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Money, Marriage, and MadnessThe Life of Anna Ott$
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Kim E. Nielsen

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043147

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043147.001.0001

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Remembering Anna Ott

Remembering Anna Ott

(p.101) 8. Remembering Anna Ott
Money, Marriage, and Madness

Kim E. Nielsen

University of Illinois Press

This chapter analyses the messy impact of historical forces such as ableism, patriarchy, and institutionalization on Ott’s life. The justifying logic imbedded in her diagnosis and prescriptive institutionalization (re)wrote her life story—her past, her future, and how she would be remembered. The ableism undergirding Ott’s insanity diagnosis permeated legal, familial, and activist contexts both outside and inside the walls of medicine in the late nineteenth-century United States. The chapter then argues for biography as a powerful methodology to forefront lived experiences while simultaneously embedding those lived experiences in large-scale social and historical structures.

Keywords:   memory, historical methodology, biography, ableism, cemeteries, institutionalization, insane asylums, diagnosis

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