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Call for Papers

“Are We Mad? Critical Analyses of the Canadian Mental Health System” is organized by the Legal Activist Collective at the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta.


The purpose of the Conference is to bring together researchers and practitioners from various disciplines that share an interest in the Canadian mental health system, and the problems this system poses to individuals and society at large.
The treatment of the mentally ill in Canada, both by the law and by larger societal forces, is an ongoing source of concern. This conference will examine this treatment and provide critical perspectives which, although prevalent in much academic literature, are generally not understood or appreciated by the public.  In particular, the legal, social and ethical implications of the medicalisation of mental illness, disease mongering by the pharmaceutical industry, the inherent power disparities and grievous dangers attendant to the idea of involuntary hospitalization, revisionistic and patient-centric positions on patient rights, and the ramifications of widespread xenophobia with respect to the mentally ill will all be addressed.
“Are We Mad? Critical Analyses of the Canadian Mental Health System” is a forum designed to bring together those sharing these, and other, concerns with the current state of the mental health system in Canada. Authors are encouraged to submit papers on any of the conference topics listed below. Accepted papers will be presented at the conference by one of the authors and published in the proceedings. Acceptance will be based on quality, relevance and originality.


– Medicalisation of mental illness
– Patient rights
– Disease mongering in areas of mental health
– Involuntary hospitalization.
– Xenophobia and the mentally ill


Robert Whitaker, authour of Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill
Don Weitz, co-founder of the Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA)


Authors should submit an abstract of a paper in English of up to 1000 words in length, carefully checked for correct grammar and spelling, using the on-line submission procedure indicated below.
The program committee will review all papers and the contact author (the author who submits the paper) of each paper will be notified of the result, by e-mail.

Submission procedure:
A “double-blind” paper evaluation method will be used. To facilitate that, the authors are kindly requested to produce and provide the paper abstract, WITHOUT any reference to any of the authors.
The file sent must be a zip containing two files: author(s) information in one and the paper abstract, without any author(s) information, in another. PS/PDF/DOC format are accepted.


All accepted abstracts will be required to provide a paper at the time of the conference. The papers are not to exceed 20 A4 pages in length (double spaced) and will be published in the conference proceedings, which will be published as a special edition of the Alberta Law Review in 2008.


Paper Submission: February 1, 2008
Authors Notification: February 8, 2008
Final Paper Submission and Registration Deadline: February 22, 2008
Conference date: March 1 & 2, 2008


The conference will be held in the Law Centre on the campus of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta.



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