[Previous message][Next message][Back to index]
[ecrea] Call for Chapters: Book on Mental Illness in Entertainment Media
Wed Jun 27 11:44:09 GMT 2018
Call for Chapters for Book Proposal
The editors are seeking chapter proposals for a collection of essays
that examine positive, healthy, and accurate portrayals of mental
illness in entertainment media.
*Proposed Title*: /Quieting the Madness: Entertainment Media’s Shift
into More Accurate Depictions of Mental Illness/
*Editors*: Malynnda A. Johnson (Indiana State University) and
Christopher J. Olson (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee)
*Purpose*: From mad men to hysterical women to crazed villains, negative
depictions of mental illness recur throughout entertainment media. Thus,
unsurprisingly, a wealth of research has focused on the adverse aspects
of these portrayals. Yet viewers and producers have recently started to
push back against these inaccurate depictions and call for more accurate
narratives. As a result, several movies and television shows have
shifted how they frame mental illness. The past ten years or so have
seen the emergence of more positive portrayals of characters living with
depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, autism, and more. These
portrayals have helped kick down the “madness” door and rebuild a safer
space to talk about the realities of mental illness. Though far from
perfect these modern narratives nevertheless offer opportunities for
viewers living with mental illness to identify with characters that
experience familiar struggles.
Given that research on mental illness in the media largely focuses on
the negative depictions and their consequences, this volume seeks to
shift the perspective to examining where these portrayals of mental
illness succeed. The essays in this volume will identify and analyze the
characters, viewpoints, and experiences of mental illness across a
variety of popular media. The essays chosen for this collection will
work together to examine the presence of these messages in entertainment
media, including animated series, TV shows, comic books, movies, video
games, and more. Each essay will consider how the different texts
reflect, reinforce, and/or challenge sociocultural notions regarding
mental illness. This collection is designed to reveal how these messages
become disseminated across the entire media ecology with which any aged
audience might engage.
*Proposed Structure*: This collection will consist of an introduction, a
conclusion, and twelve essays exploring this topic across a range of media.
Each essay should contain original scholarship on this topic.
Essays should consider any media text that includes characters
living with mental illness.
Essays are encouraged to consider non-stereotypical and/or
counter-stereotypical representations of mental illness.
Essays should be 5000-6000 words long.
Essay proposals, to be considered for inclusion as a chapter, should
contain a title, your name with your institution and title, and
150-250-word abstract explaining the following:
What media text you will analyze.
What aspect of the media text you will analyze.
The importance of this aspect.
The potential conclusion drawn from your analysis.
The following presents information as to what will be covered in the
introduction and conclusion chapters, as well as an example of an essay
examining the media text /Sherlock Holmes/.
*_Sample Table of Contents_*
Tara Walker (PhD Candidate, University of Colorado Boulder), Malynnda
Johnson (Assistant Professor, Indiana State University), and Christopher
J. Olson (PhD Student, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee)
The introduction describes the prevalence of research on mental illness
across the media landscape offering a historical overview of such
representations. Setting the stage, the chapter will begin by
chronicling the way that early perceptions and treatments of mental
illnesses influenced depictions in the media. Moving along the timeline
the chapter then discusses the continuity and change in film
representations, and the common trope of equating mental illness with
violence. Considering the variety of representations on television in
the past 20 years, including sitcoms and reality shows focusing on
mental health conditions such as hoarding, OCD, and addiction the
chapter also illuminates the increasing commodification of these
disorders via TV and film. The intro will consider the pros and cons of
representations of mental illness presented in popular culture, with an
emphasis on the importance of relatable positive representations. The
intro will also include a brief discussion of the shift that the authors
see occurring in how mental illness is portrayed in entertainment media
and how scholars/critics are reacting to this shift, particularly in
terms of how they cover/discuss this shift. Specifically discussing what
happens when scholars, critics, and researchers include discussions of
medical topics without labeling the conditions. Finally, the chapter
will conclude with a preview of the chapters included in the anthology.
*Psychopath, Sociopath, or Autistic: Labeling and framing the brilliance
of /Sherlock Holmes / *
Malynnda Johnson (Assistant Professor, Indiana State University)
Across books, movies, and television series Sherlock Holmes has given
audiences multiple opportunities to attempt to understand and label the
peculiar ways Sherlock behaves. In the newest television series on the
BBC Sherlock himself uses the label of “high functioning sociopath” but
is he really? This chapter analyzes the evidence of the three labels and
calls to question the opportunities and challenges with framing a
character as having a mental illness without ever providing a diagnosis.
Christopher J. Olson (PhD student, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee)
In the conclusion chapter, Christopher J. Olson will synthesize the
ideas put forth in the various chapters to discuss the importance of
understanding the significance of positive portrayals of mental illness
in entertainment media. The conclusion will also consider how the growth
of positive, healthy, and accurate portrayals of mental illness
throughout popular culture seem to signal a similar shift in the culture
at large, one that allows for more honest discussions of mental illness
outside the context of popular culture. In addition, the chapter will
also identify areas of the media ecology that have been understudied
while also considering the impact of other messages not considered
within the pages of this anthology. Finally, this conclusion will
consider whose voices are still missing from the current discussion, and
how researchers can work to amplify these voices. Thus, the conclusion
will describe how the theories, concepts, and ideas put forth by the
contributors work together to underscore the importance of positive
depictions of mental illness, and it will propose how other avenues of
study can build off the theoretical and analytical foundation laid with
If interested, please email the authors with your proposal by September
1st, 2018 at:
Malynnda A. Johnson: (malynnda.johnson /at/ indstate.edu)
<mailto:(malynnda.johnson /at/ indstate.edu)>
Christopher J. Olson: (olson429 /at/ uwm.edu) <mailto:(olson429 /at/ uwm.edu)>
This mailing list is a free service offered by Nico Carpentier. Please
use it responsibly and wisely.
To subscribe or unsubscribe, please visit http://commlist.org/
Before sending a posting request, please always read the guidelines at
To contact the mailing list manager:
Email: (nico.carpentier /at/ vub.ac.be)
[Previous message][Next message][Back to index]