About the Series:

The History Department’s Shannon Lecture Series for 2016, commencing September 30, examines the social, intellectual and cultural history of health, sickness, disease and medicine. The lectures will consider cultural perceptions of the body, health and illness and will tease out some of the shifting patterns of treatment over the past three hundred years. It is the first lecture series at Carleton University to foreground medical history, reflecting a renewed academic interest in health issues that are currently being pursued in different departments.

Medical history is a complex, multi-faceted field of historical inquiry that touches on almost every other aspect of historical study, including politics, religion, science, gender, race and culture. Scholars in this field are captivated by the many ways it can provide glimpses into the mindsets of people in the past, and by the relevance of past concepts of disease and medicine to current heath care challenges. While one lecture series is unable to capture all the intriguing aspects of this historical field, we are thrilled to welcome four scholars who will draw attention to a diverse spectrum of topics, including mental health, disability, First Nations’ experience in the healthcare system, and even death. This public lecture series is made possible by the Shannon Fund, an endowment created by an anonymous friend of the Department of History.

Friday, September 30, 2016, 2:30 P.M.

Trials of Madness: Civil Law and Lunacy in a Trans-Atlantic World During the 18th and 19th Centuries

Dr. James Moran (Department of History, University of Prince Edward Island)

Special Reception Event: During the reception guests will have the opportunity to explore the Remedies, Elixirs, and Medical Men exhibit from the Pinhey’s Point Foundation, which explores health care in nineteenth-century March Township and Bytown, drawing on documentation and artifacts from Ottawa’s Pinhey family and their circle.

The Hon. Hamnett Pinhey apprenticed in London with a surgeon, and though he never practised the profession he brought a ship apothecary kit and numerous medical books with him to Canada in 1820 and assisted neighbours with medical problems on the frontier in the absence of physicians.

The exhibit also surveys the lives of Dr A.J. Christie of Bytown, Pinhey’s son-in-law Dr Hamnett Hill, and Christie’s grandson who had a pharmacy on Sparks Street in the 1870s and an aerated water factory on Queen.  These Ottawa personalities and a selection of Pinhey’s 18th and 19th century medical books are set in the context of changing medical knowledge over the course of the 19th century.

The exhibition will be housed in Carleton University’s Department of History, 4th floor Paterson Hall, from September through December 2016.

Where: the lecture will take place in the Multi-Media Lab, Discovery Centre (482), 4th floor MacOdrum Library starting at 2:30pm, followed by a reception in the History Lounge (433PA) at 4pm.

About Dr. Moran

Dr. James Moran

Dr. James Moran

James Moran is an associate professor in the history department at the University of Prince Edward Island.  He researches and writes about the history of disease, medicine and mental health.  Recent publications include,‘Travails of Madness: New Jersey, 1800-1870’, in Waltraud Ernst, ed., Work Therapy, Psychiatry and Society, c. 1750 – 2010 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016) and, with Lisa Chilton, ‘Mad Migrants and the Reach of English Civil Law,’ in Marjory Harper ed., The Past and Present of Migration and Mental Health (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).  He is in the completion stages of a book entitled, Madness on Trial: English Civil Law and Lunacy in trans-Atlantic Context.

Trials of Madness: Civil Law and Lunacy in a Trans-Atlantic World

Friday, October 14, 2016, 2:30-4 PM

Protection vs Personal Liberty:  Case Law and Disability in 20th Century Ontario

Dr. Melanie Panitch (School of Disability Studies, Ryerson University)

Reception and exhibit launch – 4 PM

Envisioning Technologies, an accessible exhibit dedicated to the history of educational technologies for people who are blind or partially sighted in Canada from 1820-present.

Where: History Lounge, 433 Patterson Hall

In November 1982, a case came to Perth, in Lanark County Court, as Clark vs Clark. Justin Clark, was a 21 year old man with cerebral palsy who lived in Rideau Regional Centre, an institution in which he had lived since he was two. He wished to leave but was opposed in this by his father who sought to have him legally declared mentally incompetent and in need of care, supervision and control. Justin, with the help of friends retained a lawyer to represent him in court where he asserted his right to make his own decisions. The case was heard under the Mental Incompetency Act of Ontario.

The case for incompetency was deeply rooted in the inescapable weight and authority of our social and cultural history – eugenics, public policy, legislative reports and scientific classifications – all deemed to be sufficient justification for extreme infringements of personal liberty. The case for competency asserted alternate framings and analysis. It identified significance in domains previously considered unremarkable and embraced a vision of a life of dignity, liberty and self-determination.

The lecture will probe this case and the Judgement through the lens of the new disability history which seeks to amplify the voices and perspective of people whose place in history has been almost invisible.

About Dr. Panitch

Dr. Melanie Panitch

Dr. Melanie Panitch

For over thirty years I have been an activist, advocate, researcher and educator, with strong roots in the community living movement. I have designed and taught courses on human rights and disability at the Universities of Guyana and the West Indies and lectured at international conferences in Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador and Uruguay. During the eighties I launched a new inclusive post-secondary education program at Humber College. Throughout the nineties I was Coordinator of Social Development and Public Education at The Roeher Institute and part of a research team examining disability-related policies in Canada. In 2006, I received my Doctorate in Social Welfare from the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York. For my doctoral research I undertook a gendered history of the Canadian Association for Community Living which focused on campaigns led by activist mothers to close institutions and secure human rights for disabled people across Canada. This study was published by Routledge under the title: Disability, Mothers and Organization: Accidental Activists (2008).

My current and future teaching and research interests are in concert with the new disability history and its emphasis on the cultivation of activist disability oral history and disability-based archives. In 2006 the School of Disability Studies was offered the extraordinary gift of the library and personal papers of Dr. Tanis Doe, founder of the national Disabled Women’s Network (DAWN Canada). From April 18- July 11, 2008, Out From Under: Disability, History and Things to Remember, our groundbreaking exhibit on activist disability history was mounted at the Royal Ontario Museum. (See the Activism segment of this website, under Exhibitions.) I hope that through these initiatives our students will be stimulated to explore the histories of significant leaders, important symbols and critical moments in activist disability history in Canada and beyond.

Dr. Melanie Panitch Poster

Friday, November 18, 2016, 2:30-4 PM

Medicare and Medicine Chests: Indian Hospitals and the Construction of National Health in Postwar Canada

Dr. Maureen Lux  (Brock University)

Where: The lecture will take place at 282 University Centre. The reception will start at 4 PM in the History Lounge, 433 Patterson Hall


Two enduring narratives mark the history of health care in Canada in the decades after 1945. Better known is Medicare: often told as a celebrated and progressive story of the path from a hardscrabble provincial plan to the definition of national health that improved health care for Canadians. The other, by contrast, chronicles the continued and continuing health disparities in many, though not all, Aboriginal communities and the seeming intractability of ill-health. I discuss how these contradictory and competing narratives emerged through an analysis of racially segregated hospital care that served the interests of non-Indigenous Canadians, and how Medicare, not the medicine chest, came to define health policy for First Nations people. I explore how it became normal and natural for Canadians to see these intertwined narratives as separate and distinct by examining Indian Health Services and its Indian Hospitals.

Medicare and Medicine Chests

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 in
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