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The Empire of Depression: A New History

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A webinar with author Jonathan Sadowsky

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This webinar will take place on 9 September 2021, 6pm-7pm BST (1pm-2pm EST).

Why does depressive illness seem so common now? Are there really more depressed people, or are we renaming various forms of personal stress as “depression”? Was the “melancholia” of earlier times a name for depression, or a distinct illness? How have Freud and his followers understood depression, and how have those ideas changed since Freud’s time? What are the origins of the idea that depression is “chemical,” and why has that idea caused so much controversy? And, what is it like to live not only with depression, but with all these questions so unsettled, and unsettling? These are the questions Jonathan Sadowsky will be exploring in his talk, The Empire of Depression: A New History, based on his new book with the same title.

Jonathan Sadowsky is a Professor of the History of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. His interests include the history of madness across cultures, the history of physical treatments for mental illness, and the history of psychoanalysis. His previous books are Imperial Bedlam: Institutions of Madness and Colonialism in Southwest Nigeria and Electroconvulsive Therapy in America: The Anatomy of a Medical Controversy.

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Organiser Freud Museum London

Organiser of The Empire of Depression: A New History

The Freud Museum, at 20 Maresfield Gardens in Hampstead, was the home of Sigmund Freud and his family when they escaped Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938. It remained the family home until Anna Freud, the youngest daughter, died in 1982. The centrepiece of the museum is Freuds study, preserved just as it was during his lifetime.

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