Editor’s Introduction, Winter 2013
This issue of Disability Studies Quarterly takes up the intersections of Disability Studies and what might be termed “Madness Studies.” While a formal field of “Madness Studies” may be in question, this phrasing builds on the Mad Pride movement and the activist works that preceded it. These activist works and efforts revolved largely around counteracting the shame of “mental illness” and sharing lived experiences to create a community of people who had been written off as crazy, unbalanced, and dangerous. As a community of scholars, activist, and artists who would have been cast off in those categories, we owe much to their courage and activism. From those efforts, come recent scholarly works that theorize experiences of madness. These writings have drawn heavily on Disability Studies to trouble the borders of normal/abnormal and sane/insane. Additionally, these works inspired the creation of this issue to bring together scholars working on madness and disability.
Within this issue are eight articles that dwell at the intersections of Madness Studies and Disability Studies. In the issue’s first article, Nev Jones and Robyn Lewis Brown consider the consequences that stem from the absence of consumer/survivor/ex-patient (C/S/X) perspectives in academic discourse. We move from there to three articles from Shayda Kafai, PhoebeAnn Wolframe, and John Derby that take an authoethnographic approach to theorizing the experience of psychiatric diversity. Scott Walin’s work on the performance of madness in “Next to Normal” offers a unique perspective that blends material from the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical with his experiences as a social worker. The next three articles offer different perspectives around madness. Elizabeth Donaldson’s work on LSD as a psychomimetic is a fascinating piece on the ways that early psychiatrists attempted to mimic the experience of schizophrenia and other diagnoses that share hallucinogenic components. Merrick Daniel Pilling’s article draws on the intersections of madness and queerness in the work place as it related to disclosure and coming out. Finally, Benjamin Bishop explores notions of “recovery” and “inclusion” through literature on gardening and nature. To the extent that anyone can take “pride” in the work of others, we are very proud to present this collection of works on madness and disability. We hope you will share in our enthusiasm while reading this issue of DSQ.