In Our Own Voice: African American Psychiatric History by Vanessa Jackson

“In Our Own Voice is a revolutionary act of self-love and a demand for visibility for African-American psychiatric survivors.”

This presentation from Vanessa Jackson provokes questions about the role of psychology and psychiatry in the oppression of African American people. At the same time, it describes a hopeful oral history project reclaiming the knowledge and stories of African American people who have endured mental health struggles. How can oral histories be used to honour our past, celebrate our present and protect our future? What stories and histories remain untold in our local contexts? How can the fields of oral history and narrative practice contribute to each other? And what sort of projects could Vanessa’s work inspire in your part of the world? After watching this presentation and reading Vanessa’s ground-breaking paper, we will welcome your participation in the on-line forum discussion.

In this initial on-line series of Friday Afternoons, we are delighted to be able to include this presentation which highlights the interface of the personal, political and professional:

“Therapy has been a poor attempt at giving people the space to put their lives in context and the power to bold or underline the events and people that we feel are important to us. In Our Own Voice challenges each of us to take responsibility, if only by sharing our own story of survival and recovery, of creating a history that truly speaks in our own voice.”


Further reading:

Here is an earlier paper by Vanessa Jackson describing this project in more detail

In Our Own Voice: African American stories of oppression survival and recovery in mental health systems, by Vanessa Jackson

Published on January 24, 2013
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