MO4904 Madness and its Social Milieu in Britain, 1560-1820
Lecturer Professor Rab Houston (St Katharine's Lodge, room 0.06)
Credits 60
Availability Semesters 1 and 2, 2019-2020
Class Hour 9.30 - 12.30
Description Madness is a source of fascination and dread in the modern world. For its part, the period between the end of the middle ages and the early years of the nineteenth century is seen as particularly important in forming modern ideas of mental abnormality and new types of care such as asylums. Analysing perceptions of mad behaviour allows unique insights into the social and cultural priorities of the sane in early modern Britain. The aims of the course are: 1) to promote an understanding of English society and mentalities in the early modern period by examining attitudes to the abnormal 2) to adopt a critical, interdisciplinary, and comparative approach to the social history of medicine, law, and institutions
Basic Reading PORTER, R., Mind forg’d manacles. A history of madness in England from the Restoration to the Regency (Penguin, 1987) or reprinted and retitled as Madmen: a social history of madhouses, mad-doctors & lunatics (Tempus, 2004).

Course Structure

Semester 1:

1) Organisation and Orientation

2) Introduction to Documents

3) Medicine and the Mind

4) Identifying Madness

5) The causes of Insanity

6) Madness, Class and Gender

7) Madness and Religion

8) Insanity and the Law 1: Criminal Defences

9) Insanity and the Law 2: Civil Law

10) Madness and Suicide

11) Gobbets and revision week

Semester 2:

1) The caring Professions

2) Therapeutic Regimes

3) Family and Community

4) Bethlehemh Hospital

5) The origins of the Asylum

6) Gobbets week

7) Early Modern Madness and Modern Media

8) Madness, Art, and Literature

9) The Voice of the Mad

10) Madness and Sanity

11) Early Modern Madness and Modern Psychiatry

Assessment 60% examination - two 3-hour papers
40% coursework

Learning Outcomes