Maʻi hoʻokaʻawale ʻohana (the disease that separates family): Hansen’s disease in Hawaiʻi, 1866-1969
Prof. Dr. Kerri Inglis.
The lecture will take place on Thursday April 14th 2016 from 19h30 onwards in the Damian Centre, Sint-Antoniusberg 5 (Leuven, Belgium).
From 1866 to 1969, approximately 8,000 persons were quarantined or exiled to the Molokai leprosy settlement in the Hawaiian Islands; but their story, in their words, has seldom been told. Endeavoring to recover the patients’ voices in this significant moment in Hawaiian history, Kerri Inglis will present an examination of the many letters and articles that patients and their loved ones wrote to the Board of Health and Hawaiian language newspapers in the 19th century, as well as oral histories that have been collected in the 20th century. Together they tell the story of a disease, a changing society’s reaction to that disease, and of the consequences of that experience for Hawai‘i and its people. From their writings we are privy to the most personal of moments – simple but profound experiences of living with the disease, being separated from loved ones, surviving and dying, in exile.