Unhinged: Zoom, Crisis, Disabling Communication in the Ivy League
Keywords:Madness, Psychosis, Disability, Consent, Listening, Zoom
AbstractUnhinged evokes how institutions of higher learning police their boundaries through codes of professionalism and sanity. It examines what kinds of bodies and minds are permitted to walk across campus grounds, to take up an office, enter a classroom, present research, speak in a Zoom meeting. Hiring a Mad scholar means more than ticking the requisite diversity box. The presence of madness within a scholarly setting disrupts boundaries between reason and unreason, between legitimacy and illegitimacy, between what should be heard and what should be silenced. The essay considers specifically a moment of failed listening, when assumptions were made about what a mad person means, as if she has no say in defining herself and her needs. What results is not a theoretical intervention into a given text, but into a living moment: the ethics of care within academic settings and the difficult translation of conceptual framework from page to face. This lyrical meditation ultimately imagines what madness might have to offer the forums of academia, what listening to madness might teach us about the signifying resonance of unordinary linguistics and why a sentence uttered in an international atrocity might need to break. The analysis subverts assumptions of pathology and risk, revealing how the negation of a madwoman's agency and voice is itself a danger.
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