BSc Pharmacology with Industrial/Professional Experience

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Madness and Society

Course unit fact file
Unit code HSTM30832
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


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

  • How mental illness has been understood, by experts and by everyday people
  • How mental illness has been managed, socially and institutionally
  • How science, medicine, and culture interact in shaping responses to mental illness

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.


This unit explores the history of mental illness and psychiatry from the late eighteenth century to the present. It examines how insanity has been understood, treated, and represented within larger social, cultural, and intellectual frameworks. It also relates changing ideas and approaches to mental illness, health, and functioning to larger questions in the history of the medical and biological sciences.



Assessment methods

Essay (50%) and 2 hour examination (50%)

Feedback methods

Students will receive individual feedback on all of their written assignments as well as general feedback given to the whole class.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 12
Seminars 12
Independent study hours
Independent study 74

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Carsten Timmermann Unit coordinator

Return to course details