Early Snapshots of History LSJ/CHID 332 13 April 2010 Please keep in mind that Disability history is everywhere but just not in the histories we write.* Historical analysis on issues related to disability is only just beginning. This overview is a selective glance at the history we know about the western world; and greatly simplified. Evidence of the models can be identified in the material presented. * Baynton, Douglas. 2
Ancient World: Greek and Roman A time that can be characterized in part by: Infanticide Exposed deformed infants Variations from norm unacceptable Not universal practice Fear of the gods Birth defects as omen
Gods are displeased with some wrongdoing Sacrificed as appeasement 3 Greece Aristotle, Politics (350 BCE) Utopian, ideal leaders, beauty Deformed shall not be reared Impossible ideals Aristotle, Generation of Animals Female as mutilated male (less perfectly formed) Monstrous births (inhuman form) explained by natural causes 4 Rome
Roman laws denied rights to individuals who were deaf and/or mentally disabled because they were seen as irrational. However, military medicine and support provided for wounded veterans. Hippocratic medicine (450 BCE-1600 CE) Imbalance of body is the natural cause of epilepsy, melancholy, etc. 5 Western Religion Rules
Judeo-Christian Traditions Roman Catholic Church 6 Judeo-Christian Traditions Old Testament: Leviticus List of disabled people who must be excluded from rituals; must not defile the divine with impurity. Bear the burden of sin. Although what about role of prophets? Holy fool? New Testament Jesus encounters (and cures?) the sick, blind. Disability becomes a target of charity.
7 Medieval Europe One large category of misfortune individuals Those experiencing poverty, illness, and/or disabilities. All seen as inevitable Part of Gods diverse creation (Saint Augustine 400 CE) Disabilities = Gods power over the natural world Salvation of the rich through gifts to poor Small hospices Hotel-Dieu (651 CE in Paris) 19,000 leprosariums; leprosy shunned. Begging as occupation License, guilds, competition.
Children deliberately maimed for profit or taught to fake. 8 Middle Ages 1388 The Statute of Cambridge ("Poor Law") Distinguished between "sturdy beggars capable of work "impotent beggars incapacitated by age or infirmity No special provision of support for the impotent beggars.
For the next two centuries the aged and infirm depended upon charity for survival. Medieval court amusement Jester/dwarf, fool/idiot, epileptic, conjoined twins as objects of ridicule; bought as gifts, pets. Royalty display their curiosity collections. 9 Religion (Protestant & Catholic) Disability as sin Demonic seizures.
Birth defects tied to witchcraft. Pope Innocent VIII proclaimed a Faith healing Miracle of Saints Cosmas and Damian (1495) war against witches (1484). During the next 300 years=100,000 witch trials. Mental illness was treated by tying up people in churches; other disabilities had the sign of the cross shaved into their heads.
Martin Luther writes that mentally disabled have no soul and should be killed (1517). 10 Some Things Begin to Change Power of Church weaken Death not solution Science/wealth develops Isolate to protect society (power of the state) 11 Early Modern
Renaissance Developments in Human Understanding (experience & reason) Ideal body glorified again (Michelangelo's David) Early Asylums (Catholic Church) State and Poverty English Poor Law (1601) aka Welfare Paris outlaws Begging (1657) Explanation of Biological Origin/Treatment Natural/Monstrous concepts becoming Normal/Defective Understanding Difference - Intellectual Disability/ Mental Illness Philosophers promote REASON over authority. Rational, universal man as liberal democratic ideal. Natural inferiority based on gender, race. 12
Education: Sensory 1749 Denis Diderot Letter on the Blind Rejects spiritual/sin as cause of blindness. Blind people have skills and intelligence and should be educated. 1784 Paris, first school for the blind. 1820 Louis Braille, blind student & teacher. 1831 Boston, Perkins school for the Blind. 13 Education: Developmental Disabilities 1840s, Paris then US
Edouard Seguin, apostle to the idiots. Teach sensory-motor control. 1848 Boston, School for Idiotic and Feebleminded Youth. Goal to train in job skills (if jobs available). 1870s, England and US residential schools. Universal education and those who dont fit. By 1875, claims that mental deficiency was increasing, and need to build larger custodial institutions, hidden away, permanent care,
protect society. Inmates as unpaid workers; self-sufficient colonies. 1894 Rome State Asylum for Unteachable Idiots. 14 Idiots Diagnoses and Degeneration Theory 1848 Samuel G. Howe, ON THE CAUSES OF IDIOCY 1866 J. Langdon Down, OBSERVATIONS ON AN ETHNIC CLASSIFICATION OF IDIOCY E. G., aged 8 years. This poor creature may be taken as a type of the lowest kind of
idiocy. The probable causes are hereditary ones. The grand-parents were very scrofulous and unhealthy. The parents were apparently healthy, but gave themselves up to excessive sensual indulgence. We have examples of retrogressionor departure from one type and the assumption of the characteristics of another. Down coined term mongolism to characterize people with intellectual impairment as equivalent to people of different races. Evolutionary throwbacks to a lower ancestral race.
Also criminals were explained as throwbacks to animal type, lacking human moral sense. 15 History of Institutions for People with Mental Impairments 1403 Londons Bethlehem asylum (Bedlam) By 1700, France had 100 general hospitals, mixed poor, sick, disabled, mental disorders. Until late 1800s, most lived in family/community Able to contribute in
pre-industrial economy; work in home, fields; unpaid labor still valued. 16 Abuses in Madhouses (1700-1850) Bedlam hospital provided Sunday afternoon entertainment. The chained patients were placed in cells and galleries. The asylum received large sums of money from the visitors until 1770 when it was decided that they tended to disturb the tranquility of the patients by making sport and diversion of the miserable inhabitants so admission by ticket only. 1848 Dorothea Dix (USA)
"More than 9000 idiots, epileptics, and insane in these United States are destitute of appropriate care and protection. Bound with galling chains, bowed beneath fetters and heavy iron balls, attached to drag-chains, lacerated with ropes, scourged with rods, and terrified beneath storms of profane execrations and cruel blows; now subject to jibes, and scorn, and torturing tricks, now abandoned to the most loathsome necessities or subject to the vilest and most outrageous violations." 17 The Rise of the American Institution: Moral Treatment for Disability 1841- 1870s Dorothea Dix advocacy She was concerned about the number of disabled individuals in prisons.
30 state public institutions for people with mental impairments built (segregated from prisoners). 1870s Institutions grew in size Overcrowded and minimal support provided Segregation (out of sight, out of mind) Commitment by family members easy. 18 The Rise Of The American Institution By 1850, 55 asylums housing 45,000 known insane persons 1870 -1880 Census:
PWMD= 97 to 183 / 100,000 PWID= 64 to 153 / 100,000 By 1900, 328 institutions housing 200,000 people By 1955, estimated 560,000 people institutionalized in USA. 19 The asylum: from moral to medical Initial benevolent goals of reformed asylums. Moral treatment (self-control) Calm environment, social activities, baths/diet. Small private retreats for the wealthy. In US, many run by Quakers. By 1870s, US and England public institutions Huge size, poorly funded. No real therapy, but premised on science of heredity and idea of brain lesions as cause. Growth of psychiatric profession, interests.
20 Popular Culture: Freak Show (1840-1940) Captain Ahab, bitter and deformed, in Moby Dick Classic children's tales disabled people are evil: The deformed, cannibalistic witch in Hansel and Gretel. 1845 Captain Hook, the "limb-missing, patched-eye pirates of Robert Louis Stevensons Treasure Island. 1885 The queen in Snow White, who becomes a "wartnosed, hunched-over witch" to poison Snow White, and other disabled characters are wicked. 1845
21 Social construction of freaks Circus sideshows. Display and entertain. Real and not-real disabilities, identities. Make a living (how exploitative?) Replaced by medical power/scientific approach to disability:
Bodies displayed at medical museum, Presentations at scientific meetings, Todays documentaries. 22 Science Rules Disability Prevention Disability Cured 23 Eugenics Sir Francis Galton "Eugenics is the study of the agencies under social
control that seek to improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations either physically or mentally." * Strong nexus between eugenics and institutionalization *Francis Galton, Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development (London: Macmillan, 1883). 24 From segregation to prevention of unfit births = the eugenics movement 1900-1940 Social costs, burden of supporting the feebleminded and their offspring. vs. desirable traits = white, middleclass norms. US sterilizes 60,000
people in institutions. 25 Time Line 1920 The Permission to Destroy Life Unworthy of Life, Karl Binding, a lawyer, & Alfred Hoche, a psychiatrist (German). 1927 Buck v. Bell United States Supreme Court upheld the concept of eugenic sterilization for people considered genetically "unfit." Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., stated: "Three generations of imbeciles are enough. Upheld Virginia's sterilization statute which provided for
similar laws in 30 states, under which an estimated 65,000 Americans were sterilized without their own consent 26 Time Line 1933 Nazi Germany between 1933-1939, 375,000 people in Germany sterilized. 1939 T4 program beginning of Germanys Euthanasia program murdered approximately 275,000 people with disabilities. After WWII, eugenics began to be questioned in the US and went, some would argue, underground. 27 Ice Pick Lobotomy
In 1936, Walter Freeman performed his first lobotomy operation. Insert an ordinary ice pick above each eye of a patient with only local anesthetic Drive it through the thin bone with a light tap of a mallet Swish the pick back and forth like a windshield wiper and
A formerly difficult patient is now passive. Used it to cure various symptoms Psychosis to depression to neurosis to criminality. Assembly line lobotomies, going from one patient to the next with his gold-plated ice pick. ICE PICK LOBOTOMY 29
Ice Pick Lobotomy Between 1939 and 1951, over 18,000 lobotomies were performed in the US, and many more in other countries. It was often used on convicts, and in Japan, it was recommended for use on difficult children. The old USSR banned it back in the 1940s on moral grounds. In the 1950s protests began. The general statistics = a third of lobotomy patients improved, a third stayed the same, and the last third actually got worse. Rosemary Kennedy A sister of John, Robert, and Edward Kennedy,was given a lobotomy when her father complained about the mildly retarded girls embarrassing new interest in boys. Her father never informed the rest of the family about what he had done. She lived out her life in a Wisconsin institution and died January 7, 2005, at the age of 86.
Her sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founded the Special Olympics in her honor in 1968. 30 Small Groups: In your Country Groups Please consider these 3 questions and answer 2: In your readings were discussions on the Natural v. Monstrous as well as the Normal v. Defective dicotomies. How do you understand these; are they the same or different? Although overly simplified (and generalized) with lots of overlapping, Western history seems to suggest that disability was dealt with as follows: Eliminate, Isolate (particularly when poverty, communication, danger were at issue), Cure, Prevent, Accommodate/include those with disabilities. This general development SEEMS to be a common one followed by countries/cultures beginning to address disability even in the last few decades. What reasons could explain this? Unlike other disadvantaged groups, citizens with disabilities have not yet fully succeeded in refuting the presumption that their subordinate status
can be ascribed to an innate biological inferiority.* *Harlan Hahn 31
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