Ramos’ 'Bedlam in the New World' wins best book award

Christina Ramos, assistant professor of history, has won the Bandelier/Lavrin Prize for her book "Bedlam in the New World: A Mexican Madhouse in the Age of Enlightenment." Sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies (RMCLAS), the award is given annually to an outstanding book published in the previous calendar year on the subject of colonial Latin American history. 

Christina Ramos

“Bedlam in the New World” recounts the history of the Hospital de San Hipólito in Mexico City, the first hospital of the New World to specialize in the care of the mentally disturbed. Drawing on the voices of patients, doctors, friars, and inquisitors, Ramos treats San Hipólito as both a microcosm and a colonial laboratory of the Hispanic Enlightenment. According to the publisher, the book shows "how the emerging ideals of order, utility, rationalism, and the public good came to reshape the management of madness. While the history of psychiatry’s beginnings has often been told as seated in Europe, Ramos proposes an alternative history of madness’s medicalization that centers colonial Mexico and places religious figures at the pioneering forefront."

Ramos said she is thrilled to be recognized for her book alongside past winners she admires. Asunción Lavrin, one of the award's namesakes, is someone she considers an influence. “Lavrin is a total rockstar, a model of feminist scholarship, and a beautiful writer,” she said. “I am humbled to be in such great company.”

In addition to the Bandelier/Lavrin Prize, Ramos' book was also recently recognized with an honorable mention for the Alfred B. Thomas Book Award sponsored by the Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies (SECOLAS).