I chose to go flat. But I almost wasn’t allowed to. This is largely due to the unacknowledged psychological tension that underlies deeply gendered illnesses: that it is possible to have one’s gender or sex taken away by disease or disability; literally eaten by cancer and its aftermath. The sick person is then framed as one who has been robbed of the “natural” trappings of motherhood, wife-dom, and feminine sexuality. The aesthetics of breast cancer therefore remained fixated on a loss of idealized womanhood.
When I asked my research participants what they felt had caused theirs or their patient’s schizophrenia, it was often put down to one thing or another, rather than one thing and another:
"It was because of this one bad acid tab”
“It was hereditary”
“It was the trauma”
... But when it came to the solution, it tended to be a multitude of things.
In this public lecture, Gabrielle Carey and Julia Brown hope to achieve at least two things. First, to humanise and reduce fear around the condition of schizophrenia (a heavily neglected social issue in Australia). Second, to show how two disciplines (literature and anthropology) can complement each other in the name of better communicating lived experiences of difficult subject matter.
“A lot of what individual white anti-racists, as I called them, but also the broader policy frameworks are struggling with is the question of how do we enact Indigenous equality; how do we make the lines on the graphs that we draw of Indigenous versus non-Indigenous; how do we make those lines converge and ‘close the gap’, while maintaining Indigenous difference?”