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Course1103: Rethinking Mental Health: Between the Windscreen and the Rearview Mirror

 Date: Jan 2nd- Jan 8th 2012 (10 am to 6 pm) 

This course will look at two kinds of questions that need to be addressed in mental health: one, coming from the present (i.e. coming to view through the windscreen) and the other, coming from the past (i.e. coming to view through the rearview mirror). One, looking at questions the contemporary is throwing up (questions coming from neurobiology, cognition studies, disability studies, critical legal studies, critical psychology, post-Freudian approaches, qualitative/quantitative debates, public health/private health service related debates, the State-pharmaceutical continuum, incitement to discourse around mental states like stress, anorexia post-globalization, de-institutionalization, de-pathologization, informed consent, living will, ECT, client's perspective, bio-ethics etc.) and the other looking at questions the 'Indian past and bathe Indian context' throws up (questions pertaining to 'faith healing', pre/non-modern and non-western approaches to mental health, debates around 'Indian Psychology', 'Psychology in India' and 'Psychology for India', debates around the plurality of approaches like biomedical psychiatry, psychology and psychoanalysis, debates around institutional and community mental health) so as to see what is ideal for the patient/client/survivor and what would be the kind of (clinical/community) engagement we would strive for in the mental health setting. 

Session 1: Jan 2, 2012 (10 am to 1 pm) – Rethinking Mental Health I: New Questions, New Frameworks

This session will through class participation arrive at an inventory of the new questions and new frameworks in mental health. At least, three frameworks will be put to discussion. One, the framework of 'Critical Psychology'. Two, the framework of 'Clinical Psychology'/'Psychoanalysis'. Three, the framework of 'Cultural Psychology'. In a broad sense, the course is placed at the cusp of the 'critical'-'clinical'-'cultural' (where each in turn could be put to interrogation). In a narrower sense, the course is placed at the cusp of three thinkers, Foucault-Freud-Nandy (and through Nandy, 'Savage Freud' Girindrasekhar Bose, the first psychoanalyst in the Southern hemisphere who was in conversation with Freud and who differed with Freud on questions of 'sexuation', Oedipus Complex and castration). 
In another sense, the course is about a 'critique of critique'. It is about asking: how does one reflect on a tradition of critical psychology in India? What are the problems and hurdles of such a reflection? One is of course the ‘culture question’. Is cultural psychology, critical psychology? Does the cultural turn make psychology critical? Not necessarily, because we need a further work of critique on the matrix of the cultural: ‘India’ remains to this day a divided perspective, and it becomes increasingly difficult to speak from just location or context. Conversely, do we not need a further work of culture on the extant culture of critical psychology? One perhaps needs to pass that which is already considered critical in the West through the cultural prism. The same holds true for the psychoanalytic turn in the Indian history of mental health. While the psychoanalytic perspective is a critique of mainstream psychology, the critique would require further critique – one coming from the register of culture (Girindrasekhar Bose) and the other coming from the register of critical psychology - one coming from the register of 'schizoanalysis' (see Anti-Oedipus by Deleuze-Guattari, 2004) and the other coming from the register of 'semanalysis' (see Kristeva) - one coming from 'resistances to psychoanalysis' and the other from 'Resistances of Psychoanalysis' (see Derrida, 1998).
i. Deleuze, Gilles & Guattari, Felix (2004). Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia – London: Continuum (pp. xiii - xxvii; 301-310). Link Found
ii. Derrida, J. Resistances of Psychoanalysis - Stanford University Press, 1998.
For example, one can think of a psychoanalytic critique of mainstream (experimental or behavioral) psychology; one can then think of a feminist critique of psychoanalysis. However, feminism itself would require cultural critique and the cultural would require feminist critique. Critical-psychoanalytic-cultural-critical-psychoanalytic- … thus emerge as an interminable continuum in the course; the ‘next move’ subverts the ‘earlier moment’; the ‘earlier’ anticipates the ‘next’. Or perhaps, it is the Borromean (ir)resolution of the psychoanalytic, the cultural and the critical that awaits us. 
In yet another sense, the course is about a critical reflection on three dominant idioms in contemporary mental health - (i) localization (see Foucault's Birth of the Clinic), (ii) classification-pathologisation (we have in mind the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual [DSM]) and (iii) quantification. 
i. Foucault, Michel (2005) The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1981-1982. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-41. Link Found
i. Foucault, Michel (1976). The Birth of the Clinic. London: Tavistock, pp. ix - 21. Link Found

Session 2: Jan 2, 2012 (2 pm to 4 pm – Reading and Writing Session): Reading Foucault I: Foucault says in History of Madness “European man, since the depth of the middle ages, has had a relation with a thing that is confusedly called Madness, Dementia or Unreason” … Write on 

(a) What is this ‘relation’ that the European has had with Madness, Dementia or Unreason? 
(b) Has the non-European have had a different relation?
i. History of Madness by Michel Foucault - Routledge, 2006, pp. xxvii - xxxvi. Link Found
ii. Abnormal: lectures at the Collège de France, 1974-1975 by Michel Foucault - Verso, 2003, pp. 1-80. 
Session 3: Jan 2, 2012 (5 pm to 8 pm): Reading Foucault II – Class Discussion on “Preface to the 1961 edition” in History of Madness.  Link Found
Session 4: Jan 3, 2012 (10 am to 1 pm): Rethinking Mental Health II: New Questions, New Frameworks: Speaker: Radhika P 
Session 5: Jan 3, 2012 (2 pm to 4 pm – Reading and Writing Session): Reading Freud I: Restlessness, Phantasy and the Concept of the Mind: What is your understanding of Akrasia? Write a reflective and critical note on Akrasia? Do you agree with Jonathan Lear (on Akrasia being a constitutive feature of the human mind)?
i. Freud, S. 1925. “A Note on the Mystic Writing Pad” in General Psychological Theory, Chapter XIII, pp. 207-212. Link found
ii. Lear, J. 1998. “Restlessness, Phantasy, and the Concept of Mind” in Open Minded: Working out the Logic of the Soul, pp. 80-122. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press). Link Found
i. Lacan, J. 2006. “The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious” in Ecrits (trans. Bruce Fink), pp. 671-702 (New York, London: W. W. Norton and Company). Link Found
Session 6: Jan 3, 2012 (5 pm to 8 pm): Reading Freud I: Class Discussion on “Restlessness, Phantasy, and the Concept of Mind” by Jonathan Lear. Link Found
Session 7: Jan 4, 2012 (10 am to 1 pm): Rethinking Mental Health III: Speaker: Radhika P. 
i. Davar, Bhargavi (2001). Mental health from a gender perspective. New Delhi: Sage .
ii. Davar, Bhargavi (1999). Mental health of Indian women: A feminist agenda. New Delhi: Sage.
Session 8: Jan 4, 2012 (2 pm to 4 pm – Reading and Writing Session): Reading Nandy I: “Towards an Alternative Politics of Psychology” in Bonfire of Creeds: The Essential Ashis Nandy, pp. 324-338. OUP. 
i. Nandy, A. 2004. 'The Savage Freud: The First Non-Western Psychoanalyst and the Politics of Secret Selves in Colonial India' in Bonfire of Creeds: The Essential Ashis Nandy, pp. 339-393. OUP. Link Found
ii. Nandy, A. 2004. 'Towards an Alternative Politics of Psychology', in Bonfire of Creeds: The Essential Ashis Nandy, pp. 324-338. OUP. Link Found
Session 9: Jan 4, 2012 (5 pm to 8 pm): Reading Nandy II: Class Discussion on “Towards an Alternative Politics of Psychology” by Ashis Nandy. 
Session 10a: Jan 5, 2012 (10 am to 11:30 am): Debates around the Map of Mental Health in India – Marking spaces for psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis, community mental health and faith healing. 
Session 10b: Jan 5, 2012 (11:30 am to 1 pm): 
Erik Erikson (1970) says: "We must begin by recognizing our patients as the inverted dissenters, too sick for the modish malaise of their time, too isolated for joint dissent, and yet too sensitive for simple adjustment". 
This session is a reflection on the Eriksonian anguish. It is also about contemporary debates around the 'rights' of the mentally dis-eased – for example, the paternalism vs autonomy debate. It would also be an introduction to questions of informed consent, living will, client’s perspective, bio-ethics. 
i. Dhanda, Amita (2000). Legal Order and Mental Disorder – New Delhi: Sage. 
i. Davar, Bhargavi. 2011. "Narratives of Coercion: Law as a Social Determinant of Clinical Interactions in Mental Hospitals (unpublished paper).   
ii. Biswas, Ranjita and Dhar, Anup (2010). Madness, Mental Health and the Ethics of Psychoanalysis. In Human rights and Ethics: Conceptual Analysis and contextual application. Ed. Shashi Motilal. London: Anthem Press.
Session 11a: Jan 5, 2012 (2 pm to 3:30 pm): Debates around Diagnosis vs De-pathologization, Cure vs Care, Disease vs Suffering, Treatment vs healing. This session would also be an introduction to the Lacanian Diagnostic Manual. 
i. A clinical introduction to Lacanian psychoanalysis: theory and technique by Bruce Fink - 1999 - Harvard University Press, pp. 75-78. 
Session 11b: Jan 5, 2012 (3:30 pm to 5 pm): De-institutionalization, Global Capital, Community Mental Health and Faith Healing 
i. Altman, Neil (2004). The Analyst in the Inner City: Race, Class, and Culture through a Psychoanalytic Lens. New York: Routledge, pp. 213-226.
Session 12: Jan 6, 2012 (10 am to 1 pm): Faith Healing, Gender and Cultural Difference 
i. Crapanzano, Vincent & Garrison, Vivian (Eds.) (1977). Case studies in spirit possession. New York: John Wiley and Sons, pp. 1-40. 
ii. Bargen, Gloria (1988). Spirit Possession in The Context of Dramatic Expressions of Gender Conflict: The Aoi Episodeof the Genji monogatari. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 48, No. 1 (Jun., 1988), pp. 95-130. Link Found
iii. Behere, P. & Natraj, GS (1984). Dhat Syndrome: The phenomenology of a culture bound sex neurosis of the Orient. Indian Journal of Psychiatry (1984), 26(1):76-78. Link Found
iv. Davar, Bhargavi & Lokhare, Madhura (2009). Recovering from psychosocial traumas: The place of dargahs in Maharashtra. Economic and Political Weekly. Volume 44, Number 16, April 18-24, 2009.
Link Found
Session 13: Jan 6, 2012 (2 pm to 5 pm): Science(s) of the Mind: Between Foucault and Freud – this session will also look at the neurobiology of dreams, discuss plasticity, and mirror neurons. 
i. “Science(s) of the Mind: Fort-Da between the Windscreen and the Rearview Mirror” in Materialism and Immaterialism In India and the West: Varying Vistas (Volume XII, Levels of Reality, Part 5 – ed. Partha Ghosh), in PROJECT OF HISTORY OF INDIAN SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY AND CULTURE (PHISPC), General Ed. D P Chattopadhyay, 2010.
ii. The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human by V. S. Ramachandran - W. W. Norton, 2011. 
Session 14: Jan 7, 2012 (10 am to 1 pm): Science(s) of the Mind: Between Foucault-Freud and Nandy. 
i. Said, E. 2003. Freud and the Non-European, pp. 13-55 (Verso: London and New York). Link found
ii. Derrida, J. 1998. “Geopsychoanalysis: “ … and the rest of the world” in Christopher, L. (ed.) The Psychoanalysis of Race, pp. 65-90 (New York: Columbia University Press) Link found
Session 15: Jan 7, 2012 (2 pm to 5 pm): Psychoanalysis in Cultural Crucible: Between Deconstruction and Aboriginalization 
i. Bose, Girindrasekhar (1921). Concept of Repression. Calcutta: Sri Gauranga Press and London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Troubner and Co.
ii. Bose, Girindrasekhar (1948). A New Theory of Mental Life. Samiksha, Vol 2, No 2. 
iii. Bose, Girindrasekhar (1949). Ambivalence. Samiksha, Vol 3, No 2.
iv. Bose, Girindrasekhar (1951). The Nature of the Wish. Samiksha, Vol 5, No 4.
v. Bose, Girindrasekhar (1952). Analysis of Wish. Samiksha, Vol 6, No 1.
vi. Bose, Girindrasekhar (1952). Pleasure in Wish. Samiksha, Vol 6, No 2.
vii. Bose, Girindrasekhar (1952). Sex and Anxiety. Samiksha, Vol 6, No 3.
viii. Bose, Girindrasekhar (1966). The Yoga Sutras. Calcutta: The Indian Psychoanalytic Society. 
(all the Bose papers can be downloaded from
i. Bose, Girindrasekhar (1999). The Beginnings of Psychoanalysis in India: Bose-Freud Correspondence. Calcutta: Indian Psychoanalytic Society. Link Found
Session 16: Jan 8, 2012 (10 am to 1 pm): Psychoanalysis, Sexual Difference and the ab-Original: Whither Mental Health? 
i. Parker, Ian (2008). Japan in Analysis: Cultures of the Unconscious. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-47.
ii. Spivak, Gayatri (1994). Psychoanalysis in the left field and fieldworking: Examples to fit the title. Speculations after Freud: Psychoanalysis, Philosophy and Culture. Ed. Shamdasani, S & Munchow. M. London: Routledge, pp. 41-75.
Session 17: Jan 8, 2012 (2 pm to 5 pm): Group work - Generating Research Questions around the Critical-Clinical-Cultural


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Course1103: Rethinking Mental Health: Between the Windscreen and the Rearview Mirror

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