Early Modern Worlds Seminar, Thursday 13 October, 11.15 am
History Faculty, George St., Oxford
Troubled Minds: “Madness”, Fear and Colonial Exclusion in Saint-Domingue
Marie Houllemare (Amiens)
By looking in depth at 38 other legal cases of insane free men from the French Caribbean colonies in the 18th century, this paper deals with the way “madness” was described, interpreted and dealt with in Saint-Domingue. What was labelled as mad in St-Domingue was in most cases a disruptive behaviour favoured or generated by slavery society and translated into European medical and legal languages. This legal category crystallised several patterns of troubling conduct but generated only one legal answer: systematic exclusion of troublesome people identified as mad.