CFP: The Anatomy of Un/Reason: The Birth of Mental Illness and its Fate in Postmodern Culture

October 10-11, 2014, Krakow, Poland

We wish to invite you to attend the International Interdisciplinary Symposium The Anatomy of Un/Reason : The Birth of Mental Illness and its Fate in Postmodern Culture, during which we would like to discuss the aforementioned topics. Our aim is to exchange thoughts on the phenomenon of madness in modern and postmodern times. The Symposium is planned as an interdisciplinary project; one which shall outline the contexts as widely as possible. Hence, next to representatives of literary and cultural studies, we would like to invite scholars of various other backgrounds as well, including psychology, psychiatry, sociology, and religious studies. We intend to look into different texts of culture which make mental illness their subject, and to analyse the works of authors afflicted with particular mental disorders. We encourage You to present studies and varied attempts at conceptualization of the phenomenon of madness, regardless of methodology, methodological instruments, or field of scientific interest, since our goal is to draw from varied contextual fields and perspectives: political-legal, sociocultural, pop cultural, religious, ethical, philosophical, anthropological-psychiatric, cognitivist, neuropsychiatric, as well as psychology of art and clinical psychology.

Further details are available at

Call for papers

We propose the following objects of study:

1. Biography and existence
– Patographies
– The experience of madness
– Psychotic experience versus psychedelic experience (“trip” as “artificial” psychosis?)
– A literary case study
– Memoirs and autobiographies of former psychiatric hospital patients
– Gender and the mode of experiencing madness

2. Theorizing insanity
– Humanist psychiatry (Kępiński)
– Anti-psychiatry
– Existentialist psychiatry
– Psychoanalysis
– Gender and feminist perspectives
– Religious studies perspectives
– Anthropological perspectives
-Metaphors of insanity in modern philosophy

3. Madness and Art
a) Literature
– Grammar/semantics of madness
– Literary devices for the expression of insanity
-Avant-gardes of the XX century
 Fous littéraires
– Pathaphysics
– Parlance of insanity as a literary mean
b) Visual Arts
– Cinema: Surrealism or cinematographic depictions of madness
– Art-therapy
– Depictions of madness in visual arts
– Performatics of madness
c) Psychopathology of madness
– “Genius and derangement”

4. Institutionalization of madness
– Psychiatric hospital: a sanatorium, a safe haven, or a total institution?
– Between the norm and the transgression
– The normal and the abnormal: attempts at definition
– The law and mental illness
– Culture and mental illness: from mythologizing to stigmatizing

5. Madness and modernity
– New media/Internet: communicative schizophrenia?
– Schizophrenia and Capitalism (Anti-Oedipus)’
– Madness and civilization
– Politics and insanity

6. Archaeology of modern madness
– The birth of psychiatry as a branch of medicine
– The earliest psychiatric hospitals
– The Great Confinement
– The psychoanalytic revolution

The subject of planned presentation, the abstract (1500 characters maximum), and key words (10 maximum) should be sent together with a filled admittance form before the 5th of May 2014 to

Deadline: May 5, 2014

Posted: March 19, 2014