SAMLA 2018: Psychoanalysis, Anti-psychiatry and Early Modern Literature

deadline for submissions: 
May 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Southeastern Renaissance Conference, SAMLA Affiliate
contact email: 

Southeastern Renaissance Conference, SAMLA Affiliate

November 2-4, 2018, Birmingham, Alabama

Due February 12, 2018 for inclusion in SAMLA News


Psychoanalysis, Anti-psychiatry and Early Modern Literature


In his early work, Michel Foucault examines the marginalization of the mentally ill, who replaced lepers as early modern society’s Other.  Foucault ultimately became the figurehead of the anti-psychiatry movement, which questioned the validity of the very notion of “mentally ill.”  In Madness and Civilization, Foucault located this new medicalization of the mentally ill in the seventeenth century, a period in which he would subsequently mark the beginnings of the imprisoned subject, epistemological rupture, and modern notions of sexuality.


For this panel we seek analyses of early modern depictions of mental illness that are informed, complemented, or correlated with Foucault’s early work on the treatment of the mentally ill.  Although, Foucault’s Madness and Civilization has garnered much criticism, the system of thought it examines can inform cultural products of a society at a crucial turning point socially and politically.


Possible topics might include readings of early modern literature informed by:


Psychoanalysis (Freud and Lacan)

Foucault and Derrida

Foucault and Kristeva/semiotics

Descartes and the evil genius

Foucault and Disability Studies

Depictions of melancholy (Hamlet, Romeo)

Depictions of mental illness (King Lear)

Depictions of psychopathology (Richard III, Iago)


Submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to the panel organizers by May 1, 2018.  Also submit a 100-word biography.


Dr. Ruth McIntyre, Kennesaw State University, rmcinty1@kennesaw.edU