The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease

The Protest Psychosis How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease A powerful account of how cultural anxieties about race shaped American notions of mental illness The civil rights era is largely remembered as a time of sit ins boycotts and riots But a very differ

  • Title: The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease
  • Author: Jonathan M. Metzl
  • ISBN: 9780807085929
  • Page: 420
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease

    A powerful account of how cultural anxieties about race shaped American notions of mental illness The civil rights era is largely remembered as a time of sit ins, boycotts, and riots But a very different civil rights history evolved at the Ionia State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Ionia, Michigan In The Protest Psychosis, psychiatrist and cultural critic JonathanA powerful account of how cultural anxieties about race shaped American notions of mental illness The civil rights era is largely remembered as a time of sit ins, boycotts, and riots But a very different civil rights history evolved at the Ionia State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Ionia, Michigan 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 protesters at Ionia for political reasons as well as clinical ones Expertly sifting through a vast array of cultural documents, Metzl shows how associations between schizophrenia and blackness emerged during the tumultuous decades of the 1960s and 1970s and he provides a cautionary tale of how anxieties about race continue to impact doctor patient interactions in our seemingly postracial America.From the Trade Paperback edition.

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    One thought on “The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease

    1. Thomas

      Such an important book for anyone who cares about racial justice and/or mental illness. In The Protest Psychosis, psychiatrist and cultural critic Jonathan Metzl hows how doctors over-diagnosed - and still over-diagnose - black people with schizophrenia. By analyzing archives and oral history interviews from the Ionia psychiatric hospital in Michigan, Metzl reveals how racist people in power portrayed black protestors as mentally ill, in an attempt to medicalize their fight for social justice. H [...]

    2. Lee

      This is the book I've been looking for. It didn't full fill all my fantasies that I had for it, but it was worth reading. I don't think Metzl is the best writer. I waffled between feeling like his scope was too broad and feeling like his sources were too limited. At times I felt like each chapter read somewhat like a high school English paper, using an only marginally related quote or literary reference garnered from a google search to open the paper. On the other hand, Metzl situated diagnosis [...]

    3. Morgan Dhu

      Jonathan Metzl's The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease is an examination of how institutionalised racism and social constructs of "abnormal behaviour" have influenced the changing psychiatric definitions of certain mental illnesses - specifically schizophrenia and the now out of fashion dementia praecox - and resulted in a situation in which " African-American ​patients ​were ​'significantly ​more ​likely' ​than ​white ​patients ​to ​receive ​schiz [...]

    4. Jeremy

      The schizophrenia rate for African Americans is still 3 times that of Caucasians. If schizophrenia is as heritable of a disease as it has been presented, this statistic should not happen. The author did a great job of showing the importance of structural prejudice in understanding mental illness. He argues that it was not and is not the racist intentions of individual psychiatrists but rather the much larger cultural structural situation that the psychiatrists cannot see outside of. In my work I [...]

    5. C

      I liked this a lot, but think it might appeal only to those with a strong interest in institutionalized racism and/or the civil rights movement. It seems more like the kind of book you'd read in a college-level sociology course, rather than one you'd find in the pop-soc section of the library (if that exists).Coming at this from a physical science and not a social science background, I really appreciated the explanation of how Metzl approached the social science part of the book (e.g choosing a [...]

    6. Alo

      I feel like this could function as a decent "Institutionalized Racism in Psychiatric Diagnosis 101." But if you have read a good deal of diagnostic criticism, or even important pieces in the anti-psychiatry canon, what he says isn't going to blow your mind. In fact, a lot of the book is unnecessarily stylized and narrative. That is, of course, interesting but a large portion of the book is a presentation of "here is what I found in their archives, what do you see?" He only really goes into depth [...]

    7. Talha C

      nice exercise in sociology of knowledge. yet at the same time we see just another case in which social transformations are explained within implicit self-containment of civil society by which I mean the argument about "anxieties" about civil rights movement leading racialization of psychic illness completely eclipses state agencies (various security apparati) intervening if not organizing formation of public discourse. such characterizations (anxiety of white middle class) which uncritically psy [...]

    8. UChicagoLaw

      Metzl brilliantly traces the racialized process by which the prison ultimately replaced the mental hospital. He digs through these rich archives at the Ionia State Hospital in Michigan and excavates how it is exactly that schizophrenia was transformed from an illness of docile white women to a disorder of black male belligerence. It is really fascinating. - Bernard Harcourt

    9. Olivia

      Super highly recommend for anyone interested in the history of race and mental illness in the US. The writing probably doesn't support recommending it to a wider audience unfortunately. Feels like it falls just short of being an enthralling must-read for everyone,.

    10. Katrine

      Great book, a very nuanced reading of the history and significance of schizophrenia in American history, with emphasis on the intersection between race, gender and science.

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