Stigma and Health Disparities

Presenter Information

Gabriela Reed, Yale University

Location

Harkins 301

Event Website

http://www.providence.edu/hpm/Pages/Conference.aspx

Start Date

23-3-2013 1:45 PM

End Date

23-3-2013 3:00 PM

Description

The stigmatization of leprosy has long been acknowledged as one of the primary obstacles to not only effectively treating leprous patients on a physical level, but also achieving their integration and acceptance into society. The Carville Leprosarium, founded as the Louisiana Leper Home in 1894, and the intense ostracism that it institutionalized, demonstrate one of the most influential expressions of this stigma. However, Carville residents were not passive in accepting their fate. The Star, a magazine founded by Stanley Stein and subsequently published in conjunction with his fellow residents, worked to combat such stigma. Building on the work of Heather John, this paper examines the first decade of The Star’s publication, from 1941 to 1951, and specifically explores how the magazine tackled questions of courtship, marriage, and love as these operated within the confines of Carville. By making such topics commonplace and even encouraging the development of romantic relationships, authors of The Star aimed to empower leprous patients to resist Carville’s restrictive regulations. Notably, these regulations included a ban on visitation between patients of opposite sexes and strong discouragement of cohabitation by married couples. Rather than emphasizing differences between leprous patients and the rest of society, publication of The Star in its inaugural years highlighted the similarities between leprous patients and others. Articles in The Star were inspired by, and strove to make widespread, the realization that the destigmatization of leprosy would necessitate granting the same human rights to those within the Carville Leprosarium as those outside its walls.

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Mar 23rd, 1:45 PM Mar 23rd, 3:00 PM

Combating the Stigmatization of Leprosy: How the first decade of The Star’s publication made the case for romantic relationships and the preservation of domestic life in the Carville Leprosarium

Harkins 301

The stigmatization of leprosy has long been acknowledged as one of the primary obstacles to not only effectively treating leprous patients on a physical level, but also achieving their integration and acceptance into society. The Carville Leprosarium, founded as the Louisiana Leper Home in 1894, and the intense ostracism that it institutionalized, demonstrate one of the most influential expressions of this stigma. However, Carville residents were not passive in accepting their fate. The Star, a magazine founded by Stanley Stein and subsequently published in conjunction with his fellow residents, worked to combat such stigma. Building on the work of Heather John, this paper examines the first decade of The Star’s publication, from 1941 to 1951, and specifically explores how the magazine tackled questions of courtship, marriage, and love as these operated within the confines of Carville. By making such topics commonplace and even encouraging the development of romantic relationships, authors of The Star aimed to empower leprous patients to resist Carville’s restrictive regulations. Notably, these regulations included a ban on visitation between patients of opposite sexes and strong discouragement of cohabitation by married couples. Rather than emphasizing differences between leprous patients and the rest of society, publication of The Star in its inaugural years highlighted the similarities between leprous patients and others. Articles in The Star were inspired by, and strove to make widespread, the realization that the destigmatization of leprosy would necessitate granting the same human rights to those within the Carville Leprosarium as those outside its walls.

http://digitalcommons.providence.edu/auchs/2013/panelc2/1