Out of Place, Out of Mind: Min(d)ing Race in Mad Studies Through a Metaphor of Spatiality
Keywords:Mad Studies; Race; Racialization; Anti-Racism; Spatiality; White Supremacy
This article examines the racial politics of Mad Studies in Canada through a metaphor of spatiality, underscoring the urgency of an antiracist Mad Studies paradigm. Drawing on critical race scholarship which situates “madness” as reliant on and informed by white supremacist and colonial logics of rationality and reason (Bruce 2017), I foreground claims made by critical race scholars of racialized madness as contingent on and informed by histories of slavery, genocide, and everyday realities of racism and racial violence which an anti-racist Mad Studies project must contend with. By locating the racialization of Mad Studies within a metaphor of spatiality, I heuristically problematize the “space” available for racialized subjects to re/claim madness within contemporary Mad Studies paradigms. I conclude that in failing to rigorously unpack the relations of race which undergird understandings of madness, and to challenge the presence of white supremacy in the Mad Studies discipline, scholars potentially perpetuate a colonial project of “othering” and consequentially maintain the systems of psychiatric violence they seek to undo. Centralizing race in Mad Studies exposes the workings of white supremacy in logics of violence against Mad people more broadly and is thus necessary to an anti-racist and anti- oppressive Mad Studies project.
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