1st Edition

Spiritual and Mental Health Crisis in Globalizing Senegal A History of Transcultural Psychiatry

By Alice Bullard Copyright 2022

    Spiritual and Mental Health Crisis in Globalizing Senegal explores the history of mental health in Senegal, and how psychological difficulties were expressed in the terms of spiritualism, magic, witchcraft, spirit possession, and ancestor worship.

    Focused on the effervescent and fruitful early post-colonial years at the Fann Hospital, situated at the famed University of Dakar, Cheikh Anta Diop, this book reveals provocative treatment innovations via case studies of individuals struggling for health and healing, and thus operates as a suspension bridge between scholarship on witchcraft and magic on the one side and the history psychiatry and psychoanalysis on the other.

    Through these case studies, this book creates a new route of exchange for healing knowledge for a broad array of West African spiritual troubles, mental illness, magic, soul cannibalism, witchcraft, spirit possession, and psychosis.


    Chapter One: Healing at Fann Hospital

    Chapter Two: Physiology of Trauma, Fear, and Anxiety: Polyvagal Theory

    Chapter Three: A Case of Impotence / Xala

    Chapter Four: The Man Who Makes Trees Cry: A Healer’s Art

    Chapter Five: Witch Narratives: Stolen Souls and Aggression

    Chapter Six: Devoured by Fear in Childbirth and Haunted "No-Good" Children

    Chapter Seven: Trauma Defenses: Denial, Dissociation, and Magical Thinking

    Chapter Eight: Ancestors

    Chapter Nine: Bouffée Délirante: Living Myth and Madness


    Alice Bullard (Ph.D. & ESQ) is a lawyer specializing in human rights, trafficking, personal status, and mediation. Previously, she was a professor of history at Georgia Institute of Technology, U.S.A