ENG/INTL410 201701 Undergraduate

Fall 2017
Applies To: 
Mind, Madness and Society: Schizophrenia across Cultures and Genres

Mary Wood

Mary Wood profile picture
  • Title: Professor
  • Additional Title: Director of Graduate Studies
  • Phone: 541-346-3010
  • Office: 445 PLC
  • Office Hours: W 2-3, R 12-2, or email for appt.
Department Section Description: 

This course examines the ways madness, as lived experience and as social category, has been studied and represented across cultures and genres. As a mental illness, schizophrenia challenges conventional ways of knowing the relationships between mind and body, thought and perception, illness and cure, and self and society. Biomedicine offers one set of explanations for schizophrenia, but these explanations are partial and incomplete, themselves historically-contingent. Given the limits of biomedical understandings of the causes, courses, and treatments for schizophrenia, we must look to other disciplines for insights into the lived experience of psychosis, cultural representations of madness, and schizophrenia as a social category. Drawing largely from medical anthropology and cultural studies, this class probes questions such as: How do representations of madness serve to reinforce ideas of “normality” and “abnormality” across time and social contexts? What do psychotic experiences tell us about the relation between mind and body, self and society? To what extent does schizophrenia function as a means of calling attention to troubling circumstances in our social world? Alternatively, how does schizophrenia and its management operate as a form of social control? Finally, what do “treatment” and “recovery” from schizophrenia mean in contemporary contexts of restructuring of health care delivery systems? Throughout this course, we will engage these queries and questions from both local and global perspectives, and from the vantage points of the humanities and social sciences.