By Jonathan Metzl
A strong account of the way cultural anxieties approximately race formed American notions of psychological affliction
The civil rights period is essentially remembered as a time of sit-ins, boycotts, and riots. yet a really diversified civil rights historical past advanced on the Ionia nation clinic for the Criminally Insane in Ionia, Michigan. In The Protest Psychosis, psychiatrist and cultural critic Jonathan Metzl tells the surprising tale of ways schizophrenia turned the diagnostic time period overwhelmingly utilized to African American protesters at Ionia—for political purposes in addition to medical ones. Expertly sifting via an unlimited array of cultural files, Metzl exhibits how institutions among schizophrenia and blackness emerged through the tumultuous many years of the Nineteen Sixties and 1970s—and he presents a cautionary story of ways anxieties approximately race proceed to affect doctor-patient interactions in our probably postracial America.
From the alternate Paperback edition.
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Extra info for The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease
The boxes were but light-years of this implosion, vapor trails, found poems, measurable heat. Disembodied voices that told silent stories of what it meant to be incarcerated, or neglected, or entrenched, or immured. Deinstitutionalization, that failed social experiment of the 1960s and 1970s, seemed a viable explanation for Ionia’s stunning demise. Deinstitutionalization combined economic considerations with reactions to appalling conditions in mental asylums to push for the liberation of persons warehoused in state psychiatric hospitals.
Race-based misdiagnosis, the racist intentions of doctors, and even the actions or symptoms of the men themselves did not fully explain why Ionia incarcerated these men for periods well beyond their original sentences. Rather, the men’s confinement resulted from a longer process of racialization in which schizophrenia morphed from an illness of pastoral, feminine neurosis into one of urban, male psychosis, not just within American society, but within the asylum’s increasingly sturdy walls. Scholars have long argued that medical and governmental institutions code threats to authority as mental illnesses during moments of political turmoil.
Dr. Leroy (lighting second cigarette): Correct—today is September first. Please also tell me—who am I? Alice: I am sick, I am in the hospital, I miss my family. . You just examined me. You must be the doctor. Am I right? Dr. Leroy: Exactly. As I told you before, my name is Doctor Leroy. I am examining you in order to determine your diagnosis. Then I will be taking care of you so that you may better take care of your family, as you say—but more about that later. For now, I wish to ask some questions meant to evaluate your intellect.