Our Madness is Invisible: Notes on Being Privileged (Non)Disabled Researchers
This autoethnographic piece traces how two researchers continually negotiate their privileges, successes, insecurities, challenges, and (non)disabled identities in the neoliberal academy. We interrogate the co-constitution of identity of (1) a mentally disabled researcher and graduate student who researches madness in the midst of dealing with his own struggles maintaining a professional identity and repairing a fractured self; (2) a non-disabled doctoral student who has found academic success, but has had his life stalled multiple times by significant mental health challenges. We propose the concept of the privileged (non)disabled self to capture how researchers become entangled in permanent or temporal disabilities while simultaneously negotiating their accomplishments. We encourage researchers not to sideline their reflections on privilege and disability as irrelevant, but continually examine their identities in order to reveal potential avenues for emancipation.