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ERIC Number: EJ827308
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Pages: 47
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0951-8398
No Time for Nostalgia!: Asylum-Making, Medicalized Colonialism in British Columbia (1859-97) and Artistic Praxis for Social Transformation
Roman, Leslie G.; Brown, Sheena; Noble, Steven; Wainer, Rafael; Young, Alannah Earl
International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (QSE), v22 n1 p17-63 Jan 2009
This article asks: How have disability, indigenous arts and cultural praxis transformed and challenged the historical sociological archival research into relationships among asylum-making, medicalized colonialism and eugenics in the Woodlands School, formerly the Victoria Lunatic Asylum, the Provincial Asylum for the Insane in Victoria, BC 1859-72 and the Public Hospital for the Insane, (herein, PHI) and most recently, the Woodlands School in New Westminster, British Columbia (1878-1996)? How can the experiences of "patients" often silenced or suppressed in archival historical sociology and in official institutional records be re-claimed through the textual analysis of official documents, the arts, oral history, and community engagement? The article unearths the unexplored dimensions of medicalized colonialism in the first critical shift--from 1859-97--from a minimal juridical state in which magistrates and judges determined the processes of commitment to one in which medical authorities as colonial administrators had greater control over PHI than in previous years. Through a textual analysis of clinical case records, patient files, legislation, colonial medical administrators' correspondence, and the records of the first Royal Commission Public Inquiry in 1894 into the abuses and deaths of patients at PHI, the research reveals the fissures within the discourses of colonial medical administrators and staff within the emerging medical-juridical apparatus. Gaps, silences, or truths untold in the official records are then counter-posed with insights gleaned from the art of First Nations, Secwepemc Tania Willard, oral historical work with Qayayt First Nations, Rhonda Larabee, on whose grandfather's land the Woodlands School was built, key reports from the independent community living, de-institutionalization, self-advocacy movements, confirming the systemic physical, emotional, and sexual abuses that went on at Woodlands, as well as with the testimonial narratives of the self-advocate survivors of Woodlands in their documentary film, "From the Inside/Out!" Analyzed relationally, these sources provide a richer understanding of the links between the disturbing past of PHI and the present legal struggles pertaining to Woodlands. Disability and indigenous studies are shown to challenge and transform ableist normalizing medicalized colonialism and its pastoral educational sociology. The article concludes that no time is a time for nostalgia about Woodlands or such related total institutions. (Contains 9 figures and 22 notes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada