Spatial arrangement and social hierarchy in quarantine stations

Contagious diseases inspire exclusion and segregation. The diseased are to be separated as far away from the healthy – and that means community, society and nation – as possible. This is because diseases are viewed to be “contaminating”. However, not all the diseased are equal, which result in different treatments being given to them. Under the White Australia policy, race was an important social marker in social hierarchy. The question of race superseded that of class: to be well-off but not to be white would still allocate one to an inferior position in Australian society. For it was inferior not to be born white in the first place; nature could not contend with humans when it came to social value and hierarchy, for humans can never exists as natural beings. Culture is discriminating in one way or the other. In cases of extreme prejudice and dislike in Australian racism, “coloured” people were shunned as if they were diseased.

Death; pollution; extreme liminality of cemeteries; Asiatics’ Quarters.

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