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Insanity, Identity and EmpireImmigrants and institutional confinement in Australia and New Zealand, 1873-1910$
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Catharine Coleborne

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719087240

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719087240.001.0001

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Insanity and white femininity

Insanity and white femininity

women in the public asylums, 1860s–1900s

(p.139) Chapter Five Insanity and white femininity
Insanity, Identity and Empire

Catharine Coleborne

Manchester University Press

This chapter argues that ethnicity found expression through gender in the patient case records, and it uses the tool of gender to explore the function and representation of ethnicity, at the same time finding out more about constructions and expectations of femininity for nineteenth-century female inmates and their doctors, through both quantitative and qualitative evidence. Read together, chapters four and five show gender in relationship and tease out some of the dominant strands of historiographical inquiry about gender and asylum confinement over the past few decades. In particular, it shows that some recurring themes/aspects of the case record material require further explication in the colonial context, such as the emphasis on reproductive health and the presence of imbecile women.

Keywords:   Femininity, colonialism, class, sexuality, diagnosis, occupation, disease, ethnicity, domesticity, vagrancy

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