Old Black Cloud: A cultural history of mental depression in Aotearoa New Zealand

by Jacqueline Leckie

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Mental depression is a serious issue in contemporary New Zealand, and it has an increasingly high profile. But during our history, depression has often been hidden under a long black cloud of denial that we have not always lived up to the Kiwi ideal of being pragmatic and have not always coped. Using historic patient records as a starting place, and informed by her own experience of depression, academic Jacqueline Leckie’s timely social history of depression in Aotearoa analyses its medical, cultural and social contexts through an historical lens. From detailing its links to melancholia and explaining its expression within Indigenous and migrant communities, this engrossing book interrogates how depression was medicalised and has been treated, and how New Zealanders have lived with it.

About the Author

Jacqueline Leckie is a researcher and writer based in Otepoti Dunedin. She was a former J. D. Stout research fellow and is now an adjunct research fellow with the Stout Centre for New Zealand Studies at Victoria University of Wellington Te Herenga Waka, and conjoint associate professor in the School of Creative Industries and Social Science at the University of Newcastle, Australia. She is a fellow of the New Zealand Indian Research Institute, an affiliated researcher of Centre for Global Migrations (Otago), and co-editor of the Journal of Pacific History.

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