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In Treatment: Psychiatry and the Archives of Modern Sexuality

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Klarman Hall, KG42
232 East Ave, Ithaca, NY 14853

Prof. Regina Kunzel’s (Princeton) current research considers the encounter of LGBT/queer people with psychiatry in the 20th-century US, weighing the impact of attributions of mental illness on queer life, exploring the complex and varied ways in which queer people experienced psychiatric scrutiny, and arguing for the importance of psychiatric scrutiny and stigma in the making of modern sexuality.  It also considers the politics of claims to health, championed by gay activists and some dissident psychiatrists in the 1950s-70s and culminating in the American Psychiatric Association’s declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness.

This talk explores the encounter of sexual- and gender-variant people with psychiatry and psychoanalysis in mid-twentieth-century America and examines the role of psychiatric scrutiny and stigma in the making of modern sexuality.  Focusing on the archive of St. Elizabeths Hospital, the federal hospital for the mentally ill in Washington, DC, Kunzel reflects on its meaning and challenges to queer history. 


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Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Studies, American Studies Program, History


cascal, fgsscal, lgbtstudiescal, amstcal, cosochum, CUHistory, casfeatured


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Trisica Munroe

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Regina Kunzel

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Princeton University

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