Dr. Simon Schleusener (Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg): "The Cinema of Insanity: Madness and Normality in the Culture of the 1960s"

Wednesday, 25.01.2017, 12:15 - 1:45 p.m., U5/01.18

This paper will concentrate on the cultural negotiations surrounding the question of madness and normality in the early 1960s. Focusing primarily on Hollywood's cinematographic depiction of the subject, special attention will be given to four films in particular: Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), Elia Kazan's Splendor in the Grass (1961), John Cassavetes' A Child Is Waiting (1963), and Samuel Fuller's Shock Corridor (1963). Despite their differences, what all these films demonstrate is that the common understanding of normality - and the boundary between the normal and the abnormal - tended to become more flexible in the early Sixties. In the course of his presentation, Dr. Schleusener will analyze this development against the backdrop of two simultaneously emerging phenomena: countercultural thought and neoliberal discourse.

Simon Schleusener is a research associate at the University of Würzburg's American Studies Department. In 2012, he obtained his PhD at the John F. Kennedy Institute (Freie Universität Berlin) with a thesis on the topic "Kulturelle Komplexität: Gilles Deleuze und die Kulturtheorie der American Studies." He has published texts on American literature, cultural theory, and the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. Currently, he is pursuing a postdoctoral project on the cultural and affective dimensions of the new capitalism.