ICHG 2015 CFP: Asylum Geographies

International Conference for Historical Geographers 5-10th July 2015, London. Call for Papers.

Asylum Geographies

Convenors: Chris Philo, Kim Ross and Cheryl McGeachan (University of Glasgow)

Lunatic asylums, mental hospitals and other ‘places’ of mental health encounter possess fascinating geographies, with distinctive urban, regional, local, and environmental connections. Within this field, there is a small yet strong cohort of historical geographers, whose research takes seriously these spaces, exploring the specific geographies arising within the history of madness, asylums and psychiatry (see Philo 1997, 2004; Alderman 1997; Ross, 2014). Specifically, there is research addressing in various ways (conceptually and methodologically) a diversity of material locations, sites, buildings, infrastructures, instruments, furnishings, etc., associated with asylums of different kinds found in different periods and places (in Britain and elsewhere). Questions have been asked about how and why they have been made (‘engineered’) as they have, adapted, transformed and maybe abandoned (sometimes over centuries), as well as about the wider societal roles – of containment, care and cure, reflecting complex admixtures of coercion and compassion – that these spaces have been intended to perform.

Given this growing interest in asylum spaces, this session seeks to explore the geographies of asylums and the geographies in asylums. We welcome papers that think about the materiality of the asylum, the myriad ways in which these spaces have been located and designed across different scales and in different geographical periods and places. We equally welcome work that considers how such spaces are (and have been) imagined, experienced, felt, resisted, loved and hated by all manner of constituencies: doctors, superintendents, attendants, nurses and, of course, ‘patients’ (but also reaching out to planners, politicians, families, voluntary workers and many others whose lives have been touched by such spaces).

References:
Alderman, D. H. (1997) Integrating space into a reactive theory of the asylum: evidence from post-Civil War Georgia, Health and Place, 3 (2), pp.111-122.
Philo, C. (1997) Across the water: reviewing geographical studies of asylums and other mental health facilities, Health and Place, 3 (2), pp. 73-89.
Philo, C. (2004) A Geographical History of Institutional Provision for the Insane from Medieval Times to the 1860s in England and Wales, The Edwin Mellen Press.
Ross, K. (2014) The locational history of Scotland’s district lunatic asylums, 1857-1913, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Glasgow, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences.

Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words to Cheryl.Mcgeachan@glasgow.ac.uk by Monday 1st September 2014.

A decision on the papers to be submitted for consideration by the convenors of the International Historical Geography Conference, 2015 will be made on the 14th September.

For further details about the International Historical Geography Conference, please see: http://www.ichg2015.org/

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