The aim of this session is to offer space for those working with/in the intersections of Mad and Critical Disability Studies an opportunity to push back against sanism and ableism in their work. Specifically, participants in this session aim to trouble these notions through discussions of mad queer joy (Davies & Greensmith) and the phenomenology of discrete mental health/disability events (Bones, Bremner, Corcoran, currie, & Hughes). Further, this session has additional time for discussion, and we welcome attendees to actively participate in conversation related to these specific papers, as well as to Mad Studies more broadly, if and as desired. Tags: Anti-oppression, Disabilities, Social Movements
As two mad queer faculty, working within accredited programs, we have been subjected to the normalizing regime of accreditation criteria and standards. Within the Early Childhood and Human Services curriculum, these standards attempt to regulate our course content, classroom pedagogies, and respective subjectivities. This regulation has a direct impact not only on the educational experiences of our students but also on the way our students imagine who and what a helping professional can be. Emerging out of our lived experiences with queerness and madness, we utilize autoethnographic and collective autobiographical writing methodologies by focusing on Goldstein, Russell, and Daleys (2007) conception of 'queering moments' to deconstruct the regulation and surveillance we experience within our classroom pedagogies and wider professions. This paper will show how 'queer mad joy' within and outside of the classroom can be enacted as a form of resistance to trouble the rush to application that promotes cis-heteropatriarchal and sanist forms of knowledge production. Ultimately, by leaning into queer mad joy, we contend that accreditation standards and professional criteria that create the profession exist within a lexicon of power and inequality that attempts to silence queerness and madness by positioning such ways of knowing and being as impossibilities within our respective fields.
This collaborative research seeks to center the experiences of mad and disabled individuals to explore the phenomenology of discrete mental health/disability events. Combining self-produced artistic content alongside personal narratives, we hope to provide an authentic exploration of madness that is often lacking both in popular and academic depictions of mental illness and disability. We identify Gloria Anzaldúa’s work on borders and thresholds to interrogate the liminality of these experiences. Anzaldúa’s use of autohistoria centered her experiences as a queer Chicana living in the Rio Grande valley, along the Texas-Mexico border. The crossing of borders, both physical and metaphorical, is a defining characteristic of Anzaldúa’s work; one which constitutes an ideal lens with which to examine the ways that madness often transgresses the firm borders that Western society placed around it. The conditions explored include agoraphobia, panic disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other diagnosed persistent mental illnesses. We begin by exploring the concept of borders as they relate to mental illness in general, focusing on how these larger ideas come to be reified as common knowledge and scientific truth. Next, we problematize the mental/physical disability dichotomy, drawing on personal accounts of how our mental health often expresses itself physiologically, and how although our physical symptoms are caused by mental processes, this does not mean that mental illness is “all in our heads.” We examine the border between safety and danger in our lives, as well as the balance between choice and force in how we are allowed to manage our bodyminds. We close with a discussion of the threshold between the perception and reality of mental illness events, and the need for mad people to be allowed to write our own stories and tell our own truths.