Accidents Happen: An Art Autopathography on Mental Disability

John Derby


This essay uses Couser’s presentation of autopathography as a frame for disseminating creative autoethnographic research practices. The preface outlines the conceptual framework for the research, which critically explores personal, cultural, and institutional contexts of mental disability discourses in response to Foucault’s thesis that the arts dismantle normalizing myths about mental disability. Following Foucault’s treatment of visual, performing, and literary arts as a homogeneous entity, the ensuing story demonstrates how traditional and emerging art practices and creative writing can be hybridized to create complex representations of disability that challenge ableist, normalizing discourses.

keywords: art, autopathography, hybridity, mental illness, mental disability


art; autopathography; hybridity; mental illness; mental disability

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Copyright (c) 2013 John Derby

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ISSN: 2159-8371 (Online); 1041-5718 (Print)