This week Associate Professor Jacqui Leckie will give the JD Stout Annual Lecture on her current research, ‘“Insanity” in a Sea of Islands: Mobility and Mental Health.’ A/Prof Leckie is the JD Stout Fellow for 2018.
Date: 14 November 2018
Venue: Hunter Council Chamber, Victoria University of Wellington’s Kelburn Campus
Little is known about the history and suffering of people in the Pacific, labelled as “insane” or of “unsound mind”. It could be suggested that such silence reflects colonial and postcolonial neglect of mental health provision and stigma associated with mental illness. European “experts” also insisted that mental illness was rare within Pacific cultures, but Pacific peoples have long cared for loved ones who had conditions that psychiatrists would much later classify as mental illness. The mobility of Oceanic peoples is a defining feature of what Epeli Hau‘ofa termed “Our Sea of Islands.” Mobility could also bring mental dislocation for travellers, workers, migrants, settlers and patients. New Zealand has had an important role in the transfer of concepts and institutions of mental health in the sea of islands, including that of severely ill people to New Zealand psychiatric institutions. This lecture explores research into the history of mental health in the Pacific, where there is a New Zealand connection, through the lens of the mobility of people, concepts and institutions.
Associate Professor Jacqueline Leckie’s interdisciplinary research and publications are on the history and anthropology of New Zealand and the Pacific, in particular health, gender, migration and diaspora, ethnicity, colonialism, development, and labour. She is working on a history of mental wellness and illness in the Pacific. Colonizing Madness is under publication with University of Hawai‘i Press and this year she has also completed a history of the University of the South Pacific.