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Madness: Society and the Psyche

at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research - Online

(27)
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$315
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Description
Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 21 and older
Average Class Size: 14

Flexible Reschedule Policy: This provider has flexible, free rescheduling for any-in person workshop. Please see the cancellation policy for more details

What you'll learn in this philosophy class:

From the start, Western philosophy, literature, and medicine have been preoccupied—and haunted—with the figure of the mad and the idea of madness. What lies at the root of seemingly strange irruptions of emotion, speech, and erratic behavior? Do they arise by happenstance, or are they symptoms of disturbances in the body, the mind, the psyche, the soul, humours, and the like? Does the behavior of the mad reveal secret messages, canny prophecies, the inspiration of muses, or something else entirely? Do the mad and eccentric provoke social accommodation and care, or does their deviance constitute a dangerous threat to social order? Do concepts like “hysteria” and “melancholia” clarify certain historical eras and conditions of suffering, or are they merely dead-end diagnostic artifacts? And what does it even mean to think about sanity and disturbance, the normal and the abnormal, or what is currently termed “mental health” across cultures and millennia?

In this course, we will track the emergence of “madness” as a complex human phenomenon and object of cultural reflection from the Classical world to the Enlightenment. Starting with Hippocrates, Aristotle, Sophocles, and more, and proceeding through Aquinas, Margery Kempe, Medieval chansons, Shakespeare, Montaigne, and others, we will explore different representations of social deviance that draw on explanations from berserker wilding to demonic possession to disturbances of the humours to manifestations of sexual sin.

Our trajectory will bring us to the Early Modern era, where we will critically evaluate Michel Foucault’s famous History of Madness and reflect on how much, or how little, the first systematic accounts of madness as a medicalized problem implicate the emergence of the nation-state, capitalism, and theories of market rationality. An abundance of primary sources, from hypnotist’s manuals to the Malleus Maleficarum, will be paired with theoretical readings by Henri Ellenberger, Tanya Luhrmann, Paul Veyne, Petteri Pietikainen, Silvia Federici, and more.

There *is* no physical Brooklyn Institute. We hold our classes all over (thus far) Brooklyn and Manhattan, in alternative spaces ranging from the back rooms of bars to bookstores to spaces in cultural centers, including the Center for Jewish History, the Goethe-Institut, and the Barnard Center for Research on Women. We can (and do) turn any space into a classroom. You will be notified of the exact location when you register for a class.



Remote Learning

This course is available for "remote" learning and will be available to anyone with access to an internet device with a microphone (this includes most models of computers, tablets). Classes will take place with a "Live" instructor at the date/times listed below.

Upon registration, the instructor will send along additional information about how to log-on and participate in the class.

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Refund Policy

Upon request, we will refund the entire cost of a class up until 1 week before its start date. Students who withdraw after that point but before the first class are entitled to a 75% refund. After the first class: 50%. After the second: 25%. No refunds will be given after the third class.

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Reviews of Classes at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research (27)

School: Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research was established in 2011 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to extend liberal arts education and research far beyond the borders of the traditional university, supporting community education needs and opening up new possibilities for scholarship in the...

Read more about Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

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