History PhD graduate publishes first book

Dr Sarah Pinto, who recently graduated with a PhD in History from the School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations, has turned her thesis into a book which will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in September 2018.

Picture of Sarah Pinto
Dr Sarah Pinto has turned her recently completed PhD thesis into a book to be published later this year. Photo credit: VUW Image Services.

The School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations congratulates Dr Sarah Pinto, one of our recent PhD graduates in History, for publishing her first book - a significant milestone for this emerging scholar.

The book, titled Lunatic Asylums in Colonial Bombay: Shackled Bodies, Unchained Minds, traces the historical roots of the problems in India’s mental health care system. It accounts for indigenous experiences of the lunatic asylum in the Bombay Presidency (1793-1921). Sarah argues that the colonial lunatic asylum failed to assimilate into Indian society and therefore remained a failed colonial-medical enterprise.

The book aims to disrupt that legacy of trauma and to enable new narratives in mental health treatment in India. It will be available from early September this year.

Charlotte Macdonald, Professor of History at Victoria University, has praised Sarah's work: "Original, courageous and evocative, Sarah Pinto's history of colonial asylums is a powerful work. Attending to the experiences of patients and their families, the soundscapes and spaces of the asylum, Pinto goes beyond existing understandings to show us the persistence, the failures and the consequences of a painful past. The book is a rich addition to the histories of colonial India and to health, and introduces a historian with a skillful sensitivity to people and difficult predicaments in the past and present."

Sarah completed her PhD in History from Victoria University of Wellington in 2017. Her awards include the ‘Bowen Prize for the Best Student in History, 2017', and the ‘Fr Henry Heras Prize, 2008’. Her passion for history and healing motivates her research and through her work, she intends to enable new narratives in mental health treatment.

Sarah's PhD supervisor, Prof Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, was excited to share the news about the book to School staff earlier this week.

You can find out more about the book, including ways to purchase on the Palgrave Macmillan website.