• Accounting for Insanity: A View from the Archives

    Fall 2017 Legal History Workshop

  • Featuring

    • Susanna Blumenthal

      Julius E. Davis Professor of Law and Professor of History

      University of Minnesota
  • When

    Tuesday, December 5, 2017
    4:00 pm to 6:00 pm



    University of Minnesota Law School
    229 19th Ave. South
    Minneapolis, MN 55455

Early in his tenure as superintendent of the Bloomingdale Asylum for the Insane in upper Manhattan, the alienist Pliny Earle sounded a note of skepticism about the epistemological foundations of his own profession: “Science is at once lost in mazes of uncertainty and ignorance whenever it attempts to fathom mind itself.” Earle’s consciousness of the problem of consciousness, reflected in his extensive published writings and personal papers, provides an especially illuminating vantage point from which to gauge the powers and limitations of the new medical psychology as it was mobilized in everyday clinical interactions between doctors and patients. Read alongside surviving medical registers, ledgers, casebooks, and court orders from the Bloomindale Asylum, this paper will explore the ethics of fabricating expert knowledge, medical, legal, and historical.

Note: This is a discussion based workshop of work-in-progress with the expectation that those attending have read the workshop materials. Please contact Jacquelyn E. Burt at for a copy of the materials.

Contact Information

Jacquelyn E. Burt
(612) 626-5984

Contact Information

University of Minnesota Law School

Walter F. Mondale Hall | 229 19th Avenue South | Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-625-5000

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