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Module

HIS3203 : Madness, Nerves and Narratives in Georgian Britain, c. 1714-1830

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jonathan Andrews
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

This module offers the opportunity to study Georgian Britain, with a special focus on the history of madness and nervous disorders. It will assess medical and socio-cultural understandings, representations and treatments of mental disorders and how they changed. Students will gain an appreciation of the social, cultural and economic influences, as well as the professional and political ideologies, which shaped the history of madness, and medical and societal responses to madness. The module will raise issues and questions which continue to be pertinent in modern mental health contexts.

The aims of this module are:
1) To provide an in-depth study of the history of social, medical and legal responses to madness and nervous disorders in Britain (primarily focusing on England and, to a lesser degree, Scotland) during 1714-1830, appropriate to the standard required of Stage 3 students.
2) To provide an analytical assessment of medical and socio-cultural understandings, representations and treatments of mental disorders and how they changed in this period.
3) To familiarise students with contemporaries’ own accounts or narratives of their mental afflictions and treatment, and with the various methodological means available for analysing such narratives as historical evidence.
4) To articulate some of the key theories and explanations historians (and allied disciplines) have employed to study the history of madness and nervous disorder, and some of the key methodological approaches and issues pertinent to this area of analysis.
5) To offer an opportunity to acquire a sound general knowledge of this specialist subject, through i) wide, selective and critical reading in the relevant primary and secondary literature ii) seminar-based, peer-led, and tutor facilitated discussion, debate and oral presentation.
6) To develop the capacity for independent study.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lecture materials will introduce key concepts and themes in relation to the module outline, with weekly seminars building upon this navigational framework.

Weekly drop-in sessions with provide students with the opportunity to discuss all aspects of the module content, by will be mainly focused on reading guidance, developing essay plans, and gobbet practice.

Each weekly seminar will be devoted to studying primary (and some secondary) source material (in online Canvass or easily accessible format).

Examples of the topics likely to be explored are as follows:-

Introduction to the history, pre-history and historiography of madness in Georgian Britain
Being mad and melancholic in Georgian England: signs, symptoms, representations and prevailing/changing understandings
The ‘English Malady’ and the discovery of nervous disorders
Treating the mad and melancholic; dominant therapeutic approaches and their rationales
Confining the mad: the origins and extent of the shift towards institutional solutions to madness
The growth of the private mad-trade: private mad-houses and their regulation
Outside the madhouse: non-institutional responses to insanity
Narratives of madness and nervousness: sufferers’ own accounts of their mental afflictions/confinement
Madness and monarchy (embracing the madness of George III)
The Georgian State and the lunatic; legislating lunacy
A paradigm shift? the arrival of a ‘moral’ therapeutics

Teaching Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Assessment Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Reading Lists

Timetable