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Each kind is examined in terms of its scientific research and classification; treatments developed to cure or alleviate its symptoms; lived-experiences of those so diagnosed with the disorder; and critical reflection on the diagnosis.
This course departs from histories that mainly chronicle scientific achievements and, instead, invites you to investigate how the scientific discoveries and therapies were deeply informed by cultural conditions of the time. The cultural influences on psychiatric science include ideals of individual happiness; conceptions about what is ‘normal’; notions of rational personhood; and existing social, gender, and racial hierarchies/biases. We investigate these cultural dynamics and then look at the lived experiences of those who were diagnosed or living with the condition. Paying attention to culture and lived experiences accords with the perspective of “mad studies,” a recent movement to foreground the people who suffer and the socio-political conditions surrounding their experiences. Exploring cultural dynamics and lived experiences along with the scientific milestones prepares us to critically reflect on world of psychopathology and on psychopathology in the world. In our reflection classes we will ask, for instance, about the forces behind incredible increases in depression and attention deficit disorder; racial and gender biases in research and treatment; the apparent happiness epidemic; and the prospects of neurodiversity.
Course 2 of 3 in the Abnormal Psychology Specialization.
What You Will Learn
- Gain familiarity with the evolution of the modern sciences and professions of abnormal psychology
- Become aware of the cultural and socio-economic factors that have influenced our understanding and treatment of mental illness
- Learn strategies for undertaking close reflection on diagnostic classifications and treatment of mental illness, both past and present
WEEK 1: Setting the Historical Context
WEEK 2: Neurasthenia
WEEK 3: Depression
WEEK 4: Deficits of Attention
WEEK 5: Narcissism