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The Racialization of Madness in Contemporary France

Headshot of Catherine Perret
Friday, November 04, 2022
9:55 am - 10:55 am
Catherine Perret
Contemporary Thought Lecture Series

Since the silent extermination of the mentally ill in French psychiatric hospitals during the Second World War, the critique of psychiatry has been a seminal political topic in France and an essential object of questioning for philosophy. Georges Canguilhem, Michel Foucault, and Félix Guattari were some of the main figures involved in this debate. This lecture will propose a rereading of this history in light of current developments in neoliberal psychiatric institutions, and more specifically the ways in which the questions of madness and that of race as theorized by Frantz Fanon are inherently related.

Catherine Perret is a philosopher and professor of aesthetics at University of Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis where she works at the intersection of art, anthropology and psychoanalysis. Her research is situated in the historical and critical tradition of Walter Benjamin, and she has written several books and articles on the destructive and innovative relationship between art and politics among which Les Porteurs d'ombre, mimésis et modernité (Belin, 2002), L'Enseignement de la torture. Réflexions sur Jean Améry (Seuil, 2013). Before joining Paris 8, Professor Perret was Program Director at the Collège International de Philosophie and Assistant Professor at the University of Paris 10 Nanterre. Her latest book, Le Tacite, l'humain. Anthropologie politique de Fernand Deligny traces the development of children psychiatry and the history of childhood in France through the work of Fernand Deligny.