CfP: “Madness and Culture”

Call for papers: Transgressive Culture – ‘Madness’ and Culture

Transgressive Culture is a new electronic and print peer-reviewed journal and book series edited by Jason Lee (University of Derby), with an international editorial board that includes Ken Gelder (University of Melbourne) and James Kincaid (University of Southern California). Details of the ‘addiction edition’ can be found here. We invite submissions of critical and creative work within the broad area of ‘Madness’ and Culture for this new themed edition edited by Jason Lee (University of Derby) and Charley Baker (University of Nottingham). As Foucault put it, although ‘madness’ provides no answers, it forces the world to question itself, and the work of so-called ‘mad’ people, such as Nietzsche and Van Gogh, has become the measure of the height of creativity, which is the ‘triumph of madness’ (1989: 288). Despite extensive medical classifications of mental disorders, this field remains contentious and oblique. What is ‘madness’, or is its essence beyond definition? ‘The determination to keep others out, to see the world as you choose to see it, not as others assure you that it is’ (Weldon 1979: 120)? Or the voice of truth, as portrayed in Revolutionary Road and many other stories; or, as Frank Wheeler declares in the same story, ‘the inability to relate, inability to love’? Jim Geekie and John Read suggest that by ‘using the term “madness” the experience is wrested from the grip of a select few experts on “schizophrenia” or “psychosis”, and portrayed not as a medical condition with an obscure Greek or Latin derived title, but rather as an aspect of the human condition, about which we can all have our say’ (2009:16). This is not a novel idea: Since the 1960s, R.D. Laing, Thomas Szasz, Erich Fromm and many others have attempted to demystify ‘madness’, seeing ‘madness’ as caused in part by our irrational repressive society, which itself is ‘mad’. With ‘progress’ in some respects currently being questioned globally as no longer a viable or ‘sane’ endeavour, questions over ‘madness’ and culture raise their heads once more.

We invite submissions that may wish to consider the following areas – though we are open to ideas from outside this list:

– How should and can madness in the 21st century be conceptualized, and who should be in charge of such conceptualization?

– In what way is madness represented in new media forms such as blogs or advertisements

– How can or do music, literature and the arts transgress traditional or clinical formulations of mad experiences?

– Are service users transgressing and transcending their own experiences through their documentation and reiteration in art and literature?

– How does psychiatry deal with those who transgress the boundaries of ‘The Good Patient’?

– To what extent can creativity and madness be delineated as interdependent in the 21st century?

– Does the media continue to play a role in creating and maintaining public perceptions of madness and how should this be addressed in terms of stigma and inequality?

– How are contemporary mental health movements, such as the Recovery movement, reconfigured or represented in literature and culture?

Work that transgresses established divides in form and content will be prioritised. The length of the work can be agreed with the editors, with nothing over 7,000 words. Please send completed pieces by March 15th 2012 to all the addresses below. Initial queries/abstracts are welcome.

j.lee@derby.ac.uk

Charlotte.L.Baker@nottingham.ac.uk

transgressive.culture@gmx.com

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