Disability Aesthetics, Schizoanalysis, and the Neural Subject
Leon J. Hilton

This talk considers certain artistic practices (for example, Agnes Martin and Javier Tellez) that illuminate recent critical debates surrounding how disability relates to aesthetic form. In turn, it explores how these practices and debates might be reapproached “schizo-analytically” in ways that can open up questions about subjectivation, aesthetics and politics within the historical context of what Catherine Malabou describes as ‘the parallelism between the transformation of the spirit of capitalism (between the sixties and the nineties) and the modification, brought about in approximately the same period, of our view of cerebral structures.’

Leon J. Hilton is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his PhD from the Department of Performance Studies at New York University in 2016. He is currently completing a book project that traces cultural critiques of psychiatric authority since the 1950s – from mid-century critics of the asylum, the feminist ‘anti-psychiatry’ movement, and the de-medicalization of homosexuality to the contemporary discourse of neurodiversity – across a range of social practices and aesthetic forms (including theatre, film, literature and performance art). This research grows out of his dissertation, which was completed with the support of a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship and received the Michael Kirby Award for Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation. His work has been published or is forthcoming in GLQ, Disability Studies Quarterly, African American Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, and TDR/The Drama Review, where he was managing editor from 2011–3. He is also co-editing a forthcoming special forum in American Quarterly entitled ‘Mad Futures: Culture, Politics, Affect.’ He received a 2016 Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant to complete an article on feminist aesthetics and anti-psychiatry.