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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2019

Psychiatry and Decolonisation in Uganda

Palgrave Macmillan


  • Provides the first account of the rise, influence, and eventual decline of Uganda’s psychiatrists

  • Offers a case study on the development of psychiatry as a transnational and global phenomenon

  • Utilises oral history interviews, giving voice to psychiatrists, community mental health workers, traditional healers, and Ugandan elders

Part of the book series: Mental Health in Historical Perspective (MHHP)

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xii
  2. Introduction

    • Yolana Pringle
    Pages 1-26Open Access
  3. A Place on Mulago Hill

    • Yolana Pringle
    Pages 27-57Open Access
  4. The ‘Africanisation’ of Psychiatry

    • Yolana Pringle
    Pages 59-92Open Access
  5. ‘Mass Hysteria’ in the Wake of Decolonisation

    • Yolana Pringle
    Pages 93-116Open Access
  6. The Psychiatry of Poverty

    • Yolana Pringle
    Pages 117-151Open Access
  7. Mobility, Power and International Mental Health

    • Yolana Pringle
    Pages 153-175Open Access
  8. The ‘Trauma’ of War and Violence

    • Yolana Pringle
    Pages 177-207Open Access
  9. Conclusion

    • Yolana Pringle
    Pages 209-219Open Access
  10. Back Matter

    Pages 221-259

About this book

This open access book investigates psychiatry in Uganda during the years of decolonisation. It examines the challenges facing a new generation of psychiatrists as they took over responsibility for psychiatry at the end of empire, and explores the ways psychiatric practices were tied to shifting political and development priorities, periods of instability, and a broader context of transnational and international exchange. At its heart is a question that has concerned psychiatrists globally since the mid-twentieth century: how to bridge the social and cultural gap between psychiatry and its patients? Bringing together archival research with oral histories, Yolana Pringle traces how this question came to dominate both national and international discussions on mental health care reform, including at the World Health Organization, and helped spur a culture of experimentation and creativity globally. As Pringle shows, however, the history of psychiatry during the years of decolonisation remained one of marginality, and ultimately, in the context of war and violence, the decolonisation of psychiatry was incomplete.  


  • health
  • medicine
  • psychiatry
  • postcolonial Africa
  • mental illness



Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Humanities, University of Roehampton, London, UK

    Yolana Pringle

About the author

Yolana Pringle is Senior Lecturer in the History of Medicine at the University of Roehampton, UK. Her research encompasses the history of psychiatry, humanitarianism, and violence and health, with a regional focus on East Africa. She has held previous posts at the University of Cambridge and the University of Warwick.  

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)