Narrativity, Emplotment, and Voice in Autobiographical and Cinematic Representations of "Mentally Ill" Women, 1942-2003
AuthorWiener, Diane Rochelle
KeywordsAmerican cultural studies
psychiatric survivor movement
AdvisorBabcock, Barbara A.
White, Susan M.
Committee ChairBabcock, Barbara A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation presents an historical overview of the interdependent representations of gender, class, ethnicity, race, nationality, sexuality, and (dis)ability in a selection of films and first-person written autobiographical texts from the 1940s to the early twenty-first century. Cinematic and written autobiographical representations of “mental illness” reflect and shape various models of psychological trauma and wellness. I explore the ways that these two genres of representation underscore, exert influence upon, and interrogate socio-cultural understandings and interpretations of deviance and normalcy, madness and sanity, and pathology and health. Some models of health and illness carry more ideological weight than others, and thus differentially contour public policy formation and the materiality of people’s daily lives. My project is distinct from other kinds of scholarship on the subject of women’s “madness.” Whereas scholarship has been written on “madness” and cinema, and on “madness” and autobiography, this related academic work has not consistently drawn linkages between multiple genres or utilized interdisciplinary methodologies to critically explore texts. Feminist scholars who address the interconnections between autobiographies and cinematic representations often pay only limited attention to psychiatric survivors. I draw parallels and distinctions between these genres, based upon my training in social work, cultural studies, film and autobiography theory, medical and linguistic anthropology, and disability studies. My perspective hinges upon my longstanding involvement with and commitment to the subject of women’s “madness” in both personal and professional arenas.
Degree ProgramComparative Cultural & Literary Studies