Protest Psychosis: Race, Stigma, and the Diagnosis of Schizophrenia


ACLS Fellowship Program


Women's Studies and Psychiatry


This project examines the antecedents, consequences, and implications of racialized stigma against schizophrenia in the United States using the methods of historical analysis and cultural studies. Medical and popular sources show how schizophrenia became both a racialized disease and a way of talking about race and racism during the civil-rights era of the 1950s-1970s. Shifts in the meanings of schizophrenia within institutional, professional and cultural rhetorics provide new understandings of some seemingly naturalized, yet highly ideological characteristics of present-day schizophrenia discourse--characteristics that often appear denatured of their explicit connections to race.