Beyond the Medicine Bottle: Materializing Madness at the Morally Managed Asylum
My thesis joins archaeological methods and resources with archival research to explore asylum life in the nineteenth- and early-twentieth centuries. This work centers on two asylums in the United States: The Western Washington Hospital for the Insane in Steilacoom, WA and the Eastern Lunatic Asylum in Williamsburg, Virginia. Using source material from these case studies, I examine how the insanity was enacted and constructed through the curative practices that characterized the moral management system. My research also reintroduces the patient into discussions of the asylum, using the remains of real, lived experiences to examine how they navigated the psychical and social structures that gave shape to life inside these institutions.
Historical archaeology, material culture, the archaeology of institutions (prisons, schools, hospitals, etc.), field methods, phenomenology, therapeutic landscapes, landscapes of reform, objects of affect, spatial analysis, the built environment, and the history of psychiatry and medicine, nineteenth-century history.
In 2014, I graduated from Mary Baldwin College with a BA in anthropology and history, coupled with minor studies in psychology and public history (Theses: Blueprints to Control: Health and Spatial Organization in Two Historical Medical Institutions and “Best Obtained in Seclusion”: Landscapes of Healing and Pleasure at Marienbad and Baden-Baden, 1820-1880”). After a year of working in cultural resource management in the United States, I earned a MA in archaeology at the University of Manchester (Dissertation: Prison Break(down): Spatializing Resistance in the 19th Century Carceral Landscape).
“An Archaeology of Institutional Confinement: the Hyde Park Barracks, 1848–1886. Minidoka: an American Concentration Camp.” Published in Post-Medieval Archaeology. 2016. Vol 50(3). 534–535.
“Best Obtained in Seclusion”: Landscapes of Healing and Pleasure at Marienbad and Baden-Baden, 1820-1880”. Published in Tuft’s Historical Review. 2014. Vol 7 (1). 31-57. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxpjqDUtMK-WcXhUcE9LdHRDWnM/view
“Kindly Hearts and Tender Hands”: Exploring the Asylum and Patient Narratives through the Archaeological Record” Society for the Social History of Medicine Conference (2018).
“Materia Moral: A Materiality of Madness at the Morally Managed Asylum” Constructing Knowledges: Environment as Context (2018).
“Music, Flowers, [and] Open Air”: Material Perspectives on Nature, the Moral Management, and the Patient” Material Culture of Psychiatry Conference (2018).
“Prison Break(down): Spatializing Resistance in the 19th Century Carceral Landscape.” Landscapes of Power: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on Power and Place (2017).
“————-” Post-Medieval Archaeology Congress (2017).
“Best Obtained in Seclusion”: Landscapes of Healing and Pleasure at Marienbad and Baden-Baden, 1820-1880”. Capstone Festival, Mary Baldwin College (2014).
“Blueprints to Control: Health and Spatial Organization in Two Historical Medical Institutions.” 50th Annual Meeting of the Southern Anthropological Society (2014).