For two weeks in May, 2004, Dr David Wright, Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine at McMaster University, Canada, visited the Centre for the History of Medicine as our first visiting scholar under the 'Cultures and Practices of Health' programme.
David Wright is best known for his path-breaking work in the history of nineteenth-century psychiatry and has published widely on the social history of learning disabilities, psychiatry and the history of the family, and admission and discharge processes. He is author of Mental Disability in Victorian England: The Earlswood Asylum 1847-1901 (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2001); co-edited From Idiocy to Mental Deficiency: Historical Perspectives on People with Learning Disabilities (Routledge, 1996) with Anne Digby; and Outside the Walls of the Asylum: The History of Care in the Community 1750-2000 (Athlone, 1999) with Peter Bartlett.
Events organised around David Wright’s visit included the workshop ‘Ethics, History and Mental Disorder’ on 15 May 2004. He also led the Reading Lunch organised by the graduate students on Tuesday, 18 May, around the topic of gender and psychiatry in the nineteenth century (readings by Elaine Showalter and David Wright). To conclude the year's history of medicine seminar series, David Wright presented a paper on 20 May on his recent research, ‘Medical Diasporas and Maple Leafs: The Migration of Physicians to Canada in the Post-World War II Era’.
In addition to these scheduled events, David Wright’s visit also provided the opportunity for informal meetings with staff and students, and opened up new possibilities for collaboration and comparative research, particularly around the migration project. The Centre looks forward to further developing our links with medical historians based overseas, and wishes to thank Dr Wright for setting a marvelous example.