If you’ve ever wanted to explore beyond what’s on display at Wellcome Collection, you might be interested in a short course that Birkbeck is running, starting later this month: ‘A Social History of Madness in Europe’.
The course asks what it meant to suffer mental health problems in the past, when madness was understood very differently than it is today. Using the rich holdings at Wellcome Collection, both in the Wellcome Library and in the galleries, it looks at the history of madness in Europe. It focuses on different ways of classifying and treating insanity, and on the difference that gender and class made to treatment and diagnosis.
Students will explore madness in medieval and early modern Europe; ‘moral treatment’ in the eighteenth century; the asylum age; hysteria and neurasthenia, degeneration and mental deficiency. There is also a special case study on alcoholism and madness.
If you’re interested in a student’s perspective, you might like to read what Anna Sayburn has written about a previous Birkbeck short course, the ‘History of the Human Body’.