[Conference] Call for Papers: Redefining Leprosy / Disease through Heritage Preservation of Colonial Sites in Asia

January 18-19, 2019, Seoul, South Korea


Call for Papers is now closed. 

The Challenge

   The re-discovery / re-interpretation of leprosy in the late nineteenth century by the West provoked a flurry of international control and management techniques under the rubric of biomedicine to limit its spread across the imperial world. The recommendation for segregation and isolation of leprosy-affected people, as proposed by Hansen and his followers during the First International Leprosy Conference in 1897, in Berlin, led to the establishment of numerous leprosaria in the early 20th century. Thus, several significant leprosy settlements in Asia were built under the colonial legislation of three major empires in the early 20th century: the British Empire, the United States, and the Japanese Empire. While many missionary-run clinics and shelters were established to contribute to the medical care of leprosy-affected people in Asia, colonial powers enforced a mandated set of standards for their collective management and control. In partnership with colonial expansion, these policies of segregation and isolation, originally for hygienic and medical purposes by medical elites, served to benefit the combined economic and nationalist aims of colonialists (Macleod & Lewis, 1988), and promoted homogenized, self-sustained settlements to meet the medical and social needs of the sufferers. Due to the disfiguring of the sufferers and the fear of the disease, the leprosy policies indirectly reinforced social stigmatization against leprosy-affected people. Even after leprosy was found curable in the 1960s, leprosy-affected people chose to remain in settlements to avoid confrontation and social rejection. As a result, most leprosaria functioned as living places for hundreds of stigmatized people and their families into the postcolonial period. Due to their continued isolation from mainstream society, leprosy affected people and their history have been unheard, marginalized, and largely forgotten.

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[Travel] From forgotten to forgetting – the heterotopic Lijiang

By Pearl Wang

Myhistoricity Lijiang 1

In his poems, Ezra Pound describes Lijiang as

"The green spur, the white meadow," "Wind over snow-slope," "The purifications," which "are snow, rain, artemisia," and "the pomegranate water, / in the clean air, / over Li Chiang" surround beautiful people living in peace (Hishikawa, 2005).

Joseph Rock, an Austrian-American, visited Burma in 1923. As a botanist, his mission was to find Chaulmoogra tree for its possibility to cure the disease of leprosy. During an accidental trip to Lijiang in Yunnan Province, China, he crazily fell in love with this historic town and Naxi people. During his time of living in Lijiang for 20 years, his enthusiasm and curiosity led him to an adventure of exploring local plants, and the language and culture of the ethnic group. He, consequently, produced several books, including The Ancient Nakhi Kingdom of Southwest China (1948), and A Nakhi-English Encyclopedic Dictionary (1963). To Rock, Lijiang is "a magic Kingdom of wealth, scenic beauty, marvelous forest, flowers and friendly tribes" (Rock, 1947).

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