CFP: [American] Pop Psych: Psychotherapy in/and Popular Culture (NEMLA 2009; Boston)

full name / name of organization: 
Jennifer Bottinelli
contact email: 

Call for Papers

Pop Psych: Psychotherapy in/and Popular Culture

40th Anniversary Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
Feb. 26-March 1, 2009
Hyatt Regency - Boston, Massachusetts

This panel seeks papers that analyze the various intersections of psychology/psychotherapy and
popular culture, including television, film, literature, and self-help texts. One area of interest is
the representation of psychotherapy in popular culture and its effect on the audience/consumer.
What do such representations say about our cultural perceptions of psychology and mental
health? Is the media a useful outlet for disseminating information about mental health? Can, for
instance, the psychological memoir and television shows, such as Intervention and In Treatment,
effectively encourage and enhance personal insight and even empathy towards others? Or, as
Phillip Cushman argues in Constructing the Self, Constructing America: A Cultural History of
Psychotherapy, has psychotherapy “been slow to recognize the discipline’s role in sustaining the
empty self and contributing to the shape of the overarching twentieth-century [and now twenty-
first century] frame of reference it serves”? A second area of interest consists of the
psychotherapeutic process and its kinship with particular elements of pop culture texts in the
vein of Peter Brooks’s essay, “Freud’s Masterplot,” in which he argues for “the superimposition of
the model of the functioning of the mental apparatus on the functioning of the text.” This panel
is interested in what happens to psychotherapy and to popular culture when the two intersect.

Issues of consideration include, but are not limited to:
*Representations of psychotherapy in popular culture
*Cultural perceptions of psychology and mental health
*The media as an outlet for disseminating information about mental health
*Similarities between narrative and psychoanalytic processes and forms

Email 250-500 word abstracts and all other inquiries to Jennifer Bottinelli, Kutztown University,
Deadline: September 15, 2008
Please include with your abstract: your name and affiliation, email address, postal address,
telephone number, and A/V requirements, if any.

The complete Call for Papers for the 2009 Convention will be posted in June. See Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA panel;
however panelists can only present one paper. Convention participants may present a paper at a
panel or seminar and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable.

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Received on Mon May 26 2008 - 09:42:33 EDT