Center for Global Humanities Lecture/Seminar Series

Bipolar Expeditions: Mania and Depression in American Culture

WCHP Lecture Hall
Portland Campus
Emily Martin

Free and open to the public

In this illustrated lecture, Professor Martin will explore psychiatric categories involving emotion through ethnographic fieldwork in the contemporary US. She will ask how these categories are culturally created, measured and applied in relation to gender and race; then modified, contested, and rejected in contexts such as clinical rounds, patient advocacy support groups, and internet newsgroups. Some issues raised include: What definitions of rationality do mood disorders entail? What are the implications for the personhood of the patient of treating “irrational” mood disorders with psychotropic drugs intended to “manage” them? What are the stakes of the current broad revaluing of “mania” for larger cultural contexts, such as competitive US corporations, which now place a high value on energized, "manic" states for the sake of the innovation and creativity they are believed to yield?


WCHP Lecture Hall
United States

C G H Brand

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