within the asylum but within society at large. By proposing to truly 'disoccupy' minds and politics, institutional psychotherapy shaped various psychotic clinics and had an important influence on many intellectuals throughout the world.

Project fields:
European History; History of Science; Intellectual History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2015 – 6/30/2016