Event Title

Mental Institutions in the Cape During the Twentieth Century

Presenter Information

Bethany Burke

Presentation Type

Poster & Oral Presentation

College

College of Art & Letters

Philosophy

Session Number

2

Location

RM 210

Start Date

5-21-2015 3:00 PM

End Date

5-21-2015 3:20 PM

Abstract

Mental institutions during the twentieth century were used to house so-called ‘delinquent’ individuals. For the most part, the voices and experiences of these individuals have remained unwritten. I am therefore wanting to look at the connection between mental institutions in the Cape, South Africa and racial, gender and/or class segregation from patients’ perspectives. While in South Africa I will be going through the Valkenberg Hospital archives housed at the University of Cape Town library to gather data about patient experiences of race, gender and class discrimination that were common during apartheid. I want to be able to look at the use of mental institutions as a form of ‘disciplinary control’ and how it relates to the political process of the time. Other sources, such as government reports, hospital reports, and some patient files are available at the Cape Town National Achieves. These would need to be accessed and reviews in an attempt to give context an understanding of patient experience as mental hospitals after the Second World War to the end of apartheid. With the history of mental illness in South Africa being such an under studied topic, I cannot say what I will find. However, I am hoping that I will be able to obtain not only some statistical data, but give insight to the views and experiences of patients. While preliminary research shows that mental treatment during apartheid South Africa failed the African population, particularly African women, patient views for the most part remain under represented.

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May 21st, 3:00 PM May 21st, 3:20 PM

Mental Institutions in the Cape During the Twentieth Century

RM 210

Mental institutions during the twentieth century were used to house so-called ‘delinquent’ individuals. For the most part, the voices and experiences of these individuals have remained unwritten. I am therefore wanting to look at the connection between mental institutions in the Cape, South Africa and racial, gender and/or class segregation from patients’ perspectives. While in South Africa I will be going through the Valkenberg Hospital archives housed at the University of Cape Town library to gather data about patient experiences of race, gender and class discrimination that were common during apartheid. I want to be able to look at the use of mental institutions as a form of ‘disciplinary control’ and how it relates to the political process of the time. Other sources, such as government reports, hospital reports, and some patient files are available at the Cape Town National Achieves. These would need to be accessed and reviews in an attempt to give context an understanding of patient experience as mental hospitals after the Second World War to the end of apartheid. With the history of mental illness in South Africa being such an under studied topic, I cannot say what I will find. However, I am hoping that I will be able to obtain not only some statistical data, but give insight to the views and experiences of patients. While preliminary research shows that mental treatment during apartheid South Africa failed the African population, particularly African women, patient views for the most part remain under represented.