Most investigations of foreign-born migrants emphasize the successful adjustment and settlement of newcomers. Yet suicide, heavy drinking, violence, family separations, and domestic disharmony were but a few of the possible struggles experienced by those who relocated abroad in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and were among the chief reasons for committal to an asylum. Significant analysis of this problem, addressing the interconnected issues of migration, ethnicity, and insanity, has to date received little attention from the scholarly community.

This international collection examines the difficulties that migrants faced in adjustment abroad, through a focus on migrants and mobile peoples, issues of ethnicity, and the impact of migration on the mental health of refugees. It further extends the migration paradigm beyond patients to incorporate the international exchange of medical ideas and institutional practices, and the recruitment of a medical workforce. These issues are explored through case studies which utilize different social and cultural historical methods, but with a shared twin purpose: to uncover the related histories of migration, ethnicity, and mental health, and to extend existing scholarly frameworks and findings in this under-developed field of inquiry.

chapter 1|14 pages


Mental Health, Migration, and Ethnicity
ByAngela McCarthy, Catharine Coleborne

chapter 2|24 pages

Mental Health and Migration

The Case of the Irish, 1850s–1990s
ByElizabeth Malcolm

chapter 3|16 pages

Migration, Madness, and the Celtic Fringe

A Comparison of Irish and Scottish Admissions to Four Canadian Mental Hospitals, c. 1841–91
ByDavid Wright, Tom Themeles

chapter 5|18 pages

Locating Ethnicity in the Hospitals for the Insane

Revisiting Case Books as Sites of Knowledge Production about Colonial Identities in Victoria, Australia, 1873–1910
ByCatharine Coleborne

chapter 6|16 pages

A Degenerate Residuum?

The Migration of Medical Personnel and Medical Ideas about Congenital Idiocy, Heredity, and Racial Degeneracy between Britain and the Auckland Mental Hospital, c. 1870–1900
ByMaree Dawson

chapter 7|16 pages

Medical Migration and the Treatment of Insanity in New Zealand

The Doctors of Ashburn Hall, Dunedin, 1882–1910
ByElspeth Knewstubb

chapter 8|18 pages

‘Lost Souls'

Madness, Suicide, and Migration in Colonial Fiji until 1920
ByJacqueline Leckie

chapter 9|16 pages

Between Two Psychiatric Regimes

Migration and Psychiatry in Early Twentieth-Century Japan
ByAkihito Suzuki

chapter 10|21 pages

‘Suitable Girls'

Recruitment of British Women for New Zealand Mental Hospital Nursing Post–World War II
ByKate Prebble, Gabrielle Fortune

chapter 12|9 pages


Madness is Migration—Looking Back to Look Forward
ByBronwyn Labrum