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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Madness, Science and Society in the Modern World (PGHC11516)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores the cultural and social history of madness from the late eighteenth to the twentieth century. It traces the historical rise of hysteria as a medical, societal and political category. It examines how medicine understood itself as one of the moral pillars of society, and the role of medical professionals in the production of knowledge, gender and societal norms.
Course description How should categories such as 'madness' and 'hysteria' be defined? What have the terms 'mental illness' and 'mental health' meant historically? Why have such categories been necessary? This course explores such questions from the late eighteenth to the late twentieth century.

How to interpret states of mind such as visions, hearing voices, or possession by other-worldly beings has been a repeated concern of philosophical, cultural, medical and historical discourses. From the rise of the lunatic asylum at the end of 18 century, through the professionalization of the sciences of the mind - psychiatry, psychoanalysis, psychopharmacology etc. - in the late 19 and early 20 centuries, to the emergence of the anti-psychiatry movement in the 1960s-1970s, the medical framing and treatment of madness and hysteria, in particular, have undergone several changes. Hysteria, for instance, was a professional obsession in the nineteenth century but disappeared in the twentieth century. The study of madness reveals societal fears and ideas as well as political changes and power relations.

By exploring the relationship between madness, sciences and society, this seminar seeks to scrutinize these and related subjects. Our approach to these questions and thus, challenges will be historical. We will examine a range of approaches to classifying and treating 'madness'; will consider the managing of minds in relation to gender, class, race and colonial settings; and will investigate the changing historical and medical framing of madness as well as its societal and cultural impact.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate a detailed and critical understanding of the themes of the course in particular and the historical narratives in the history of knowledge and medicine in general;
  2. understand and apply specialised research and methodological skills considered in the course;
  3. develop critical and independent argumentation and to apply it to an analysis of relevant scholarship concerning history of medicine and societal changes in Europe in the 19 and 20 centuries;
  4. demonstrate intellectual maturity and autonomy, and the ability to formulate appropriate questions and conclusions;
  5. understand of how theories and terminologies are underpinned by preliminaries and changeable "turns".
Reading List
1. Campbell, B.: The Making of 'American': Race and Nation in Neurasthenic Discourse. In: History of Psychiatry, 18 (2007) 2, 157-178.

2. Cox, C.: Negotiating Insanity in the Southeast of Ireland, 1820-1900, Manchester 2012.

3. Ernst, W.: European Madness and Gender in Nineteenth-Century British India. In: Social History of Medicine, 9 (1996), 357-82.

4. Gilman, S.L.: The Madness of the Jews In: Difference and Pathology. Stereotypes of Sexuality, Race and Madness, 1985, S. 150-162.

5. Lerner, P.: From Traumatic Neurosis to Male Hysteria: The Decline and Fall of Hermann Oppenheim, 1889-1919 In: Micale, Mark S.; Lerner Paul (eds.): Traumatic Pasts. History, Psychiatry, and Trauma in the Modern Age, 1870-1930, 140-172.

6. Micale, M.S.: Approaching Hysteria. Disease and Its Interpretations, Princeton 1995.

7. Prior, P.M.: Mad, Not Bad: Crime, Mental Disorder and Gender in Nineteenth-Century Ireland. In: History of Psychiatry, 8 (1997), 501-516.

8. Showalter, E.: The Female Malady. Women, Madness, and English Culture 1830-1980, New York 1985.

9. Sadowsky, J.: Psychiatry and Colonial Ideology in Nigeria. In: Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 71 (1997), 94-111.

10. Swartz, S.: Colonising the Insane: Causes of Insanity in the Cape, 1891- 1920. In: History of Human Sciences, 8 (1995), 39-57.

11. Wilson, L.B.: Women and Medicine in the French Enlightenment: The Debate over Maladies des Femmes, Baltimore 1993.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Axelle Champion
Course secretaryMs Cristina Roman
Tel: (0131 6)50 4777
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