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The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease


The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Revolution was in the air in the 1960s. Civil rights protests demanded attention on the airwaves and in the streets. Anger gave way to revolt, and revolt provided the elusive promise of actual change. But a very different civil rights history evolved at the Ionia State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Ionia, Michigan. Here, far from the national glare of sit-ins, boycotts, or riots, African American men suddenly appeared in the asylum’s previously white, locked wards. Some of these men came to the attention of the state after participating in civil rights demonstrations, while others were sent by the military, the penal system, or the police. Though many of the men hailed from Detroit, ambulances and paddy wagons brought men from other urban centers as well. Once at Ionia, psychiatrists classified these men under a single diagnosis: schizophrenia.

In The Protest Psychosis, psychiatrist and cultural critic Jonathan Metzl tells the shocking story of how schizophrenia became the diagnostic term overwhelmingly applied to African American men at the Ionia State Hospital, and how events at Ionia mirrored national conversations that increasingly linked blackness, madness, and civil rights. Expertly sifting through a vast array of cultural documents—from scientific literature, to music lyrics, to riveting, tragic hospital charts—Metzl shows how associations between schizophrenia and blackness emerged during the 1960s and 1970s in ways that directly reflected national political events. As he demonstrates, far from resulting from the racist intentions of individual doctors or the symptoms of specific patients, racialized schizophrenia grew from a much wider set of cultural shifts that defined the thoughts, actions, and even the politics of black men as being inherently insane.

Ultimately, The Protest Psychosis provides a cautionary tale of how anxieties about race continue to impact doctor-patient interactions, even during our current, seemingly post-race era of genetics, pharmacokinetics, and brain scans.

About the Author

Jonathan M. Metzl is associate professor of psychiatry and women’s studies, and director of the Program in Culture, Health, and Medicine at the University of Michigan. A 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, Metzl has written extensively for psychiatric, psychological, and popular publications. His books include Prozac on the Couch and Difference and Identity in Medicine. He lives in Minneapolis and works in Ann Arbor.

Table of Contents

Preface: the protest psychosis — Homicidal — Ionia — She tells very little about her behavior yet shows a lot — Loosening associations — Like a family — The other direction — Categories — Octavius Greene had no exit interview — The persistence of memory — Too close for comfort — His actions are determined largely by his emotions — Revisionist mystery — A racialized disease — A metaphor for race — Turned loose — Deinstitutionalization — Raised in a slum ghetto — Power, knowledge, and diagnostic revision — Return of the repressed — Rashamon — Something else instead — Locked away — Diversity — Inside — Remnants — Controllin' the planet — Conclusion.

Product Details

How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease
Beacon Press
Metzl, Jonathan
African Americans - Mental health
Mental Illness
Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - General
Health Care Delivery
Psychopathology - Schizophrenia
Cultural psychiatry -- United States.
General Social Science
Psychology - Schizophrenia and Psychotic Disorders
Publication Date:

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Psychopathology » Schizophrenia
History and Social Science » African American Studies » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease
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Product details 246 pages Beacon - English 9780807085936 Reviews:
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