Richmond Home
Dr. Manuella  Meyer
Dr. Manuella Meyer
Associate Professor of History
Global Studies Concentration Advisor: Politics and Governance
Africana Studies Ex-Officio Advisory Board Member
Associate Dean, School of Arts & Sciences

My current research focuses on the social and political history of medicine in Latin America.  Specifically, I am interested in the history of psychiatry and its role in public health projects.  My first book, Reasoning Against Madness: Psychiatry and the State in Rio de Janeiro, 1830-1944, examines the origins of psychiatry and how madness was managed.  It dialogues with historians and social scientists across geographical boundaries about public health, the history of welfare, gender, race discourse, state building, modernity and the socioeconomic organization of post-emancipation societies. 

I am currently working on a book, Making Brazilian Children: Child Welfare and the Psychiatry of Childhood, 1922-1954, that focuses on how mental health professionals understood children as the symbolic harbingers of modern nationhood, and how they crafted child welfare policies and initiatives to ostensibly develop children’s, and the nation’s, full development.

Grants and Fellowships

Fulbright Fellowship, 2018-19.

David B. Larson Fellowship in Health and Spirituality, The John W. Kluge Center, 2013-2014.

Selected Publications

Reasoning Against Madness: Psychiatry and the State in Rio de Janeiro, 1830-1944 (Rochester, NY: Rochester University Press, 2017)


“Of Grand Intentions and Opaque Structures: Managing the Hospício Dom Pedro II during Brazil’s Second Empire (1852-1890), Bulletin of the History of Medicine 89:4 (Winter 2015), 733-760.

“Sanity in the South Atlantic: The Mythos of Philippe Pinel and the Asylum Movement in Nineteenth-Century Rio de Janeiro,” Atlantic Studies Journal: Science and Medicine in the Atlantic World Special Issue 7:4 (2010), 473-492.


"Madness in Latin America,” In Greg Eghigian (ed.) The Routledge History of Madness and Mental Health (New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2017), 193-209.

Ph.D., Yale University
M.A., Yale University
B.A., Brown University
Contact Information
311 Humanities Building
(804) 287-6374
Areas of Expertise
Political and Cultural History of Latin America
Welfare and Philanthropy in Latin America
Sociology of Medical Knowledge