University College for Interdisciplinary Learning

Madness and Society in the Modern Age

Course Code

UCIL30832 (10 Credits)

UCIL30332 (20 Credits)

Course Details

  • Level: 3
  • Credit load: 10/20


This unit introduces students to the social, cultural, intellectual and institutional history of madness, psychiatry, and mental health. Through lectures, interactive workshops, and reading a combination of primary sources and secondary analyses, students gain an appreciation of:

  • how madness has been understood, by experts and by everyday people
  • how madness has been managed, socially and institutionally
  • how science, medicine, and culture interact in shaping responses to madness. Our focus is primarily on the period 1780 to the present, and primarily on the UK, but with some discussion of Western Europe and North America.


Summary of Learning Outcomes

  • show an appreciation of historical approaches to medical thinking and practice
  • demonstrate knowledge of how approaches to madness changed from 1780 onwards
  • critically analyse historians' arguments
  • explore primary sources and historical data
  • take part in informed discussions of past and present medical practices
  • improve writing skills, through assimilation of feedback and revision

20 Credits:

  • research skills and project management skills
  • above mentioned analytical and practical skills
  • research skills and project management skills



10 credits unit (HSTM30832):

  1. 1500 words Short essay (50%)
  2. Examination (essay based) (50%)

20 credits unit (HSTM40332):

  1. 1500 words Short essay (25%)
  2. 3000 words Project essay (50%)
  3. Examination (essay based) (25%)


This course is only open to undergraduate students.

University College course units are available to take on programmes which have 'free choice' options available to them, (i.e. programmes which allow you, as part of the degree programme, to take a number of credits from subject areas outside of your home school). As these courses are credit bearing, you must enrol by following the standard procedure for your school when adding units outside of your home school.

If you are not sure whether you will be able to enrol in University College courses, please contact your School Undergraduate Office to find out whether these options are available for your degree programme.


Dr Carsten Timmermann

Teaching and Learning Methods


1 - 12Tuesdays11:00 - 13:00

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