Reframing Altered States of Mind in Lusophone, Brazilian, and Lusophone African Literatures (55th NeMLA Annual Convention)
Organization: Tufts University
Event: 55th NeMLA Annual Convention
This panel session seeks to address and critically reframe the representation of experiences with altered states of consciousness, often labeled as “mental illness” by the biomedical model, at the intersection of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, and language in Lusophone, Lusophone African and Brazilian Literatures (all literary genres). It also welcomes critical thoughts on the representation of these experiences in movies or other cultural productions. Papers that explore the theme beyond traditional frameworks (i.e., “madness” as a narrative device or mental illness as a metaphor) will be privileged. Alternative conceptualizations and approaches can address the following questions: how do the historical, political context, and social determinants influence representations of experiences with altered states of mind? What’s the relevance of approaches that account for the gender and cultural assumptions of both the person who experiences altered states of mind and carers? How may a layered understanding of the cultural and gendered meanings and assumptions about how these experiences are represented in literary works potentially provide carers (clinicians, traditional healers, family members, and friends) with alternative tools to respond to these phenomena? Presenters are invited to draw on frameworks that include contemporary findings about altered states of mind in cultural studies, transcultural psychiatry and psychoanalysis, mad studies and disability studies, queer theory, postcolonial approaches, and other interdisciplinary fields. The presentations in this panel should have 2500-3000 words for a 15-20 minute presentation, followed by a Q&A.