Madness, Masturbation and Masculinity in the Casebooks of the Grahamstown Lunatic Asylum, 1890–1907
Though there exists a wealth of scholarship dedicated to exploring the history and discourses of masturbation, a number of topics remain that still require ample academic attention and investigation. For example, only a handful of studies have engaged with exploring the concept of masturbation in the records of psychiatric facilities, and the history of masturbation in South Africa is still in its infancy. In this article, I seek to contribute to the scholarship of the aforementioned topics by exploring the discourses of masturbation in the casebooks of the Grahamstown Lunatic Asylum, South Africa, from 1890 to 1907. The exploration is a micro-study of masturbation that is delimited to a sample of men who were white, single and young. In doing so, I forgo offering a comparative analysis of the discourses of masturbation from different demographic groups, and instead aim to offer an in-depth exploration of the nuances, transformations and complexities in the discourse in only the aforementioned patient sample.