front cover of The Great Art Hoax
The Great Art Hoax
Essays in the Comedy and Insanity of Collectible Art
Jon Huer
University of Wisconsin Press, 1990
The Great Art Hoax exposes the real fakery and hypocrisy of the art world: how art is manufactured and marketed; how the pathology of private possession drives up the price; and how false art is hyped as true art to the tune of millions of dollars. Jon Huer demonstrates convincingly that what the art market deals as art need not be “art” at all.
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front cover of The Hunters or the Hunted?
The Hunters or the Hunted?
An Introduction to African Cave Taphonomy
C. K. Brain
University of Chicago Press, 1981
"Amongst scientists involved [in taphonomy], C. K. Brain stands out as the pioneer; this impressive book is a statement of his investigations. . . . The Hunters or the Hunted? is a very important book for paleoanthropology. It presents the first thorough analysis of the Sterkfontein Valley assemblages, contributes significantly to the resolution of lingering controversies and, by placing the old information in a fresh perspective, enables new and more sophisticated questions to be asked not only of the South African material but of similar assemblages elsewhere. Another contribution is that it reinforces the recent change in feelings as to what constitutes data, for the value of looking at fossil and contemporary bones as closely as this is clear. Brain urges the necessity of recovering fossils with a high regard for subtle detail. I hope excavators of any vertebrate fossil site will be persuaded to follow his advice and pay more attention to these features of bone accumulations that have been previously neglected; for taphonomy can be a powerful tool in elucidating the problems of fossil assemblages, especially when handled with the care and caution that Brain brings to the subject."—Andrew Hill, Nature
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front cover of Insanity and Sanctity in Byzantium
Insanity and Sanctity in Byzantium
The Ambiguity of Religious Experience
Youval Rotman
Harvard University Press, 2016

In the Roman and Byzantine Near East, the holy fool emerged in Christianity as a way of describing individuals whose apparent madness allowed them to achieve a higher level of spirituality. Insanity and Sanctity in Byzantium examines how the figure of the mad saint or mystic was used as a means of individual and collective transformation in the period between the birth of Christianity and the rise of Islam. It presents a novel interpretation in revealing the central role that psychology plays in social and historical development.

Early Christians looked to figures who embodied extremes of behavior—like the holy fool, the ascetic, the martyr—to redefine their social, cultural, and mental settings by reading new values in abnormal behavior. Comparing such forms of extreme behavior in early Christian, pagan, and Jewish societies, and drawing on theories of relational psychoanalysis, anthropology, and sociology of religion, Youval Rotman explains how the sanctification of figures of extreme behavior makes their abnormality socially and psychologically functional. The sanctification of abnormal mad behavior created a sphere of ambiguity in the ambit of religious experience for early Christians, which brought about a deep psychological shift, necessary for the transition from paganism to Christianity.

A developing society leaves porous the border between what is normal and abnormal, between sanity and insanity, in order to use this ambiguity as a means of change. Rotman emphasizes the role of religion in maintaining this ambiguity to effect a social and psychological transformation.

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front cover of Law's Madness
Law's Madness
Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha Merrill Umphrey, Editors
University of Michigan Press, 2006
Law and madness? Madness, it seems, exists outside the law and, in principle, society struggles to keep these slippery terms separate. From this perspective, madness appears to be law's foil, the chaos that escapes law's control and simultaneously justifies its existence. Law's Madness explores the gray area between the realms of reason and madness.
The distinguished contributors to Law's Madness propose a fascinating interdisciplinary approach to the instability and mutual permeability of law and madness. Their essays examine a variety of discursive forms—from the literary to the historical to the psychoanalytic—in which law is driven more by narrative than by reason. Their studies delineate the ways in which the law takes its definition in part from that which it excludes, suppresses, or excises from itself, illuminating the drive to enforce barriers between non-reason and legality, while simultaneously shedding new light on the constitutive force of the irrational in legal doctrine.
Law's Madness suggests that the tense and paradoxical relationship between law and madness is precisely what erects and sustains law. This provocative collection asks what must be forgotten in order to uphold the rule of law.
Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College. Lawrence Douglas is Associate Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College. Martha Merrill Umphrey is Associate Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College.
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front cover of Of Others Inside
Of Others Inside
Insanity, Addiction And Belonging in America
Darin Weinberg, foreword by Bryan S. Turner
Temple University Press, 2005
There is little doubt among scientists and the general public that homelessness, mental illness, and addiction are inter-related. In Of Others Inside, Darin Weinberg examines how these inter-relations have taken form in the United States. He links the establishment of these connections to the movement of mental health and addiction treatment from redemptive processes to punitive ones and back again, and explores the connection between social welfare, rehabilitation, and the criminal justice system.

Seeking to offer a new sociological understanding of the relationship between social exclusion and mental disability, Of Others Inside considers the general social conditions of homelessness, poverty, and social marginality in the U.S. Weinberg also explores questions about American perceptions of these conditions, and examines in great detail the social reality of mental disability and drug addiction without reducing people's suffering to simple notions of biological fate or social disorder.
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front cover of Thirty Rooms to Hide In
Thirty Rooms to Hide In
Insanity, Addiction, and Rock ‘n’ Roll in the Shadow of the Mayo Clinic
Luke Longstreet Sullivan
University of Minnesota Press, 2014

Author Luke Longstreet Sullivan has a simple way of describing his new memoir: “It’s like The Shining . . . only funnier.” Thirty Rooms to HideIn tells the astonishing story of Sullivan’s father and his descent from one of the world’s top orthopedic surgeons at the Mayo Clinic to a man who is increasingly abusive, alcoholic, and insane, ultimately dying alone on the floor of a Georgia motel room. For his wife and six sons, the years prior to his death were characterized by turmoil, anger, and family dysfunction; but somehow they were also a time of real happiness for Sullivan and his brothers, full of dark humor and much laughter.

Through the 1950s and 1960s, the six brothers had a wildly fun and thoroughly dysfunctional childhood living in a forbidding thirty-room mansion, known as the Millstone, on the outskirts of Rochester, Minnesota. The many rooms of the immense home, as well as their mother’s loving protection, allowed the Sullivan brothers to grow up as normal, mischievous boys. Against a backdrop of the times—the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, fallout shelters, JFK’s assassination, and the Beatles—the cracks in their home life and their father’s psyche continue to widen. When their mother decides to leave the Millstone and move the family across town, the Sullivan boys are able to find solace in each other and in rock ’n’ roll.

As Thirty Rooms to HideIn follows the story of the Sullivan family—at times grim, at others poignant—a wonderful, dark humor lifts the narrative. Tragic, funny, and powerfully evocative of the 1950s and 1960s, Thirty Rooms to Hide In is a tale of public success and private dysfunction, personal and familial resilience, and the strange power of humor to give refuge when it is needed most, even if it can’t always provide the answers.

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