The Study of the Human Past

“Island of the Pariahs: the History of the Leros Psychiatric Hospital (1957-1995)”

Karydaki Danae

Research ProposalConferenceResearch ResultsShort BioPublications

Summary of the Research Proposal

The aim of my research proposal is to produce the first systematic historical account of the Leros Psychiatric Hospital (LPH), from its establishment in 1957, until 1995, when the first stage of its deinstitutionalisation was completed due to the actions of the Group of Leros. So far, attempts to produce such an account have only been made by psy-professionals. Hence, the first systematic historical account of the LPH, important as it is in its own right, will come to complement the social, political, and cultural history of Greece in the second half of the 20th century, as well as the very history of European psychiatry. Within this framework, my research proposal seeks to draw on a range of unexamined primary sources and secondary literature, in order to provide a narrative centred around three key topics: (a) What were the practices, policies and living conditions in the LPH in different historical periods? What are the similarities and differences with other Greek mental hospitals of the time, and how have the actions of the Group of Leros contributed to the reform of Greek psychiatry? (b) How can the LPH and the Group of Leros be historicized in the broader social, cultural, and political framework of 20th-century Greece? (c) What does the history of the LPH and the Group of Leros add to a comparative history of European psychiatry?

This research project was funded by the Research Centre for the Humanities (RCH), with the support of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation.

To view the conference’s program in Greek, click here.

The research results of the program “Island of the Pariahs: the History of the Leros Psychiatric Hospital (1957-1995)”, by Danae Karydaki
have been published in Greek by RCH Digital Library, as part of the journal PIXELS@humanities,
in the volume Research Results 2018: epistemology – space – health – history.

Read the article in Greek here.















Danae Karydaki was born in Athens in 1988. She is a 20th -century historian interested in historiography, social history of psychiatry, history of psychoanalysis, gender history, history of violence, history of human rights, and medical humanities. Her post-doc research, conducted under the auspices of RCH, focuses on the history of the Leros Psychiatric Hospital (1957-1995) in the context of 20th century social, cultural, and political history of Greece. She completed her PhD on post-war British historiography of mass violence with a special focus on the use of ‘psy’-theories in the study of history at Birkbeck, University of London, where she also worked as a teaching assistant at the Departments of History and Politics. She has published articles and book reviews in several journals and edited volumes and she is now preparing her monograph “The Meaning of Evil: History and Psychoanalysis in the Columbus Centre (1961-1981)”.





Selected Publications

  • Karydaki, Danae, ‘National Socialism and the English Genius: Revisiting George Orwell’s Political Views on Nazi Ideology’, Dapim: Studies on the Holocaust, (2016), 30:1, 53-73.
  • Karydaki, Danae, ‘Nazism’s Inner Demons: Psychoanalysis and the Columbus Centre’ in S. Bar-Haim & H. Tyson eds., Psychoanalysis and the Humanities in the 21st Century, Routledge (forthcoming 2018).
  • Karydaki, Danae, ‘Freud Under the Acropolis: the Challenging Journey of Psychoanalysis in Twentieth-Century Greece (1915-1995)’ History of the Human Sciences, (forthcoming 2018).
  • Karydaki, Danae, ‘A Greek Neverland: The History of the Leros Asylums Inmates with Intellectual Disability (1958-1995)’ in Simon Jarrett & Jan Walmsley eds. People, Policy and Practice: Intellectual Disability in the Twentieth Century, Policy Press, (forthcoming 2018).


Selected Presentations

For a list of presentations in Greek, browse to the Greek page.