Friday, September 29, 2006

Grimsley on academia and bipolar disorder

"Academics are nothing if not clever in conveying their prejudices," writes historian Mark Grimsley in "An Inappropriate Illness," a new essay at Inside Higher Ed. When a professor is upfront about a hidden disability with his colleagues, he finds a stigma still attached to it--because a stigma voiced in more polite or bureaucratic terms is still a stigma.


Anonymous said...

I was actually a little annoyed by the implication that people with physical disabilities are better off than those with mental illness, an implication that seems to come up a lot in discussions of mental illness in academia. I think people with mental illness sometimes underestimate the issues that people with physical disabilities face. (I'm sure that goes the other way, too.) And I'm bothered by the extent to which people in academia with physical and mental disabilities seem to talk past each other. People with mental illness think that those with physical illness don't face stigma and are therefore made in the shade. (And I can tell you that I'm sure as hell not disclosing my illness and prognosis until I get tenure. I realized that the hard way when a colleague told me she thought I was ethically obligated to inform potential funders and employers of my condition, so they could decide whether I was "worth" the "risk.") People with physical impairments aren't convinced that mental illness is *really* disability. And the result is that we seem to have trouble coming up with a cohesive movement for disability rights on campus.

Otherwise, I thought it was a really good editorial.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the link. My daughter also has BP and is working towards her PhD. I've sent the link on to her.

Mike Dorn said...

Thanks for sharing this article, Penny. I encourage DS,TU readers to check out the original article and the comments left by readers there as well. Prof. Grimsley should feel proud of the role he has played in bringing these issues out in the open, offering a way for others to share their insights. MD