Matthew M. Heaton

Matthew M. Heaton is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Virginia Tech.

Listed in: African Studies · African History

Black Skin, White Coats · Nigerian Psychiatrists, Decolonization, and the Globalization of Psychiatry
By Matthew M. Heaton

Black Skin, White Coats is a history of psychiatry in Nigeria from the 1950s to the 1980s. Working in the contexts of decolonization and anticolonial nationalism, Nigerian psychiatrists sought to replace racist colonial psychiatric theories about the psychological inferiority of Africans with a universal and egalitarian model focusing on broad psychological similarities across cultural and racial boundaries. Particular emphasis is placed on Dr.

Black Skin, White Coats contributes to a rich strand of work in the history of psychiatry that highlights—and in fact insists upon—not just the transnational nature of colonial and postcolonial psychiatric discourses, but the fact that these transnational flows traveled in many directions and crossed borders in surprising ways, often bypassing ‘the Metropole’ altogether…[Heaton’s book] will rightfully be regarded as an important contribution to the history of psychiatry in Africa.”

Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences