Look for the catalog of 2020-21IntroSems to roll out here in August.
Madwomen and Madmen: Gender and the History of Mental Illness in the U.S.
This seminar explores the ways that gender and historical context shaped the experience and treatment of mental illness in U.S. history. What is the relationship between historically constructed ideas of femininity and masculinity and madness? Why have women been the witches and hysterics of the past, while men experienced neurasthenia and schizoid conditions? Why have there historically been more women than men among the mentally ill? How has the emotional and psychological suffering of women differed from that of men, and how has it changed over time? Among the sources we use to explore these questions are memoirs and films such as The Three Faces of Eve and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. By contrasting the changing ways women and men experienced mental illness and were treated in the past, this seminar will elucidate the historically embedded nature of medical ideas, diagnoses and treatments.