Call for Papers:

Isolation: Places and Practices of Exclusion
Editors: Carolyn Strange and Alison Bashford

Abstracts are sought for a multi-disciplinary collection that critically examines enforced isolation in the 19th and 20th centuries. The editors seek contributions that explore the cultural, political, medical and legal dimensions of containment and exile. We invite submissions from scholars in cultural studies, geography, sociology, history, anthropology, and political science.

The exclusion of certain populations (eg. lepers, convicts, the feeble-minded, political prisoners) hinges on experts' and authorites' determinations of their undesirability and dangerousness: it entails the deprivation of liberty, the restriction of movement, and the imposition of behavioural regimes.

But isolation is also a matter of place-making. The exclusion of the undesirable can render places undesirable. However, these sites can also be re-made, their histories neutralised, memorialised, or even sanctified.

While isolation works to silence and hide, the isolated are never voiceless or invisible. Moreover, strategies of exclusion can also produce newly-politicised subjectivities and allegiances.

We seek essays that consider questions such as:

  • How do practices of exile and containment differ from each other and over time?
  • Which populations have been isolated? How has their composition changed? (eg. lunatics; refugees; native peoples; the infectious)
  • Which spaces have been made into isolated places? (eg. islands, urban zones, colonies, buildings)
  • How have isolation strategies been rationalised and how have they been contested? (eg. isolating people is a matter of debate, not a matter of fact)
  • How do places of exclusion figure in wider communities' imagination (eg. as visible sites of punishment; as places remote and unseen, yet known)
  • What renders places undesirable? (eg. gender segregation; crime and its punishment; disease and its treatment)
  • How have the isolated made their voices heard? (eg. escape, prison writings, formal complaints)

Possible places of isolation include:

  • Prisons
  • Native reserves
  • Leper colonies
  • Epileptic colonies
  • Feeble minded institutions
  • Refugee camps
  • Quarantine stations
  • Lunatic asylums
  • Lock hospitals
  • Places of exile

* Send an abstract of 200 words to either one of the editors
* Include a short c.v.

Important Dates:
Deadline for abstracts and c.v.s: 1 Oct. 2000
Decision date for contributions: 1 Dec. 2000
Completion of drafts: 1 June 2001
Workshop for contributors: 23-4 June 2001 (in Toronto, Canada)
Final drafts submitted: 30 Dec. 2001

The Editors:
Alison Bashford is the co-editor (with Claire Hooker) of Contagion: Historical and Cultural Studies (Routledge 2001), the author of numerous articles in Australian and British medical history, as well as the author of Purity and Pollution: Gender, Embodiment and Victorian Medicine (Macmillan 1998). She is Chair of Gender Studies at the University of Sydney.

Carolyn Strange has published several articles on prison history tourism. She is the editor of Qualities of Mercy: Justice, Punishment, and Discretion (University of British Columbia Press, 1996), the co-author (with Tina Loo) of Making Good: Law and Morality in Canada, 1867-1939 (University of Toronto Press, 1997), and the author of Toronto’s Girl Problem: The Perils and Pleasures of the City, 1880-1930 (University of Toronto Press, 1995). She is an associate professor of History and Criminology at the University of Toronto.