Psychological Disability and the Director's Chair: Interrogating the Relationship Between Positionality and Pedagogy




Elston, M. Melissa

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The act of writing this essay involves some professional risk, because it also involves a disclosure: I am a writing center director and tenure-track assistant professor at a regional public university in the Midwest. I also live with an anxiety disorder – the most prevalent class of psychological disorder among U.S. residents in a 2005 study (28.8%). I know I am far from alone. Roughly half of Americans will meet the DSM-IV criteria for a mental disorder at least once during their lifespans (Kessler et al. 595).1 Within academia, however, you would not recognize mental illness’s prevalence – at least, outside anecdotes shared between close friends, or the occasional Facebook post from a colleague in which he or she discloses a diagnosis in response to a mental-health awareness campaign or high-profile celebrity suicide.

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