March 3: Scholar explores history, gender, mental health

Ross-80PULLMAN, Wash. – “A Madwoman in Suburbia: Life In and Out of Asylums” will be discussed at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, in the Honors Hall lounge by Susan Dente Ross, Washington State University 2014-15 humanities fellow.

The free, public talk is part of WSU’s inaugural Humanities Fellow Lecture Series.

“‘A Madwoman in Suburbia’ examines my mother’s mental illness within the shifting medical practices of the last half of the 20th century to personify the historical and gender-inflected aspects of mental health diagnosis and care in the United States,” said Ross, a professor in the WSU Department of English.

“The dialogue between my mother’s story of mental illness and the medical, legal and statistical data creates a complex and nuanced narrative,” Ross said, adding that this contributes to examination of the misunderstandings, biases and sexism that have marked the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.

The presentation is hosted by the WSU Humanities Planning Group with support of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The planning group is made up of faculty members pursuing a center for the humanities in the WSU academic community. The group is responsible for programming during the February humanities week, as well as lectures by fellows throughout the year.

Other 2014-15 humanities fellows are Donna Potts, English, who lectured in October, and Michael Hubert, foreign languages and cultures, who will speak on April 2. For a calendar and more information, visit


Debbie Brudie, WSU Humanities Planning Group, 509-335-0698,