Two recent articles

The UC Davis Disability Studies blog contains a list of recently-published historical articles dealing with disability (broadly defined). This month, the authors have included the following two articles of interest to historians of psychiatry:

Reaume, Geoffrey. “Psychiatric Patient Built Wall Tours at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto, 2000-2010,”  Left History 15(1)(Fall-Winter 2010-2011), 129-148. The article begins thus:

The purpose of the wall tours described in this article is to remember the men and women asylum patients who built, lived, worked and died behind the last remaining structures that still exist on the grounds of the former Asylum for the Insane, Toronto. The tours first started with a conversation. In spring 2000, Heinz Klein, one of the organizers for the Psychiatric Survivor Pride Week events, and an activist whom I have known since 1993, asked me to give a talk about the history of people who lived in the Toronto Asylum for the upcoming annual event organized to celebrate the contributions of psychiatric survivors/consumers in our community. I was skeptical and said a lot of people had recently seen a play based on my research which did a better job than I could of speaking about patients’ lives. Heinz then suggested I could give a talk outside by the 19th century patient built wall at the present day Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), not far from where the play had been performed in April, 2000. As we continued to talk the idea of a wall tour came up, though I can’t remember who suggested it first. Instead of a stationary talk by the wall, the idea was to give talks all along the wall about patients’ lives where they lived. The wall would be the central site of multiple talks woven together by the common theme of describing a history of patients’ life and labour on this site. And so began the wall tours with the first one held on July 14, 2000, Mad Pride Day as it is now called. To my amazement and delight, about fifty people showed up for the first wall tour, a harbinger of things to come in the following years.

The full article can be accessed at http://activehistory.ca/2011/04/new-paper-geoffrey-reaume-on-psychiatric-patient-built-wall-tours-at-torontos-camh/

Stebbings, Chantal. “An Effective Model of Institutional Taxation: Lunatic Asylums in Nineteenth-Century England,” Journal of Legal History 32(1)(2011): 31-59. The abstract reads:

The compulsory establishment of large public lunatic asylums under Act of parliament in the nineteenth century to address the enormous increase in the number of the insane raised legal and practical challenges in relation to their status within the law of tax. As a result of their therapeutic and custodial objectives, these novel institutions required extensive landed property and very specific systems of governance, the fiscal consequences of which potentially undermined those very objectives. This article examines and analyses the nature and legal process of the application of the tax regime to these asylums, concluding that it constituted a rare and effective model of institutional taxation.

  1. May 20th, 2011

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