Bedlam in the New World: A Mexican Madhouse in the Age of Enlightenment
A rebellious Indian proclaiming noble ancestry and entitlement; a military lieutenant foreshadowing the coming of revolution; a blasphemous, Creole embroiderer in possession of a notebook filled with pornographic content. These individuals all shared one thing in common. During the late 18th century, they were deemed to be mad and were forcefully admitted to the Hospital de San Hipólito in Mexico City, the first hospital of the Americas to specialize in the care and confinement of the mentally disturbed. In her current book-in-progress, “Bedlam in the New World,” Faculty Fellow and historian of medicine Christina Ramos reconstructs the hospital’s history, as well as the lives of some of its most notorious patients who fell afoul of the Inquisition and secular criminal courts, to write a new history of madness during the Age of Enlightenment.