Seminar: Historical Expl
Term: Spring 2023 - Full Term (01/24/2023 - 05/08/2023)
Grade Mode: Letter Grading
Times & Locations
|12:10pm - 2:00pm
“Crazy.” “Schizo.” “Nuts.” “Screwy.” “Loony.” “Loopy.” “Cracked.” These terms describe mental disorder, a universal and persistent condition in human history. Every society has struggled to make sense of it; every society has struggled to address it. But what is mental disorder? Is it a disease? If so, of what? The body? The brain? The mind? The soul? Is it a chemical imbalance? Genetic destiny? Is it the wage of sin? The mark of the devil? The gift of God? Or is it rather a name slapped on thought, feeling, or behavior that defies a society’s definition of “normal?” This course seeks to answer these questions by exploring the range of beliefs American society developed from the eighteenth century to the present to identify and define mental disorder as well as the methods Americans have employed to treat or contain it. In collaboration with NH Humanities and the NH Historical Society, our specific research focus will be the New Hampshire State Hospital and its place within the larger history of mental health and mental healthcare in the U.S. Using archival documents, state reports, medical textbooks and treatises, family papers, newspapers and other mass media coverage, we will produce a multi-layered history of this important institution. Come join us in creating a usable history of mental health and mental healthcare for New Hampshire while exploring how that history can help us chart a better path forward.
(Thanks to the students of HIST 500.02 for their help with this poster!)