Photographer Michael Kesterton took this photo as part of a series depicting life in the asylum. He visited the Saskatchewan Mental Hospital at Weyburn in 1953. Many of his photos blur the boundaries between staff and patient, subtly questioning who is helping whom.


The Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in History of Medicine was created in 2008 to support the research activities of the chairholder, Erika Dyck of the Department of History, and faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows engaged in the history of health and medicine. Our program has grown and has been home to nearly a dozen graduate students, and is part of a dynamic collection of faculty working in related areas of early modern science, gender and military medicine, to gender and sexuality in China, segregated hospitals in South Africa, and gender, sexuality, medicine and health in Canada. Visit the department website for faculty profiles. http://artsandscience.usask.ca/history/

Dr. Dyck’s chief interests are in the history of psychiatry, mental health, reproductive health, deinstitutionalization, and eugenics. She is the author of Psychedelic Psychiatry, which examines the history of LSD experimentation and how it fit within broader trends in the changing orientation of psychiatry during the post-World War II period. Her second monograph, Facing Eugenics, considers the way that individuals confronted the eugenics program in Alberta, how we have remembered this history, and how it continues to shape our understanding of family values. She is completing a book on the history of the mental hospital at Weyburn, with an interdisciplinary team of people with experiences in history and mental health.

Working with Maureen Lux (Brock University), Erika is exploring the legacy of eugenics in reproductive health choices in the 1970s. Against the backdrop of second-wave feminism and the so-called liberal era of reproductive choice, they are considering how that language of choice affected cultural and medical discourse for Aboriginal women, healthy men, and individuals considered disabled or in the mental health system, and teen-age girls. This research is funded by CIHR.

For more information about these projects, please review the various menu options, or contact Erika Dyck directly; details on the contact tab.