Start your review of Depression: A Public Feeling Write a review Shelves: own-electronic , nonfiction , read-on-kindle , biography-or-memoir , psychology A fascinating, necessary analysis and memoir about depression. Ann Cvetkovich, a professor of English and Gender Studies at the University of Texas, integrates the critical essay and memoir genres to explore her own experience with depression. From the beginning, she argues against the biomedical model of depression, while acknowledging that it may help A fascinating, necessary analysis and memoir about depression. From the beginning, she argues against the biomedical model of depression, while acknowledging that it may help some who suffer. A meaningful passage that analyzes the medical model: "Within the popular imaginary, the medical model also holds powerful sway, especially the rhetoric that depression, pervasive though it might be, is manageable because it is a disease that can be detected, diagnosed, and treated. Although significantly bolstered by powerful economic and institutional interests, this commonsense understanding has widespread popular appeal particularly because a medical model based on biology relieves people of individual blame or responsibility and makes for a tangible set of solutions that contrast with the overwhelming, diffuse, and messy tendencies of social or cultural analysis.
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She describes her own experience of the professional pressures, creative anxiety, and political hopelessness that led to intellectual blockage while she was finishing her dissertation and writing her first book.
Building on the insights of the memoir, in the critical essay she considers the idea that feeling bad constitutes the lived experience of neoliberal capitalism. Cvetkovich draws on an unusual archive, including accounts of early Christian acedia and spiritual despair, texts connecting the histories of slavery and colonialism with their violent present-day legacies, and utopian spaces created from lesbian feminist practices of crafting. She herself seeks to craft a queer cultural analysis that accounts for depression as a historical category, a felt experience, and a point of entry into discussions about theory, contemporary culture, and everyday life.
Depression: A Public Feeling suggests that utopian visions can reside in daily habits and practices, such as writing and yoga, and it highlights the centrality of somatic and felt experience to political activism and social transformation. Rather than building a traditional academic argument with research and theory, the book combines stylistically distinct and potentially disparate parts that add up to a highly readable, relatable, radical treatise that provides many points of entry and fresh thinking on one of the most overexamined subjects of the past few decades.
By melding the personal and the academic, Cvetkovich is creating an important new forum for how we discuss depression.
The material is totally fascinating. At the end, she turns rather sweetly to crafting as one reparative habit, partly because of the aesthetic of connectivity that it can stimulate. Cvetkovich finds a variety of ways to utilize the tools of academe to build a shelter from the traumas of academe.
Still, Depression is not a pity party. Cvetkovich offers hope to all who fight depression by suggesting that as she has emerged from despair, so can others. If you have ever been a struggling academic, you will relate, and you will feel grateful. Importantly, while this approach never undermines the experience of depression by positioning it only as a construction, it still draws attention to commonplace assumptions about feeling sad, being political and getting better.
Cvetkovich weaves her own journal through the critical reading that makes her work so compelling—simultaneously taking seriously, and asking us to question, the more familiar narrative she has just shared.
While tackling the tough issues of today, she still gives us a book that feels totally timeless. Depression: A Public Feeling fills a gap that has morphed into a crater. The book is as invaluable as it is enjoyable. Weaving together memoir, cultural and medical history, and literary and theoretical discussion, Cvetkovich experiments with and reflects on unconventional ways of writing about embodiment, cognition, and affect.
Along the way, she offers myriad prescriptions, small and large, on how to cope with the daily effects of depression and how to heal the world. The book offers a model for something like collective or collaborative authorship; framed as a project conceived in concert with a far-flung community of academics, activists, and artists, Depression is a departure from academic business as usual.
This is a profoundly inspiring book.
Depression: A Public Feeling
Description: This course will explore the increasing visibility of creative non-fiction in fostering public debate and making social and political interventions. But more so than producing definitions, the course will ask why truth-telling of various kinds might demand creative modes and why writers interested in social and political justice, including feminists, have sought to invent new forms of writing. Many of the writers we will read also work in literary genres such as fiction and poetry, and we will consider why they also practice forms of creative non-fiction. Building on that background, we will explore the many ways that women writers are documenting global histories and cultures through creative non-fiction, including subjects such as following: postcolonial tourism Kincaid , ordinary racisms Biss and Rankine , queer families Nelson , Hurricane Katrina Trethewey , environmentalism Solnit and Roy , multiculturalism Smith , AIDS and migration Danticat. Although not all of this work is explicitly concerned with women and gender, we will consider how feminist sensibilities inform its concern with the relation between local experience and global cultures and economies reflecting the Global Cultures flag. The final project will include opportunities for revision and peer review. We will spend the semester thinking about literary and cultural criticism from the inside out—that is, we will be reading and discussing the methodological and argumentative moves that scholars make.
She argues for the importance of recognizing—and archiving—accounts of trauma that belong as much to the ordinary and everyday as to the domain of catastrophe. An Archive of Feelings contends that the field of trauma studies, limited by too strict a division between the public and the private, has overlooked the experiences of women and queers. Rejecting the pathologizing understandings of trauma that permeate medical and clinical discourses on the subject, Cvetkovich develops instead a sex-positive approach missing even from most feminist work on trauma. She challenges the field to engage more fully with sexual trauma and the wide range of feelings in its vicinity, including those associated with butch-femme sex and aids activism and caretaking.
An Archive of Feelings
She describes her own experience of the professional pressures, creative anxiety, and political hopelessness that led to intellectual blockage while she was finishing her dissertation and writing her first book. Building on the insights of the memoir, in the critical essay she considers the idea that feeling bad constitutes the lived experience of neoliberal capitalism. Cvetkovich draws on an unusual archive, including accounts of early Christian acedia and spiritual despair, texts connecting the histories of slavery and colonialism with their violent present-day legacies, and utopian spaces created from lesbian feminist practices of crafting. She herself seeks to craft a queer cultural analysis that accounts for depression as a historical category, a felt experience, and a point of entry into discussions about theory, contemporary culture, and everyday life.
She moved to the U. She then attended Cornell University , completing her Ph. D in English Literature in While some of her early work is historical, dealing with Victorian literature and mass culture, most of her work engages with more contemporary cultural texts and political issues. All of her work, though, is shaped by her interest in feeling as both a subject of exploration and framework for analysis.