Spring 2010

Madness and Politics

Listed in: Anthropology and Sociology, as ANTH-42


Christopher T. Dole (Section 01)


This seminar will consider the anthropological, psychological, and political significance of "limit" experience(s).  While such forms of experience--such as psychosis, trauma, possession, and torture--are commonly regarded as radical exceptions, existing in a place “beyond” culture and language, this course examines the ways that they can play a constitutive role in shaping everyday subjective experience and social life.  Of particular interest in this seminar will be the significance of "limit" experience for understanding what it means to be a subject, the relationship between mental disorder and social-political order, the position of injury and suffering in contemporary formulations of truth and freedom, and anthropological approaches to political power conceived in psychological and social terms.  Rather than making a sustained argument, the course will involve open-ended discussions regarding theories of subjectivity as they appear in ethnographic studies of psychiatry, pharmaceuticals, the biosciences, political violence, religious experience, and institutions of confinement and care.

Limited to 20 students.  Spring semester.  Professor C. Dole

If Overenrolled: priority will be given to seniors and majors


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010