Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

You are here

Midsemester Project: History Repeats Itself

Hazel's picture

(Open image in the attachments, then read the text) - image description is in the section down below


Death. Incarceration. Invisibility. Erasure. Undesirability. Helplessness. Capitalism. Institutionalization.


Has it really not changed at all?

Are we stuck in a vicious circle forever?

How do we break free?


Institutionalization. Capitalism. Helplessness. Undesirability. Erasure. Invisibility. Incarceration. Death.


Yeah, don’t be hungry. Have some crayon.

The ceiling got yellow squares. They look old. Like they be here a long time. Like I be here a long time.


Image Description: Title says 'History Repeats Itself'. Quotes on the purple and blue background. The history ones are in orange, the fiction ones are in green. History and fiction quotes are paired, connected with one arrow on each side, one pointing to the first quote, the other one to the second, implying the repetitive nature of described tendencies.

Quote pairs:

With money exchange and currency images:

  • "The applicant’s certified condition will seriously interfere with his earning capacity."
  • "The main subject at the meeting tonight is how they’re going to get some better media coverage."

With robe (cover) and labor images:

  • "The economic rationale of the LPC clause could serve, and often did serve, as a false cover story. Ableism and a desire for a specific form of American bodies motivated the deportation of many potential immigrants."
  • "And don’t send people off to the booby hatch just because they homesick and didn’t take their meds."

With suit and photo frame images:

  • "Newborns and individuals with physical trauma, [a disability that today could be successfully managed over the course of a long and healthy life], sometimes simply died."
  • "Yes, the death was tragic, but under the circumstances, a reasonable number of deaths is justified."

 With bird cage image:

  • "A perception of the need for care or confinement, rather than diagnosis, drove the early development of institutionalization. Sometimes confinement was horrific."
  • "Kids like this are trained to stay helpless. So they have to stay institutionalized."

 With eye with a slash over it image:

  • "Civic undesirability was slippery and broad."
  • "I have the power to become invisible in some restaurants. I just never know which restaurants. Or how to turn the power off."
PDF icon History Repeats Itself.pdf3.97 MB


storeylouise's picture

Hazel this is such a great project and I appreciate that you brought our attention back to the realtionship between history as fact dishtingusihed from what histories we are taught. In your visual you point to patterns of history rooted what is actually happeneing to the people experiencing this history that embodies what disability justice movements are fighting to eludicate. I think your use of symbols is brilliant, especially the birdcage and the graphic of someone trying to remove a nail that's been hammered into several blocks of wood. I had to look up what the LPC clause ('likely to become a public charge'; basically codified profiling of immigrants from what I read) and one of the first questions that came up as a frequent google search was "Will getting government benefits hurt my chances of getting a green card or becoming a US citizen?" I think this speaks to the questions your project raises about what kind of world we have created, especially in the US, based on false narratives that are caught in a cycle of what we teach and impart on following generations.