Article: Documenting Insanity by Liana Glew

A new paper published on History of Human Sciences might be of interested to H-Madness readers.


Paperwork plays a key role in a how institutions accommodate, refuse, or manage disabled people. This article develops modes for reading paperwork that build on each other, beginning with (a) recognizing the institutional pressures at work in shaping bureaucratic practices, then (b) considering how a person’s relationship to disability influences how they might encounter these practices, and ultimately (c) noticing how the encounter between disabled/mad people and an institution might create something new, what the author calls archival excess. These methods for reading are in conversation with disability studies, medical humanities, and document studies, and ultimately work toward a goal adapted from the principles of Disability Justice: recognizing the wholeness of disabled subjects in institutional archives.

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