Stout Research Centre Seminar: ‘There is No Depression in New Zealand’, Jacqueline Leckie, 26 June 2024

Wednesday 26 June at 4.10pm

Stout Research Centre Seminar Room

12 Waiteata Road, Kelburn Campus, Te Waka Herenga Victoria University of Wellington

‘There is No Depression in New Zealand’

Jacqueline Leckie

This seminar is not about Blam Blam Blam’s ironic 1980s song, or economic depression. But the song spoke to me about the denial of that other depression: the mental kind. Depression is much hyped in the media today and seen as an epidemic. I applaud the awareness and resources mental health issues may grudgingly get. I also argue that depression has always been here, hiding within Aotearoa’s history.  So I wrote Old Black Cloud: A Cultural History of Mental Depression in Aotearoa, recently published by Massey University Press. Depression could take sufferers along many different personal and psychiatric routes.  I will highlight what depression and melancholia meant and was lived through, including treatments, in Aotearoa’s history. I will also speak to the challenges of writing this history.


Jacqueline Leckie is a researcher and writer based in Ōtepoti Dunedin, a former J. D. Stout Research Fellow; now an adjunct research fellow with the Stout Centre for New Zealand Studies at Victoria University of Wellington Te Herenga Waka.  She is also a conjoint associate professor in the School of Creative Industries and Social Science at University of Newcastle, Australia, fellow of the New Zealand Indian Research Institute, affiliate of the Centre for Global Migrations (Otago), and co-editor of the Journal of Pacific History. Jacqui has taught at the University of the South Pacific, Kenyatta University and University of Otago. She has several publications but most relevant to this seminar is Colonizing Madness: Asylum and Community in Fiji (2020).

More information can be found here.