Madness and Psychiatry (HIST*3640) | College of Arts

Madness and Psychiatry (HIST*3640)

Code and section: HIST*3640*01

Term: Winter 2017

Instructor: Tara Abraham


Course Format: 2 x 50-minute lectures per week and 1 x 50-minute seminar per week

Course Synopsis:

This course will examine the history of psychiatry from the era of the asylum in the 19th
century to the present day. We will examine the reasons why psychiatry and its history have
been sources of critique and controversy through an examination of both primary and
secondary sources. We will examine the social and cultural contexts through which psychiatry
has risen as a medical specialty, and the lives and experiences of its subjects. Topics will
include the history of psychiatric institutions, the history of psychiatric treatments (both
somatic and psychodynamic), the history of mental health movements, diagnosis and
classification, patient experiences, and the intersections of psychiatry with gender, class, and

Methods of Evaluation and Weights:

Class and Seminar Participation 15%
Short Response on Mrs Dalloway 7.5%
Short Response on The Bell Jar 7.5%
Research Paper Proposal 5%
Critical Evaluation Assignment (in pairs) 15%
Research Paper 25%
Final Exam 25%

Texts and/or Resources Required:

1. Edward Shorter, A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Innocence
(New York: Wiley, 1997).
2. Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway (London: Faber and Faber, 1963).
3. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (Harcourt, 1925/1981).
4. A set of primary and secondary source readings available through Ares.

*Please note: This is a preliminary web course description only. The department reserves the right to change
without notice any information in this description. The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the
first class of the semester.