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Title page for ETD etd-03252019-175726

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Mang, Maggie
URN etd-03252019-175726
Title Contesting Compulsory Mental Wellness: Unwellness, design, and pedagogy in Open in Emergency as conduits for politics, negotiation, and new imaginaries
Degree Master of Arts
Department Medicine, Health, and Society
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Aimi Hamraie Committee Chair
Kenneth MacLeish Committee Member
  • pedagogy
  • design
  • critical psychiatry
  • unwellness
Date of Defense 2019-03-01
Availability restrictone
Open in Emergency (OiE) is the 2016 fall/winter special issue of the Asian American Literary Review (AALR), a small, arts non-profit based out of Washington D.C. Described as an arts- and humanities-based intervention into Asian American mental health, OiE comprises material-discursive elements such as a “hacked” DSM: Asian American edition, a treated postpartum depression pamphlet, and Asian American tarot cards. In this thesis, I dissect a logic of unwellness represented in OiE and argue that this logic does not act as a signifier of individual despair. Rather, it acts to contest and resist the ways in which compulsory wellness depoliticizes and individualizes accounts of being well. These critical, epistemic moves are manifest through OiE’s design decisions, namely the act of “hacking,” as it relates to whose knowledge, in accounts of unwellness, is seen as valid. Finally, I trace my experiences teaching OiE in classrooms, where I consider this project as a tool for a critical pedagogy of care, foregrounding an emphasis on seeing students as having valid accounts of unwellness, inviting and taking seriously these accounts, and prioritizing care as collaborative, interdependent, and joyful.
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