Mad People's History

Ryerson University,
School of Disability Studies
DST 504
Sally H. Eaton Building, 99 Gerrard Street East (Gerrard and Mutual Streets), Room 598
Fall 2003

Outline and Required Reading List

This course will provide an overview of the history of madness from the point of view of people who were, and are, deemed mad from late medieval times to the present. The primary focus will be on North America and Europe since the 18th century. The term "mad-people" refers to any person who was considered insane, or seriously mentally disturbed, by their contemporaries. This includes people who were confined in institutions and people who remained in the community. Different terms throughout history, like "mad people," will be discussed for what it says about the individuals who used this language, and about the people these terms are meant to describe. Accounts by mad-people will be examined from a variety of sources, primarily in the form of written narratives. There will also be references to first-person perspectives of madness in paintings, theatre, films and poetry. Gender, race, class and ability will be discussed throughout the course, with one week devoted to an overview of how these factors have influenced first-person accounts. The purpose of this course is to place the diverse perspectives of people who have been diagnosed as mad, insane or mentally ill as being of central importance in the history of psychiatry and to address the question: how has madness been viewed by mad-people over the centuries?

Course Objectives:

1.Critically analyze the history of madness from the perspectives and experiences of people considered mad, insane or mentally ill.
2. Provide students with a broad understanding of the diverse viewpoints that have always existed about what it means to be considered mad and how this challenges stereotypes about the people we are studying.
3. Address the impact of gender, race, class, ability, and sexual orientation throughout the course in regard to how each of these factors have historically affected the treatment and experiences of mad people.
4. Connect past historical experiences with contemporary developments to explore changes and continuity in various aspects of the history of mad people.
5. Allow students to hear directly from people who have lived some of this recent history, through in-class presentations and seminars.
6. Provide students with the analytical tools to help them understand the historical context of what they are living today as psychiatric consumer/survivors, advocates, family members and friends of people with mental health issues.

Class topics and readings:

Class 1 (Thursday, September 11, 6-9 PM) Folly and Fools, Mad People and Mad Houses: Madness from Ancient Times to Early First-Person Accounts during the 17th and 18th Centuries

Reading 1.
Margery Kempe, "The Book of Margery Kempe", in Dale Peterson, ed. A Mad People's History of Madness. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1982: 3-18.

Reading 2.
Hannah Allen, "A Narrative of God's Gracious Dealings With That Choice Christian Mrs. Hannah Allen, 1683," in Voices of Madness: Four Pamphlets, 1683-1796. Ed. Allan Ingram. Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing, 1997: 1-21.

Reading 3.
William Belcher, "Address to Humanity: Containing, a Letter to Dr. Thomas Monro: A Receipt to Make a Lunatic, and Seize his Estate; and a Sketch of a True Smiling Hyena, 1796" in Voices of Madness: Four Pamphlets, 1683-1796. Ed. Allan Ingram. Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing, 1997: 129-135.

(43 pages)

Class 2 (Friday, September 12, 9 AM - 12:30 PM) The Rise of Public Insane Asylums and First-Person Accounts During the 19th Century

Reading 4.
Anonymous. "Illustrations of Insanity Furnished by the Letters and Writings of the Insane," American Journal of Insanity 4 (1848): 290-303.

Reading 5.
Anonymous. "Five Months in the New York State Lunatic Asylum", 1849, in Dale Peterson, ed. A Mad People's History of Madness. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1982: 108-122.

(29 pages)

Class 3 (Friday, September 12, 1:30 - 5:00 PM) Early to Mid 20th Century Experiences of Mad People

Reading 6.
Mary MacLane (1901) - "I Have in Me a Quite Unusual Intensity of Life" in The Inner World of Mental Illness: A Series of First-Person Accounts of What It Was Like. Ed. Bert Kaplan. New York: Harper and Row, 1964: 263-280.

Reading 7.
Jane Hillyer (1926) "Reluctantly Told" in The Inner World of Mental Illness: A Series of First-Person Accounts of What It Was Like. Ed. Bert Kaplan. New York: Harper and Row, 1964: 158-163

Reading 8.
" Anonymous "An Electric Shock Patient Tells His Story", Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 43 (1948): 201-210.

(33 pages)

Don Weitz will be a guest speaker during this class to discuss his experiences of insulin-sub-coma shock treatment in the early 1950s.

Class 4 (Saturday, September 13, 9 AM - 12 Noon) Gender, Sexual Orientation and First-Person Accounts of Madness

Reading 9.
Elizabeth Packard, Sophie Olsen and Tirzah Shedd in Women of the Asylum: Voices from Behind the Walls, 1840-1945. Eds., Jeffrey L. Geller and Maxine Harris. New York: Anchor Books, 1994: 58-85.

Reading 10.
Lykke de la Cour, "'She thinks this is the Queen's castle': Women Patients' Perceptions of an Ontario Psychiatric Hospital," Health & Place 3:2 (June, 1997): 131-141.

Reading 11.
Bonnie Burstow, "A History of Psychiatric Homophobia," Phoenix Rising: The Voice of the Psychiatrized 8:3&4 (July, 1990): S38-S39.

(39 pages)

Class 5 (Thursday, October 2, 6-9 PM) Race, Colonialism and Class in Mad People's History

Guest Speaker: Caroline Fei-Yeng Kwok, author of "The Tormented Mind: A True Story of Manic Depression" (2000) will speak on cultural barriers and her personal experience with mental health services.

Reading 12.
Suman Fernando, "Imperialism, Racism and Psychiatry", in The Construction of Power and Authority in Psychiatry , eds. Phil Barker and Chris Stevenson. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann, 2000: 81-93.

Reading 13.
Robert Menzies, "Race, Reason, and Regulation: British Columbia's Mass Exile of Chinese 'Lunatics' aboard the Empress of Russia, 9 February 1935", in Regulating Lives: Historical Essays on the State, Society, The Individual, and the Law. Eds., J.McLaren, R. Menzies, D. Chunn. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2002: 196-230.

Reading 14.
" Justice Delayed: Exonerated Inmate Freed After 69 Years in Asylum". The Windsor Star, February 1, 1996 (1 page).

(47 pages)

Class 6 (Friday, October 3, 9 AM - 12:30 PM) Eugenics and the Persecution of People Labeled "Mentally Defective" in Europe and North America, 1880-1972

Reading 15.
Richard Cairney, "'Democracy was never intended for degenerates': Alberta's Flirtation with Eugenics Comes back to Haunt it," Canadian Medical Association Journal 155:6 (September 15, 1996): 789-792.

Reading 16.
Deborah C. Park & John P. Radford, "From the Case Files: Reconstructing a History of Involuntary Sterilisation", Disability & Society 13:3 (1998): 317-342.

(29 pages)

Debate topic: Two sides of the eugenics issue - one for and one against - will be developed by students representing each side. In addition a third side will enter the debate - the perspectives of people who were the focus of eugenics policies - what do they think of this debate? Approximately 60 minutes of this class will be provided for this debate.

Class 7 (Friday, October 3, 1:30 - 5:00 PM) Psychiatric Patients' Labour During the 19th and 20th Centuries

Reading 17.
Advocacy Resource Centre for the Handicapped, "Will the Charter Change Sheltered Workshops?" Phoenix Rising: Voice of the Psychiatrized 5:2&3 (August, 1985): 31A-32A.

Reading 18.
Rita Bradden, "Working Abilities: My Story" in Kiss Me You Mad Fool: A Collection of Writing from Parkdale Activity and Recreation Centre (Toronto: Positive Print, 1991): 31-35.

(6 pages)

Class 8 (Saturday, October 4, 9 AM - 12:00 PM) Activism by Psychiatric Patients, Consumers and Survivors, 1845-2003

Reading 19.
Clifford Beers, A Mind That Found Itself: An Autobiography. New York: Doubleday, 1908, 1953: 62-77, 248-252.

Reading 20.
Geoffrey Reaume, "Lunatic to Patient to Person: Nomenclature in Psychiatric History and the Influence of Patients' Activism in North America". International Journal of Law and Psychiatry . 25:4 (July-August, 2002): 405-426.

(42 pages)

Guest speaker: Jennifer Chambers, Empowerment Council Coordinator, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, will talk about her years of activism on the Patients' Council, Queen Street Mental Health Centre (now CAMH) and in the psychiatric survivor community since the 1980s.

90 Minute Open Book Exam, Saturday, October 4, 1:30 - 3:00 PM - re Classes 1-6

Class 9 (Thursday, November 13, 6-9 PM) Butterfly Wards and Soul Survivors: First Person Accounts of Madness in Canada since the 1970s

Reading 21.
Margaret Gibson, The Butterfly Ward. Toronto: Harper Collins, 1976, 1994: 148-167.

Reading 22.
Gwen Hauser, Two Poems - "My Mother and Social Amnesia" and "In My Land The Sky Is Blue" Phoenix Rising: The Voice of the Psychiatrized 5:4 (December, 1985): p.32-33

Reading 23.
Vern Harper, "Them Crazy Indians" in Bonnie Burstow & Don Weitz, eds. Shrink Resistant: The Struggle Against Psychiatry in Canada. Vancouver: New Star Books, 1988: 121-125

Reading 24.
Jane Lowry, "On Postpartum Mental Illness", in Beyond Crazy: Journeys Through Mental Illness eds. Julia Nunes and Scott Simmie Toronto: McLelland & Stewart, 2002: 91-96.

Jane Lowry will be a guest speaker during this class.

Reading 24.
Reg Clayton, "Psychiatric survivor continues fight against shock treatment", Kenora Enterprise, March 30, 2003.

(33 pages)

Class 10 (Friday, November 14, 9 AM - 12:30 PM) Art and Madness

Reading 26.
Bettina Brand-Claussen, "The Collection of Works in the Psychiatric Clinic, Heidelberg - from the Beginnings until 1945" in Beyond Reason: Art and Psychosis: Work from the Prinzhorn Collection. London: Hayward Gallery, 1996: 7-23.

Reading 27 [Images of artistic creations].
Various authors and artists. Beyond Reason: Art and Psychosis: Work from the Prinzhorn Collection. London: Hayward Gallery, 1996: 64-65, 74, 84-92, 96-99, 125-130, 163, 187.

(39 pages)

Debate topic: Using first-person readings in class up to this time and art-work in this week's readings debate the rationale behind confiscating mad people's art-creations and letters. Why was this done? For the appreciation of art? In the best interests of the patient? What are the ethical issues involved in this confiscation and later display and publication of their work? Develop arguments from the point of view of staff who did the confiscating and patients who had their items confiscated. A third position can be - how would you, as an art gallery curator, present confiscated art of mad people? What responsibilities do later generations have in making use of these creations?

Class 11 (Friday, November 14, 1:30 - 5:00 PM) The Media and Cross-Disability Stigmatization

Reading 28.
Otto F. Wahl, Media Madness: Public Images of Mental Illness (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1995: 56-86.

Reading 29.
Tracy Odell, "Disability and Relationships." Canadian Woman Studies 13:4 (Summer, 1993): 56-58.

Reading 30.
Lynda Jacko, My Life Has Been A Gift from God. Guelph: Sharing to Learn, 1997: 4-12.

Reading 31.
Ravi Malhotra "Tracy Latimer, Disability Rights and the Left" Canadian Dimension (May-June, 2001): 23-25.

Ravi Malhotra will be a guest speaker during this class.

(45 pages)

Class 12 (Saturday, November 15, 9 AM - 12 Noon) Drugs, Deinstitutionalization, and Mad People's History into the 21st Century

Reading 32.
Michael McCubbin, Deinstitutionalization: The Illusion of Disillusion" The Journal of Mind and Behavior 15:1&2 (Winter & Spring, 1994): 35-53.

Reading 33.
" The Problems of Running a Boarding House" [no author cited], The Cuckoo's Nest 1:2 (December, 1979): 6-8.

Reading 34 [Drawing].
Bob Errett, "Welcome To Our World", The Cuckoo's Nest II 1:2 (January-February, 1983): 14.

Reading 35.
Freddy Bosco. "Down and Out on the Street", Psychiatric Services 47:8 (August, 1996): 806.

(23 pages)

90 Minute Open Book Exam, Saturday, November 15, 1:30 - 3:00 PM - re classes 7-12

Required Readings and contact information:

Course Reader: 408 pages from books and articles (at Ryerson Bookstore)
Occasional items handed out in class
Course Instructor: Geoffrey Reaume, Ph.D.
Office Hours: 4-6 PM on Thursday, October 2 and Thursday November 13; 12:30-1:30 PM on Friday September 12, Friday October 3, Friday November 14; Noon-1:30 PM, Saturday, September 13, Saturday October 4, Saturday November 15 (or by appointment). Office - Sally H. Eaton Building, Room 576, School of Disability, Studies Office (corner of Gerrard and Mutual Streets).

Class format: Classes will be a combination of:

1. Lectures.
2. Seminars to discuss the readings.
3. In-class presentations, debates.
4. Guest speakers.
5. Films (TBA).

Course and Grade Assignments:

1. 90 minute open-book exam at the end of weekend classes in October and November - Saturday October 4, 1:30-3:00 PM exam will focus on CLASSES 1-6. Saturday November 15, 1:30-3:00 PM exam will focus on CLASSES 7-12. Exams will be in S.H.E. 598. There will be two parts to each exam: 1) a choice of short-answer questions and 2) choose one essay question on each exam. Value: 25% of total grade for each exam. Total grade for both exams: 50%.

2. 2500 word (approximately ten pages) analytical history essay on a topic in mad people's history. List of topics will be handed out during the first class in September. Due no later than Monday December 1, 2003. No extensions will be allowed past this date. Value: 25% of total grade.

3. October 3 and November 14 debate participation. Students will be broken up into groups to debate topics raised in class. Each group will meet separately to formulate an argument, then re-convene to debate the assigned topic. The topic of debate will be assigned during the month preceding the debate (October's debate topic will be assigned in September; November's debate topic will be assigned in October) to allow for preparation prior to class. Value: 15% of total grade for both debates combined.

4. Class Presentation, Overall Participation and Attendance - Value: 10% of total grade. In addition to group debates, students will also be asked to make a presentation on one of the assigned readings in class (where a reading is 5 pages or less, two readings should be presented from the reading list for a specific class). A presentation should be no more than 10 minutes per student or 20 minutes if two students are presenting together. Student presenters are asked to consider: What is the author's main point? Also, student presenters should come up with one question based on the reading to ask the class. Two students can work together for this reading presentation. A sign-up sheet will be distributed during the first class in which students will be asked to select their presentation from the reading list.

Important re academic citation format for 2500 word essay assignment:
Students are expected to use accepted forms of academic citation in the typed assignment due on December 1, 2003. A typed assignment must be in a student's own words, except when making brief quotations from sources. Quotations must be clearly marked as such with proper documentation. There should be a minimum of six secondary sources, exclusive of sources in the course reader, that are cited in notes for this paper. A history essay must have notes and a bibliography. Where plagiarism is proven, a student will be assigned a grade of "0". A style sheet will be handed out in class to help explain these points. Students requiring further advice are encouraged to consult the instructor.