Visiting Scholars

S_heaton-matthewMatthew Heaton (Project Director)
Associate Professor of History, Virginia Tech

Dr. Heaton’s research expertise is in the history of psychiatry with particular emphasis on issues of race, colonialism, and globalization in Africa. He has published several books and journal articles on the history of health, illness, and disease in Africa, as well as a recent book on the history of psychiatry in twentieth century Nigeria.

Selected Publications:

Black Skin, White Coats: Nigerian Psychiatrists, Decolonization, and the Globalization of Psychiatry. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2013.

Health Knowledge and Belief Systems in Africa. Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 2008. (co-edited and provided introduction with Toyin Falola)

HIV, Illness and African Well-Being. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2007. (co-edited and provided introduction with Toyin Falola)

“Contingencies of Colonial Psychiatry: Migration, Mental Illness, and the Repatriation of Nigerian ‘Lunatics’,” Social History of Medicine 27, no.1. (2014): 41-63.

“Aliens in the Asylum: Immigration and Madness in Gold Coast,” Journal of African History, 54, no.3 (2013): 373-91.


44-Davis-King-e1350589319577King Davis III
Professor Emeritus, University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Davis is the former Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Mental Health and has held professorial positions in Mental Health and Public Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Texas at Austin, where he also served as the director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research Analysis. He has published widely on the subject of race and mental illness in African-American communities. He is currently the director of the “Central Lunatic Asylum for the Colored Insane Archives Project,” which is working to digitize the records of the Central Lunatic Asylum, an African-American mental hospital founded in Petersburg, VA, in the 1870s.

Selected Publications:

The Color of Social Policy. Alexandria, Va: Council on Social Work Education Press, 2004. Co-edited with Tricia Bent Goodley.

“Psychologists and foundations: New and continuing roles for psychological practice.” The National Psychologists. Vol. 16, #5 (2007): 14-24.

“Cultural Competence and Evidence-Based Practice in Mental Health Services: A complementary perspective.” American Psychologist. Vol. 62, No. 6. (2007): 563-574. Co-authored with Arthur Whaley.

“Expanding the Theoretical Understanding of Oppression. The Carl A. Scott Memorial Lecture.” Alexandria, Va: Council on Social Work Education (2002): 1-33.

“The intersection of socioeconomic variables, oral health, and systemic disease: All health care is cultural.” Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry, Vol. 21, Supplement 30 (2000): 40-48.


1403709002877Martin Summers
Associate Professor of History, Boston College

Dr. Summers is a scholar of African-American history, specializing in questions of masculinity and mental health. He is currently researching the history of African-American patients at St. Elizabeths Hospital, a federal mental institution in Washington, DC. The project uses the hospital as a case study in which to explore the intersections of the historical process of racial formation, medical and cultural understandings of insanity, and the exercise of institutional power.

Selected Publications:

Precarious Prescriptions: Contested Histories of Race and Health in North America. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014. Co-edited with Laurie Green and John McKiernan-Gonzalez.

“Diagnosing the Ailments of Black Citizenship: The African American Medical Profession and the Politics of Mental Illness, 1895-1940.” In Precarious Prescriptions: Contested Histories of Race and Health in North America, edited by Laurie Green, John McKiernan-Gonzalez, and Martin Summers. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014.

“Manhood Rights in the Age of Jim Crow: Evaluating End of Men Claims in the Context of African American History,” Boston University Law Review 93 (May 2013): 745-67.

“’Suitable Care of the African When Afflicted with Insanity’: Race, Madness, and Social Order in Comparative Perspective,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 84 (Spring 2010): 58-91.

Manliness and Its Discontents: The Black Middle Class and the Transformation of Masculinity, 1900-1930. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.


 utoronto_816Uzoma Esonwanne
Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Toronto

Dr. Esonwanne is a scholar of African literature. He has taught courses on postcolonial literature and race and psychoanalysis in African literature. He has written extensively on psychoanalysis in African literature, with articles appearing in several prominent journals in the field of African literary studies.

Selected Publications:

“‘Restraint . . . my style’: deliberative and mournful.” PMLA 129.2 (2014): 243–45.

“Text-Context: Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s A Grain of Wheat as Testimony.” Approaches to Teaching the Works of Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Ed. Oliver Lovesey. New York: The Modern Languages Association of America, 2012. Pp. 171–180.

“Orality and the Genres of African Postcolonial Literatures.” Cambridge History of Postcolonial Literatures Ed. Ato Quayson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. 137–170.

“Enlightenment Epistemology and the Invention of Polygyny.” African Literature: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory. Eds. Tejumola Olaniyan and Ato Quayson. London: Blackwell, 2007. Pp. 573–584.

“The Crisis of the Soul: Psychoanalysis and African Literature.” Research in African Literatures 38.2 (Summer 2007): 140–142.