Special Issue "Discourses of Madness"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 1436

Special Issue Editor

University of Missouri Curators Distinguished Professor, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA
Interests: French, European and comparative literature; contemporary critical theory and practice; textual configurations of marginalization and the poetics of desire; post-colonial literary and cultural studies; Afro-Romance and Afro-Atlantic writers

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Today I felt pass over me a breath of wind from the wings of madness.   

—Charles Baudelaire

Literary artists and textualists have long been fascinated by the alienated, the marginalized, the eccentric; intrigued, if not befuddled, by their non-conformity, their recalcitrance, their obstinate refusal to adhere; seized by their indifference to social norms and prescribed dictates; lured, if not bemused, by their fundamental apartness or uncompromising candor. In this optic, the non-clinical dimensions of madness have been extensively explored in short stories, novels, poems, dramas, comedies, treatises, exposés, essays, epistles, even in post-modern counter-narratives masquerading as autobiographical memoirs. In consequence of this critical and meta-critical abundance, it is not uncommon to discover writings by scholars of the mind, specialists in applied psychiatric theory, eager to proffer accounts of “textualized” insanity, its plethoric configurations and manifestations.

In Michel Foucault’s seminal work, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason (1961), and throughout literary history, madness has been inextricably linked to myth and religion, to societal practices and cultural biases.  From Viking berserkers to impassioned lovers in search of elusive soulmates, emotional excess has often served to delineate norms and to assign diagnostic terms to those who fall without prescribed, predisposed boundaries.

This Special Issue invites contributions that span chronology, culture, and genre in an (individual and collective) attempt to probe the depths of a heterogenous, yet ill-defined phenomenon that has fascinated and perplexed writers and readers since the beginning of time.  Interdisciplinary and cross-cultural, the essays to inhabit this volume will constitute a trans-temporal illumination—pathological and poetic—of discourse and madness alike.  


Contributions of 5000-12000 words are welcome (although the merits of individual submissions will take precedence over essay length).

While the publication deadline for submission to this Special Issue is 30 June 2024, articles will be published online shortly after final acceptance.

Prof. Dr. Mary Jo Muratore
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • madness
  • discourse
  • pathology
  • poetics
  • textuality
  • marginality
  • deviance
  • alienation

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Productive Psychoses: Views on Terrorism and Politics in Homeland
Humanities 2023, 12(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12030037 - 04 May 2023
Viewed by 726
In the eight seasons of Showtime’s television show Homeland, leading character Carrie suffers from a bipolar disorder which repeatedly results in psychotic episodes. During these psychotic breakdowns, her grip on reality is disturbed by delusions. However, her psychotic disposition also leads to [...] Read more.
In the eight seasons of Showtime’s television show Homeland, leading character Carrie suffers from a bipolar disorder which repeatedly results in psychotic episodes. During these psychotic breakdowns, her grip on reality is disturbed by delusions. However, her psychotic disposition also leads to abilities and insights that make her a valuable agent in international secret agencies such as the CIA. This essay examines how the productivity of Carrie’s psychoses can be related to the political, military-industrial order within which she operates as a spy fighting terrorism and other threats to national and international security. What does the fact that a person suffering from psychoses is able to comprehend complex international political processes tell us about these processes and the context in which they occur? To answer this question, I turn to two scholars, both of whom have theorized subjectivity in relation to psychosis: psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan and philosopher Mauricio Lazzarato. The radically different notions of Lacan and Lazzarato lead to different interpretations of Homeland. However, although Lazzarato is a critical opponent of Lacanian psychoanalysis, I demonstrate that Lacan’s psychoanalytical ideas and Lazzarato’s machine theories can to some extent be read as complementary in an analysis of Homeland, for what the two distinct theorists have in common is that they both relate subjectivity to sign systems—to the emergence and assignment of meaning, as well as to the suspension and absence thereof. This paper argues that the psychoses of Homeland’s lead character produce political meanings because of the condition’s specific relation to meaninglessness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Discourses of Madness)
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