Malacrida opens Scholars lecture series

A trio of diverse educators from the University of Lethbridge will participate in the 2010 University Scholars Public Presentations series, beginning this week.

Dr. Claudia Malacrida, Dr. Brian Titley and Lisa Doolittle will present free admission lectures Mar. 9, Mar. 16 and Mar. 23 respectively, covering topics from the treatment of people with intellectual disabilities to the attempted reformation of female public sinners by the Catholic Church to an examination of the role that dancing and spectacle helped define the identity of the Blackfoot people of southern Alberta.

The Board of Governors established the University Scholars Program in 2007 to recognize the excellence of faculty members in the areas of research, scholarship and creative performance. Each University Scholar must give a public lecture or performance as part of the University Scholars Series at the University of Lethbridge during the two-year term of their designation as a University Scholar.

The presentations will highlight the ongoing research interests of U of L faculty and how they contribute to their course teachings. All lectures offer free admission, are open to anyone and take place at 4 p.m. in AH100. Today, Malacrida begins the series.

– Dehumanization as a Way of Life: Alberta's History of 'Treating' People with Intellectual Disabilities, Mar. 9

In 1928, with hopes of improving services for people deemed in the language of the time to be "mental defectives," the province of Alberta opened the Provincial Training School (eventually renamed The Michener Centre) outside Red Deer. At one time housing over 2,300 inmates, the school operated hand in glove with the province's Eugenics Board.

Residents of Michener were the largest single group of Albertans to experience involuntary sterilization. Based on interviews and archival materials, Malacrida (sociology) describes daily life in the institution and the ways that space, time and care were organized to dehumanize and devalue the people who lived there.

"Understanding the history of places like Michener Centre is important," says Malacrida. "Institutionalization is not dead, and Michener survivors can tell us why this approach is one we should not continue."