Faculty Writing: On Epistemic Injustice in Psychiatric Practice, and Coming of Age through Geek Culture

Writing for Mad in America, Jenny Logan reviews an essay by activist and survivor-researcher Indigo Daya, in which Daya examines how human rights violations are built into standard psychiatric care around the world. But these violations may not be immediately recognizable as such, Logan writes, describing how a patient’s personal narrative or sense of knowing is often undermined or negated, resulting in an “epistemic injustice,” for which both care institutions and academic discourse are responsible. What’s at stake in “elevating the knowledge” of persons with experience of coercive psychiatric confinement is the potential to “illuminate the social, political, and material forces” that produce psychic distress in the first place.

And available now for pre-order from Grand Central Publishing is Joseph Earl Thomas’s coming-of-age memoir. Sink tells the story of a young boy growing up in search of belonging, in a home where poverty and addiction have straitened love’s expression and a social world where his desires are subordinated to often brutal demands of conformity. Through a series of “exacting and fierce vignettes,” Thomas finds “vital reprieve” in “geek culture.” Praising it as quite unlike and “more propellant” than any other memoir, Kiese Laymon writes: “Thomas uses the act and politics of oration to move us within the silences of desire.”

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