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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Economic and Social History

Undergraduate Course: Madness and Society in Britain since c.1830 (ECSH10083)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course aims to provide students with a firm understanding of the forces - social, medical and political - that have shaped British attitudes and responses towards madness during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It will be considered how certain social groups have attracted labels such as 'normal', 'diseased' and 'deviant'. Students will be encouraged to evaluate these concepts critically, to examine the dynamics at work behind their construction, and to relate them to broader processes of social change.
Course description The ways in which behaviour has historically been categorised as either 'normal' or 'abnormal' have been neither objective nor consistent. One of the themes that exposes this most clearly is mental illness, where there have been complex negotiations over how we define and respond to those considered to be 'dangerous' or 'diseased'. We will explore the factors that have shaped attitudes and responses towards madness in modern Britain. Topics will include the rise of the asylum, the patient perspective, the relationship between medicine and the law, the gendering of madness, the impact of the world wars, and the transition to 'community care'.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, PTs are asked to contact the History Honours Administrator to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503780).
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have 3 History courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Enrolments for this course are managed by the CAHSS Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department. All enquiries to enrol must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate, by way of coursework, an oral presentation and examination, command of the key historical debates, methodologies and concepts encountered in the history of psychiatry, and how they relate to broader processes of social change.
  2. Demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant secondary sources.
  3. Demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material.
  4. Demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence.
  5. Demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Jonathan Andrews, 'The Rise of the Asylum in Britain', in Deborah Brunton (ed.),
Medicine Transformed: Health, Disease and Society in Europe, 1800-1930
(2004), pp. 298-330

Jonathan Andrews and Anne Digby (eds), Sex and Seclusion, Class and Custody:
Perspectives on Gender and Class in the History of British and Irish Psychiatry (2004)

Allan Beveridge, 'Life in the Asylum: Patients' Letters from Morningside, 1873-1908',
History of Psychiatry, 9 (1998), 431-469

W.F. Bynum, Roy Porter and Michael Shepherd (eds), The Anatomy of Madness:
Essays in the History of Psychiatry, 3 volumes (1985, 1985 & 1988)

Andrew Scull, 'A Convenient Place to Get Rid of Inconvenient People: The Victorian
Lunatic Asylum', in A. King (ed.), Buildings and Society: Essays on the Social Development
of the Built Environment (1980), pp. 37-60

Andrew Scull, The Insanity of Place, The Place of Insanity: Essays on the History of
Psychiatry (2006)

Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason
(1967 or 2001),

Rhodri Hayward, 'Medicine and the Mind', in Mark Jackson (ed.), The Oxford
Handbook of the History of Medicine (2011), 524-42

Joseph Melling and Bill Forsythe (eds), Insanity, Institutions and Society, 1800-1914: A
Social History of Madness in Comparative Perspective (1999)

Mark Micale, 'The Psychiatric Body', in Roger Cooter and John Pickstone (eds),
Medicine in the Twentieth Century (2000)

Roy Porter, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from
Antiquity to the Present (1997)

David Wright, 'Getting Out of the Asylum: Understanding the Confinement of the
Insane in the 19th Century', Social History of Medicine, 10 (1997), 137-155
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsMadness & Society
Course organiserDr Gayle Davis
Course secretaryMs Jenni Vento
Tel: (0131 6)50 3781
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