Program changes

We had some minor changes in the program on Saturday afternoon. Please note the slightly advanced time of the keynote lecture. The full program can be found here.


Final program

The final program is now available here. We are looking forward to meeting all of you in two weeks!

For those travelling from outside Toronto, you can find some informations about directions here.

Keynote Lecture

Now that we have announced the keynote speaker, Erika Dyck, we like to announce the topic of her lecture.

Locating Eugenics:
The Spaces of Science and Regions of Resistance

In 1928 Alberta introduced the first eugenics law in Canada, and ultimately launched the most aggressive sexual sterilization program in Canada. British Columbia was the only other province to enact a eugenics program, and it sterilized considerably fewer people. The Alberta program remained in existence until 1972 and sterilized 2,822 people, most of whom were deemed feeble minded and as such were not considered capable of providing informed consent. During the same period, healthy men and women were denied access to birth control and abortion services on moral and legal grounds. This historical irony has continued to influence the way that reproductive rights are negotiated; some groups in this arena are subjected to science while others are restricted from it. By comparing experiences within the eugenics program in Alberta, I argue that neither the law, nor the science of reproduction applied equally to all citizens. Aboriginal people, for example, were underrepresented in the early decades of the program, but as their cultural resiliency ascended in the 1960s they became targets of eugenic controls. Women and men shared the burden of eugenic sterilization, but their modes of resistance differed, as did the justifications for their operations. By looking closely at the Alberta Eugenics Program records I will tease apart these experiences and consider how this region gave rise to and maintained its stance on sexual sterilization, particularly when faced with criticism from public and scientific communities. Finally, I will consider new forms of resistance that have derived from the survivor community in Alberta as they work to produce a historical record of their past that successive governments have tried to erase.

Further, we have extended the submission deadline until April, 11th.
You can find the call for papers here.

Deadline Approaching

With the official beginning of spring we also mark the approaching submission deadline. Only 10 days left to submit your proposal.

Further, we will announce soon the keynote topic. Stay tuned.

Keynote Speaker

We have confirmed our keynote speaker and are excited to inform you that Erika Dyck (University of Saskatchewan) will be joining us at this year’s STS graduate conference.

Erika Dyck grew up in Saskatoon and started a BA in history at the University of Saskatchewan before transferring to Dalhousie to complete her degree in History. She returned to Saskatchewan and completed a Masters degree with Valerie Korinek in 2000. After a year working at a law firm in Toronto, she began her PhD in History of Medicine at McMaster University. Her dissertation has been published as a book, Psychedelic Psychiatry: LSD from Clinic to Campus (2008). It examines the history of LSD experimentation and how it fit within broader trends in the changing orientation of psychiatry during the post-World War II period.

From 2005-2008 Erika was the co-director of the History of Medicine Program at the University of Alberta, where she was cross-appointed to Departments of History & Classics and the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. In Alberta she taught history courses for medical students as well as history of medicine courses for undergraduates and graduate students in the Faculty of Arts, with particular emphasis on the history of psychiatry and mental health.

Dr. Dyck is currently engaged in two major research projects related to the history of mental health and psychiatry in western Canada. One is a CIHR-funded collaborative project on the history of the closure of long-stay mental hospitals, called “Open Doors/Closed Ranks: Locating Mental Health after the Asylum.” The second project, funded by SSHRC, culminated recently in a monograph called Facing the History of Eugenics which looks at individual cases of individuals who willingly or unwillingly underwent sexual sterilization surgery in Alberta in the 20th century. It traces their experiences through sexual sterilization procedures and the legacy of eugenics for influencing our perceptions of reproductive rights, disability and reproductive choice.

As part of her CRC objectives, she is currently working on a CIHR-funded project with Megan Davies (York University) called “Open Doors/Closed Ranks”. This project relies on an interdisciplinary team of researchers who are comparing processes and experiences related to deinstitutionalization or the closure of long-stay mental hospitals in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. Some of the results from this project are featured on the Canadian History of Madness website. As part of a Community University Research Alliance on Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada, she has also worked with scholars, students and community members to develop more inclusive resources on the history of disability, reproduction and eugenics in Alberta.