My project is a very specific project that will handle many topic from Africana Studies, Psychology and Film/Media Studies. For a piece of this project, I was able to conjure up a Project Charter. I believe that there would be no other way of explaining the depth of the project without showing some of the charter itself:
Representation: Film Portrayal of Mental Illness and Race
“My project will explore the portrayal of mental illness on screen, specifically in films. I want to to do research on Hollywood films to see if there are preferences regarding the way mental illness is portrayed; is it usually romanticized or accurately portrayed? These are the types of questions that I plan to answer with viewing the films and seeing how most of the films that are produced portray these illnesses. However, there is another component because I want to see if there is a preference regarding race on how these mental illnesses are shown. Just from first glance, I can tell that some of the films on the list don’t necessarily have many non-white leads that are portrayed with mental illness. As a result, my project will also provide media influence. This will show that the media influences a lot that people view and the mindsets that people have. Specifically, on a sensitive topic like this one. Although mental illness is becoming less stigmatized, that doesn’t apply to everyone and the way portrays patients is an indicator of that. Also, it could the result of any even larger point and that is access to help. These films have majority white cast members, and I want to correlate that with the amount of help that white individuals have received regarding mental illness, than non-white. I want to view all of the films from the list I have conjured up of films within the last 10 years of motion pictures distributed by these major studios. I hope that this project can appeal to people from various different disciplines; Africana Studies, Psychology and Film/Media Studies. I also hope that this project can influence others that may suspect that they have mental illnesses, but may not understand that it’s not their fault and they can seek help.
Currently, I haven’t found any projects that relate to mine because of the intersection between these various components. However, there are papers that touch on these different issues as they relate to each other. For example, I have found papers such as “‘One ﬂew over the psychiatric unit’: mental illness and the media” that focuses on the media’s representation of mental illness that could provide me with some crucial information to enhance my project. Some of the projects that I explored was the Art With Impact project that focuses on tackling the stigmatization of mental health through making films, but not necessarily analyzing them, and even this one doesn’t take race into account when thinking about the stigmatization of mental illness. I believe my project will build upon some of the aspects of other projects by adding that racial component and understanding the sociological approach to race as it relates to mental illness. ”
I am really excited to see where these ideas will go and what discoveries I make within these disciplines!