I See You: A Photo Album of People with Intellectual Disability
by Rory du Plessis

The casebook for the Institute for Imbecile Children, and the casebooks of the Grahamstown Lunatic Asylum constitutes one of South Africa’s largest archived records for people with intellectual disability (PWID) who were institutionalised from 1890 to 1920. In I See You I testify how the viewing of the casebooks’ content and photographs gave rise to a personal recognition of the personhood of the PWID. My testimony takes the form of poetry that is composed to honour and memorialise each individual person who is included in this album.

Rory du Plessis is a Senior Lecturer in Visual Studies at the School of the Arts, University of Pretoria. He is a NRF-rated scholar, the co-editor of the academic journal, Image & Text, and author of Pathways of Patients at the Grahamstown Lunatic Asylum, 1890 to 1907 (Pretoria University Law Press 2020).

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