Perceptions, Pathologies, Disorders: Reading and Writing Mental Health - ENGL7320

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Canterbury
Spring Term 5 30 (15) checkmark-circle

Overview

As discussions about mental health and the challenging of stigmas surrounding mental illness, make their way into the mainstream more and more, there has never been a better time to explore the ways in which literary and cultural texts frame and represent mental wellbeing. In this module, students will have the opportunity to examine, respond to, and reflect upon, a range of representations of mental health and mental illness, and the broader social and historical ideas which they reveal.
Drawing on critical texts from the fields of Mad Studies, alongside prose memoir texts, lyric essays, poetry collections, and film and image, the module will explore, critically examine, and creatively respond to some of the various thematic lenses through which mental health and mental illness have been represented. These themes include, for instance, mental health in relation to idleness and work; shame and secrecy; spectacle and morality; sin and punishment; animality and dehumanization; order and disorder; contagion and pathology; leisure and decadence; surveillance and authority; transgression, borderlands and margins; social uniformity and 'family values'; feminisation and silence; and rebellion and protest.
The module will furnish students with the necessary tools required to discuss issues of mental health and mental illness critically and with understanding; as well as providing the opportunity to explore and reflect on these issues creatively in a range of forms. Students are invited to take either a critical or a creative approach to their final projects - or a hybrid of the two – and both approaches will be fully supported throughout the module.

Details

Contact hours

Contact hours: 45
Private Study Hours: 255
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Written Assignment (1,500 words) (20%):
Final Project (3,000 words critical essay; OR 3,000 words original creative prose; OR 120 lines of poetry with 500-word rationale) (60%):
Seminar and workshop participation and preparation (20%):

Reassessment methods:
Alternative Assessment: 100% coursework (3,000 words critical essay; OR 3,000 words original creative prose; OR 120 lines of poetry with 500-word rationale)

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Ashworth, J. (2019), Notes Made While Falling (Goldsmiths)
Foucault, M. (2006) Madness and Civilisation (Vintage Books)
Frame, J. (2009) Faces in the Water (Virago)
Rankine, C. (2004) Don't Let Me Be Lonely (Macmillan, 2004)
Sax S. (2017), Madness (Penguin)
Showalter, E. (1987) The Female Malady: Women, Madness and English Culture (Virago)
Wang, E. W. (2019) The Collected Schizophrenias (Graywolf)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 read and respond to a range of cultural, critical and literary texts that explore mental health and mental illness;
2 evaluate the ways in which representations of mental health and mental illness in literature and culture reflect broader social ideas;
3 understand how social perceptions of mental health and mental illness are constructed and developed;
4 identify the tropes and narratives that representations of mental health and mental illness employ and reproduce;
5 respond critically, creatively and reflectively to cultural and literary representations of mental health and mental illness.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 apply close reading techniques and strategies to a range of literary and cultural texts;
2 effectively communicate original critical and creative ideas using a variety of methods;
3 employ self-directed research skills in order to creatively deploy secondary critical perspectives;
4 manage time and workload effectively

Notes

  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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