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Title: Transnational trauma : trauma and psychiatry in the world and Taiwan, 1945-1995
Author: Wu, Harry Yi-Jui
ISNI:       0000 0004 2730 0038
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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This study considers the history of trauma, both as a psychiatric concept and as a diagnosis, and its social and cultural representation from a transnational perspective after WWII. The intellectual evolution of trauma was determined by various medical, social and cultural variables, institutions, and people who wielded influence in the postwar world order as well as diverse local contexts. This thesis focuses on the globalisation and localisation of such concept and diagnosis shaped by international and local mental health experts at the World Health Organization and the National Taiwan University Hospital. Through the efforts of these experts, trauma not only became one of the most globally diffused psychiatric diagnoses, but also a hyperbole appropriated by Taiwanese psychiatrists to account for extreme forms of social suffering. Studies have criticised the universality and the Anglo-American-centred approach to the history of traumatic psychiatry. Scholars have also begun to explore transnational histories of psychiatry by systematically comparing or tracing the diffusion routes of psychiatric topics. Their methods of enquiry and problems solved, however, differ. My research analyses a disparate collection of evidence at the level of international organisations and from local aspects, allowing not only a critical reconsideration of trauma in the trend of global medicine, but also its reception, contestation and appropriation in the non-Western contexts. Guided by the works of medical historians, literary critics and cultural anthropologists, this project combines archival research with oral history interviews to challenge the existing historical accounts of trauma, and provide evidence of the limited capacity of globalised psychiatric norms and their reception and appropriation beyond the imagination of world citizenship. It argues that such scientific artefacts were not only produced through mutual reference between Eastern and Western experiences, but also measures of instrumental rationality employed by postwar internationalists to engineer their modernity in the Global South.
Supervisor: Mahone, Sloan ; Gerth, Karl Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History of medicine ; International,imperial and global history ; History of Asia & Far East ; history of psychiatry ; trauma ; mental health ; global health