Quarantine: History, Heritage, Place
14-16 August 2014
An international conference convened by historians, archaeologists and heritage scholars at the University of Sydney
The Quarantine Station, Sydney, Australia
The practice of quarantine has always been grounded in contested locations. The history and heritage of quarantine stations and places of isolation the world over remain in these landscapes, as built environments and in artefacts. In this way, sites of segregation have been both enduring and ephemeral. These vestiges intersect in powerful ways with memory and history, but what is being invoked? Who – or what – were the actors bound up by quarantine regulations? How can the material, documentary, legislative and spatial heritage of quarantine help us untangle narratives of global movement that were interrupted by incarceration?
Encompassing people and pathogens, vectors and vessels, flora and fauna, this conference seeks new interpretations of the place of quarantine. Moving in scale from intimate marks made by internees to multi-site or cross-regional comparisons, we seek to bring together maritime histories of quarantine with analyses of the inland islands of terrestrial quarantine. Above all, we hope to prompt surprising and productive conversations between archaeologists, historians, cultural and human geographers, and heritage scholars.
This international conference builds from a large multidisciplinary investigation of more than 1,000 sandstone inscriptions that cover the stunning Quarantine Station in Sydney, Australia. This unique site will form our venue for the conference, inspiring themes that are both local and global: mark-making, isolation, identity, and place.