Madness and Modern Society

HIST 236
19th Century Sanitorium

What is insanity? How do we define the normal and the pathological? Who is best suited to determine what kinds of behaviors, thoughts, and emotional experiences count as health and illness? How do class, race, religion, gender, and sexuality influence our views of human mental functioning? This course provides a broad overview of the historical development of scientific efforts to identify and understand mental abnormality in modern Europe from the beginning of state-regulated asylums to the advent of current policies of psycho-pharmaceutical treatment and care in the community. Using a mixture of primary sources and secondary texts, we will examine how the diagnosis and treatment of “madness” has been shaped through the rich interaction of social, political, economic, and cultural factors over a period spanning roughly from 1750 to the 1990s.

Monday/Wednesday: 11:00AM - 12:20 PM

Instructor: Prof. Teri Chettiar

Gen Eds: Humanities - Hist & Phil, Western Cultural Studies