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School of History

HST5314 - Madness and Medicine in Modern Britain

How psychiatry has helped us understand modern Britain.

Module code: HST5314

Credits: 15
Semester: SEM 2

Module Convenor: TBC

The discipline of psychiatry is foundational to our understanding of a wide range of modern concepts from personality and responsibility through to illness and deviancy. Our sense of our own identities, our motivations and our patterns of behaviour, is drawn from modern psychiatric ideas. This module provides a broad overview of psychiatric practice in Britain from the beginning of state-regulated asylums through to the advent of current policies of pharmaceutical treatment and community care. Using a mixture of secondary sources and primary texts, we will examine how the diagnosis and treatment of madness has been shaped through the rich interaction of social, scientific, political, economic and cultural factors. We will evaluate approaches the concept of "madness" from historical, psychiatric, psychoanalytical, sociological, and legal perspectives, and demonstrate how techniques from each disciplinary approach can be applied to a study of identity and human behaviour.

Assessment: Essay (2,000 words) 50% and Take Home Exam 50%