Men and Madness: Representing Male Psychopathology and Mental Disorder in Modern and Contemporary Culture
28-30 June 2007
Confirmed keynote speakers:
Susan Bordo, University of Kentucky
Elisabeth Bronfen, University of Zurich
Richard Collier, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Mark Micale, University of Illnois
Sally Shuttleworth, University of Oxford
Traditionally it has been women and other social groups marked by an alleged ‘difference’ from standards of sanity and reason who have been most vulnerable to designations of ‘madness’. The twentieth-century rise of postmodernity, however, has introduced a remarkable shift in perspective. Now it is femininity which is widely associated with sanity, commonsense and progress, whereas masculinity has come to occupy a position of volatile aberrance, anachronicity and ‘crisis’. While masculinity used to deem itself incontestably rooted in the faculty of reason, many of its most characteristic traits are now being recognised as ‘symptoms’ of a variety of psychopathologies, mental disorders or cognitive impairments. In the age of postmodernity, the normative standard of masculinity, and its propensity for oppressive and violent self-assertion especially, has come to be interpreted as social deviance and appears at present to be undergoing radical cultural revaluation as a pathological affliction or compulsive disorder requiring urgent therapeutic attention. If masculinity is currently perceived to be ‘in crisis’, then this is mainly due to the fact that many of the attributes, which traditionally constituted its strength and thus legitimised its hegemonic status, tend now to be read as indicative of an acutely troubled psychology of the male self.
Contributors to the conference are encouraged to trace the changes in our cultural perception of what makes a ‘healthy’, ‘sane’, ‘good’ and ‘normal’ man, and to do so by exploring the correlation between gender, psychopathology and post/modernity, as well as the explicit or alleged gender-specificity of certain mental disorders (e.g. hysteria, paranoia, depression, schizophrenia, autism). The conference is interdisciplinary and proposals are invited from the full spectrum of current scholarly, creative and intellectual enquiry, including psychology, sociology, history, literature, art, cultural theory, criminology, law, medical science, politics, philosophy and psychoanalysis.
Proposals (200-300 words) for 20-minute presentations should be submitted to Professor Berthold Schoene (firstname.lastname@example.org), the conference organiser, by no later than 1 February 2007. A registration form will become available at about the same time.
Professor Berthold Schoene
English Research Institute
Manchester Metropolitan University
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