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Writing Program Faculty Has Book Reviewed in CHOICE


Published on January 31, 2020

Cristina Haganu-Bresch, PhD, assistant director of Writing Programs and professor of writing and rhetoric, had her new book Diagnosing Madness The Discursive Construction of the Psychiatric Patient, 1850-1920 reviewed in the February issue of CHOICE, a publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries (A division of the American Library Association).

Dr. Haganu-Bresch co-authored the book with Carol Berkenkotter, a professor at University of Minnesota until her death in 2016. 

In the review, the book is highly recommended for upper-division undergraduates through faculty, professionals, and general readers.

From the review by J. Rankin, East Tennessee State University : 

Diagnosing Madness provides penetrating insights into the discursive gestures through which patients, psychiatrists, and the state have tried to understand and manage mental illness in both Britain and the US. Employing an impressive array of source genres, including medical certificates, court documents, case notes, patient memoirs, and even novels based on wrongful confinement cases, the authors demonstrate that although the diagnosis of mental illness can be open to interpretation, its consequences have been severe and long lasting. … Crucially, the study shows how incorrect diagnoses and wrongful confinement have become a public issue and helped erode public faith in psychiatry. This contestation still motivates public discussion concerning mental illness on both sides of the Atlantic. This is ultimately an interesting and readable book that will be enjoyed by all.

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