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Madness and Culture: Representations of 'Mental-Health" in Global Culture!

COM LIT 10 (4.0 units)Session I

The mental health of individuals is increasingly being thought of as an important aspect of human society. Over the last few decades for instance, American popular culture especially has sought to represent mental distress (Girl Interrupted, Prozac Nation, Good Will Hunting are somewhat canonical films that raise issues of mental distress; Crazy-Ex Girlfriend is a Netflix series that brings ‘Borderline Personality Disorder to the limelight). We witness moreover that with the globalization of American culture, similar genres emerge in different national markets—Dear Zindagi, a popular Indian film (2016) serves as an example of this phenomenon. However, the course seeks to interrogate if this “global, yet American” popular culture’s ‘normalization’ of psychic distress actually creates new standards of ‘normality’ while bypassing questions of the collective social production of psychic well-being. Does this popular discourse of ‘mental-health’ marginalize other ways of thinking about ‘mental illness’ in and outside the US? Taking popular representations of mental health as our starting point (through Dear Zindagi and Crazy-Ex Girlfriend), the course will study varied literary representations of mental health. We will be studying short stories and novels representing mental distress from India (“Tension”), China (“Diary of a Madman”), Zimbabwe (Nervous Conditions), and the US in the early 20th century (“The Yellow Wallpaper”) to investigate if there are alternative ways in which the human psyche has been understood. Repeatability: Unlimited as topics vary. (IV and VIII)

Instructor(s) Mehra, G.
Schedule TuTh 9:00 - 11:50am, Intercollegiate Athletics Building 131
Units 4.0
Course Code 22720
Fees
UC Undergraduate (per unit) $ 279.00
UC Graduate (per unit) $ 349.00
Visitor (per unit) $ 349.00
Note(s) None