Workshop Modern Psychiatry in Rural Societies: Southeastern Europe and Scandinavia in Comparison (20th Century), which will be held in Regensburg on December 5-7, 2019 will bring together experts who relate research interest in the historical development of psychiatry in Europe during the 20th century. The focus of the workshop will be on the comparative consideration of the dominant psychiatric discourse in Southeastern Europe, related to the policy of institutionalization of patients with mental disorders in Scandinavia. Particular attention will be paid to examining the application of the then modern models of psychiatric care in the context of peripheral rural areas. The workshop is organized by dr. Heike Karge, assistant professor at the University of Regensburg, and funded by Bavarian funding agency BayFOR.

Photo from Postcard Collection of the Moslavina Kutina Museum. Inventory number: 8345-R-136; this is one of the buildings of Neuropsychiatric hospital dr. Ivan Barbot Popovača. This is a castle from the 18th century. It was once owned by the Erdody counts, a famous family. Photo posted with permission from the Museum of Moslavina.


Photo from Postcard Collection of the Moslavina Kutina Museum. Inventory number: 8341-R-132; left part of this postcard shows the city of Popovača and on the right side is hospital above which is written Moslavina Town. Photo posted with permission from the Museum of Moslavina.




Within the workshop, researcher dr. Jelena Seferović will present recent research findings on the activities of the only Croatian neuropsychiatric hospital. Her presentation entitled From “Moslavina Town” to the Neuropsychiatric Hospital: Possibilities and Limitations of Modernizing the Hospital in Popovača in Socialist Yugoslavia will deal with a comparative analysis of hospital everyday life of patients and employees during Second World War and its aftermath with their institutional culture of living in the mature years of socialism in Croatia. From the previous research of the archival material relating to “Popovača” dating back to the 60s, more specifically the period after the dismissal of its first director dr. Ivan Barbot, reveals a critical attitude towards his approach to hospital management. Namely, he was accused that, as it is reported in the regional newspaper Moslavački list in March 1967, “the hospital was until 1963 an abandoned asylum psychiatric institution without the necessary financial base and adequate professional employees and could not have any significant medical effect.” It seems that the second director of “Popovača”, dr. Peter Draganov, improved the organization of the hospital’s activities. Hospital wards and facilities have been renovated. The qualification structure of the employees has been advanced through their additional training and specializations. Also, the number of hospital specialist doctors and other medical professionals increased and its utility standard improved. The foregoing has contributed to changes in patient access and methods of psychiatric treatment. And while “Popovača” used to be known as an infirmary, asylum for the needy from the most backward parts of the country or the “Moslavina Town” due to its agricultural production and animal husbandry, crafts and the sale of its own products outside the hospital, in the late 1960s, the latter was placed in the same category with other psychiatric institution in the SFRY. The accuracy of the previously reported, largely negative connotations of the hospital’s description, is confirmed by the contents of the patient files of patients hospitalized in “Popovača” during and after the Second World War. Controversial aspects of the medical treatment of patients treated at this hospital, the debatable qualifications of employees and their (un)professional attitude towards patients are also evidenced by official documentation dating from the time when dr. Barbot was its director. Continued research assumes the comparative analysis of medical history data of patients treated at Popovača during the 1960s and 1970s with other archival sources, such as newspaper articles and professional publications in the field of psychiatry dating back to the study period.