RebPsych 2022: Mental Health, Captivity, and Liberation
The conference took place on Friday, October 21, 2022.
Anthony Ryan Hatch, PhD, Associate Professor, Chair of the Science in Society Program, Wesleyan University: The Bertram H. Roberts Memorial Lecture: "Automated and Intelligent Pharmacies in Global Technocorrections"
Session 1A Title: Resistance to/Liberation from Colonial Mental Health: Psychiatric Survivors and Mad Healers in a Global Context. Speakers: Stefanie Lyn Kaufman Mthimkhulu, Jennifer Mullan, Thabiso Mthimkhulu (Gogo Ndlondlo)
Session 2A Title: Insights on Power: A Panel Discussion on Involuntary Treatment and Informed Consent. Speakers: Kathy Flaherty, Leah Harris, Leigh Nathan
Session 2B.1 Title: Medicaid Prior Authorization for Buprenorphine as a Surveillance and Carceral Technology. Session 2B.2 Title: Chicano Mental Health Activism and the Struggles for Culturally Aware Services in South Texas, 1954-1977 Session 2B.1 Speaker: Max Jordan Nguemeni. Session 2B.2 Speaker: Ximena Lopez Carrillo
Session 3A.1: Speaking for Ourselves: Black Psychiatrists’ Activism Against Racism from Integration to Black Power. Session 3A.2: Psychiatry's Carceral Imaginaries: Lessons from Science and Technology Studies. Closing Remarks. Session 3A.1 Speaker: Simone Dreux. Session 3A.2 Speakers: Andy Wen, Taiwo Alonge. Closing Remarks Speakers: Nientara Anderson, Sreeja Kodali, Marco Ramos
Session 3B.2 Title: Malingering as Embodied Critique. Speakers: Marcus Byrd, Austin Bryan
Click here to view the 2022 RebPsych Program.
Western psychiatry is deeply intertwined with the idea and practice of captivity. Contemporary examples in the US include the co-optation of public mental health services by the carceral state, the involvement of police in mental health crisis responses (often with fatal consequences for those in crisis), and the routine stripping of rights and autonomy in psychiatric care. The relationship between Western psychiatry and captivity has a long history, ranging from practices of confinement in colonial asylums in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, to psychological justifications for the enslavement of Africans. Across its history and present, psychiatry has functioned to both enforce and arbitrate captivity on behalf of white, patriarchal, and colonial interests.
The history of captivity under European colonization affects the inner lives of formerly colonized subjects and their descendants to this day. Contemporary practices of captivity at the US border have torn families apart and severed the bonds between parents and their children. More Black men are incarcerated or under correctional control in the United States today than were enslaved in 1850.
However, there is also a history of resistance and liberation movements from communities that have suffered from psychiatric captivity. Enslaved and Indigenous peoples have defied and renounced psychiatric oppression. Disability activists and the Mad activism movement have rejected the marginalization of people with neurodivergent experiences. In 1970s Latin America, the Liberation Psychology movement imagined new paradigms of mental health that would liberate oppressed classes from postcolonial imperialism and capitalist oppression. LGBTQ communities have protested the pathologization of sexuality on the street and in the pages of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Survivors of the War on Drugs in the United States continue to challenge the criminalization of substance use.
RebPsych 2022: Mental Health, Captivity, and Liberation, asks how we can critique and challenge captivity in psychiatry and mental health today. We want to interrogate captivity and imagine liberation, in and outside our profession, as broadly as possible. We encourage submissions from a diverse array of participants, including activists, community organizers, scholars, people with lived experience of neurodivergence, health professionals, artists, students, and writers.
Possible topics include, but are by no means limited to:
- Community organization and mobilization against psychiatric confinement
- Indigenous resistance and ways of knowing that challenge psychiatric captivity
- Non-carceral forms of care
- Liberation psychology
- Mental Health and the Foster Care System
- Dehumanization and the Law: involuntary psychiatric incarceration, coercive voluntary confinement, commitment, conversatorship, voting access, capacity evaluation
- Reproductive Rights and Psychiatric Hospitalization
- Use of Physical and Chemical Restraints in Psychiatric Care
- Internalized Racism/colonization
- Mental health institutions as a form of captivity in colonial contexts
- COVID, captivity, and mental health
- Histories of psychiatry, captivity, and liberation
- Psychiatry and the history of human slavery