By Anne C. Rose

Within the American South on the flip of the 20 th century, the felony segregation of the races and mental sciences serious about selfhood emerged at the same time. the 2 advancements provided conflicting perspectives of human nature. American psychiatry and psychology have been positive approximately character progress guided by means of the hot psychological sciences. Segregation, against this, put racial characteristics acknowledged to be usual and glued on the vanguard of identification. In a society outfitted on racial transformations, elevating questions about human power, as psychology did, used to be unsettling.The advent of mental pondering into the Jim Crow South, even if, produced neither a transparent victory for racial equality nor a single-minded security of conventional methods. in its place, pros of either races handled the frame of mind of segregation as a damaging topic. Psychology and Selfhood within the Segregated South examines the tensions stirred via psychological technology and limited by way of southern customized. Anne Rose highlights the function of southern black intellectuals who embraced mental theories as an device of reform; their white opposite numbers, who proved cautious of analyzing the brain; and northerners desirous to switch the South through technological know-how. She argues that even though psychology and psychiatry took root as educational disciplines, a lot of these practitioners have been reluctant to show the sciences of the brain to the topic of race kin.

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85 Jealousy underwrote her criticism in part. ”86 For all her reading of the psychoanalysts, Smith remained squeamish about human perversion. She expected psychology to redeem without pausing too long to unmask. Like a preacher confronting sin, needing to be just intimate enough with the enemy to be repelled, she held herself to a higher standard. In this she followed her parents, prosperous Methodists. Neither of them revealed feelings. “Her private world we rarely entered,” she recalled of her mother.

Mental illness so jeopardized the pride | 25 | Before Psychology of southern families that coping could consume their energies, but in the utmost privacy if possible. 29 But whatever reason pushed kinfolk inward, one consequence was that household members were the primary doctors. Home treatments for all kinds of illness led field-workers from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, where generations of black doctors trained, to bemoan “self-medication” among rural blacks in the 1930s. 30 The line between lay and professional medicine was indistinct, however, and doctors were not blameless if families showed poor judgment.

43 Clearly guarding their own sense of self by making others a spectacle, these observers remained emotionally engaged with the inmates, albeit through feelings of fear. Melton McLaurin tells a more positive story. 44 Despite the fervent wish of asylum administrators for rationality and system, local mores worked as a countervailing force. Whether southerners viewed patients with superstitious distaste, family loyalty, or neighborly regard, they approached these sites in ways attuned to tradition.

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