Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.


Futures in madness 
Nancy Rose Hunt (University of Florida)
Nana Osei Quarshie (University of Michigan)
Send message to Convenors
Nancy Rose Hunt (University of Florida)
Nancy Rose Hunt (University of Florida)
Anthropology (x) Futures (y)
Hörsaalgebäude, Hörsaal D
Friday 2 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

Futures in utterances of and about “the mad” deserve attention. Postcolonial psychiatrists & madness scholars theorize delusions as symptoms, yet via past thinking. Seeking futures in delusions, we aim to join psychiatric & African histories of the strange with future speech at moments of crisis.

Long Abstract:

The utterances of “the mad” -- psychiatric patients, the distressed or unhinged -- are often future-oriented. Do they actualize geographies of patient knowledge? Do they contest claims in allopathic medicine, the opinions of physicians, healers, therapists, and experts in their worlds? African and expatriate psychiatrists working in postcolonial Africa, like scholars of madness, have long theorized delusions as symptoms shaped by political circumstances though usually oriented toward the past. As early as the 1960s, anthropologists working in Africa explored the political implications of the delusions and utterances of those seeking care for distress.

Ironically, historians of psychiatry have tended to place their subfield at a remove from broader trends in African history, where rich conversations on unconventional genres and speech as forms of evidence continue. Oracles, witchcraft accusations, vampire stories, dreams, and personal and political letters may be delusional or categorized as such within clinical or political circumstances.

This panel invites a dialogue about future orientations in African situations of distress (imbalance, catastrophe, madness), in relation to the ideas and delusions of patients and the distressed, but also in relation to the writings, projections and work of Africa's historians and anthropologists and of scholars of mental healing and mental harming. Presentations are sought that move beyond past-oriented studies of “the mad” and interrogate immediacies and futures in socio-political situations. We especially seek contributions that study future-oriented utterances – in theories, longing, or dreams – or evidence that speaks to conditions of possibility during historical moments of political transition.

Accepted contributions:

Session 1 Friday 2 June, 2023, -