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Grant number: FT-60989-13

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Sonia Song-Ha Lee
Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO 63130-4899)

Diagnosing Difference: Psychiatrists and Political Dissent, 1945-80

My research explores the intersections of psychiatry and Black/Latino politics in postwar America. Psychologists and psychiatrists constructed a body of knowledge that legitimated Black and Latino protest, and later stigmatized them as social pathologies. Psychiatric knowledge informed the shift from the therapeutic to the carceral state, as the psychiatric faith in the productive elements of Black and Latino dissent was replaced by contempt toward its destructive potentials. Psychiatrists were influenced by the broader discourse on crime, drug addiction and Black Power, but they also helped shape this discourse by exchanging the promise of community psychiatry with the predictability of psychopharmacology. Although psychopharmacology resulted primarily from psychiatrists' intra-professional debates about the efficacy of their treatments, it facilitated the carceral state's desire to control Black criminal behavior.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2013 – 7/31/2013