Through an analysis of nineteenth-century slave narratives and archival records from the Georgia Lunatic Asylum, this talk examines black women’s experiences of mental sickness during and after slavery and oppressive nineteenth-century ideologies about black female madness. Drawing on insights from Feminist Disability Studies and Black Feminist Theory, I argue that nineteenth-century psychiatric discourses made black women mad by both constructing disorders according to prevailing notions of race, class, gender and insanity, and inflicting real psychological harm within asylums, plantations, jails, and society writ large. The talk uncovers the defining features of the black experience with mental illness — trauma, confinement, and poverty.
Diana Louis received her Ph.D. in English from Emory University. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Health, Inequality, and Social Justice in the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan.
Accessibility information: This venue is wheels-accessible and can be lit by natural or fluorescent light. Attendees are asked not to wear fragranced products. If you need captioning, sign interpretation, or any other access services, please contact Margaret Price at firstname.lastname@example.org .
This event is free and open to the public.
Co-sponsors: Disability Studies, Disability Studies Graduate Student Association