AP/SOSC 3362 6.00
Law, Medicine and Madness
We are a culture fascinated with the concept of “madness.” The mad person has been simultaneously represented in popular culture as genius, artistic, comedic and dangerous. There is something profoundly stable about the historical positioning of individuals identified as mentally 'disordered' at the outer boundaries of Canadian social and political life. This interdisciplinary course traces the conceptual and political history of madness, explores the social meanings of madness and mental illness at key historical moments in Canada, and highlights the interface between the social institutions of law and medicine. The themes of the course aim to contextualize the rise and practices of psychiatric medicine and the psychiatric ‘expert’ in a political climate preoccupied with concerns about social decent, qualities of citizenship and national identity. Against this broader context, the course also addresses a number of important ongoing/current issues surrounding mental health/illness, including scientific racism, eugenics, law and public policy, poverty/homelessness, discrimination and human rights, and the mentally disordered offender.
Course Director: Kimberley White
Projected Enrolment: 35 (Most spaces are reserved for Law & Society students.)