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Questions for Thursday 9-2-2021

1. Foucault states: The absence of constraint in the nineteenth-century asylum is not unreason liberated, but madness long since mastered (252). Is Foucault praising Tuke’s Quaker ideals that used religious principles as humane treatment for the insane. What is your opinion of these methods that integrated moral principles (shame with transgressions as sins and the idea that each man was morally responsible to NOT disturb society) rather than physical restraints?

2. Shorter’s first chapter (22) addresses the idea of moral therapy as a “stroke of genius” that a “handful of great men” envisioned. Shorter states that it is “astonishing” that this productive and humane therapy was “later lost so completely from view in asylum life”. When and why did the US shift into asylums as “custodial care” facilities with maintenance of chronic patients consuming all the resources and energy of the staff?

Submitted by Bonnie Akkerman I pledge…

1) What was the true cause for the increase in psychiatry as a practice? Shorter mentions the possibility of it being the desire to gain personal wealth and recognition for having the most effective/best institution or model? Could it have also been that the increase in those who were deemed mentally ill increased the desire to research it and better understand why it may be happening and how to combat it? Was capitalism the main source or could there be the chance that there was an actual moral obligation among these doctors to help those who had been deemed uncurable?

2) If kindness showed early promising results in treating the mentally ill, why was it then lost? Kindness seems far more simple than bloodletting and cheaper than making huge institutions to isolate and chain patients. As both Madam Pussin and Tuke showed, kindness helped cure patients as well as save their lives (21), therefore why would it be ignored? Could it have been ignored due to the desire for wealth from this field or due to the interest in medical research?

3) Shorter mentions how Joseph Daquin believes that his female patients had become mad due to the vapors that would come from the uterus and derange al functions of the brain. While these women were not institutionalized for their believed madness, it is still a very subjective hypothesis and begs the question of what Daquin’s explanation for men who become mad be?

Posted by Mallory Karnei

1. In Foucault, we see the history and origins of the asylum and how they have changed throughout their history. However, Foucault spoke of Tuke and his methods that broke away from the traditional means of dealing with those who have a mental illness. The concept of Stranger Par Excellence is brought up, a concept that aids in the reforming and reintegration of those at the retreat back into normal society. Nevertheless, does this method merely containing or covering up the issues faced? Mean that they are merely being taught how to blend in and not cured in some cases?

2. When Shorter writes on the origins of biological psychiatry, he brings up two of the foremost pioneers of this field of research and thought, Benjamin Rush and Philipe Pinel. However, he later gives credit to Johann Reil as the forerunner of this field, Due to the matter that Rush and Pinel wrote “Sketchily.” What does that even mean in the context of founding this field? Many scholars considered founders of a particular field of medicine or science even if their ideas were wrong or if their writing was viewed as vague. What makes it different in this field?

-Parker Siebenschuh I pledge

1) One thing I have noted over the course of these readings is that there does not seem to be any distinction between individuals who are “mentally ill” versus those who are just “ill” with various conditions and diseases. Taking into consideration what we know so far about the origins of mental health (especially in connection with the term “mental hygiene”), why do you think this is so? What lines separate early forms of medical knowledge and psychiatry? And to what extent were these practices ethical in nature?

2) Something that caught my attention was the early term used for psychiatrists. The early term for psychiatrists was “alienists,” which is derived from French word “aliéné” which roughly means “insane” in English. At a glance you could even interpret this term to mean “alienation” of individuals deemed “insane.” I'd like to discuss these terms and get the opinion of others and how they think this might have affected treatment.

Submitted by Lyndsey Clark.

September 2nd reading questions: 1. What is the backstory of Foucault? The use of religion and fear to discuss asylums in almost preach-like undertones gives off the impression that he is either deeply religious or deeply anti-religious.

2. What does Foucault mean when he says the prestige of the patriarchy is revived around madness in a bourgeois family? Submitted by Griffin Nameroff

1. Was the early beginnings of psychiatry based on capitalism like Shorter says or was there also something else influencing it?

2. Why did the French government fight Esquirol in expanding his treatments to other departments? Submitted by Audrey Schroeder

1. Is Foucault advocating for those suffering from any kind of “madness” to be able to run free in society, even the extremely violent?

2. If the founding members of the AMSAII thought that “mental disorders…were no different from physical diseases,” (Grob, 75) why did they think that psychiatrists needed more training than medical doctors? Was the medical profession really that bad? 3. Shorter believes the “recency hypothesis” that schizophrenia is a modern phenomenon, saying that there are virtually no accounts of it prior to the late 18th century (64). I don’t have any data to say otherwise, but that seems suspect. If true, it makes you wonder why it’s a modern disease. The environment? Social factors? Submitted by Chris O'Neill

1. In Shorter’s writing he states that during the 1800’s society misconceived that the mentally ill would not want to seek minor treatments say about how society viewed the mentally ill’s curability and willingness to be cured? Also, what might this say about how society would come to view the mentally ill and their treatment?

2. Even though custodial asylums were horrific places, do you think they were essential for the growth of psychiatry? Would psychiatry have made a natural evolution to therapeutic care regardless of the introduction of custodial asylums?

Submitted by Jack Kurz

1. Having read chapter 2, what would you say are the pros of the “centralization” model practiced by France over the comparatively sparse and unconnected existence of asylums in America?

2. On pg. 65, Foucault mentions that “by 1900, psychiatry had reached a dead end.” He mainly chalks this up to the majority of psychiatrists in England and the U.S. working in asylums thought 'hopeless' for various reasons. Meanwhile, German asylums, being better-run and with their psychiatrists feeling emboldened to do actual medical research, saw much greater success. Given the abundance of stories detailing deleterious or even deadly medical/psychiatric procedures, do you believe 'more medical research' truly would have gotten British and American facilities to improve?

Submitted by Theron Gertz

1. Page 16-17 of Shorter's A History of Psychiatry, he noted that psychiatry gained notoriety behind closed doors and only seemed accessible to those who had money. What about those who didn't have the funds to pay for “treatment”? Has this trend persisted throughout the history of psychiatry?

2. In The Birth of the Asylum, Foucault mentions that the science was not introduced, but a personality or moral and social order. For the people running asylums at the time, why do we think they turned away from the science of psychiatry and towards the social order of it all? (271-272) Submitted by Carson Berrier (I pledge…)

Submitted By: Erica Banks 1. One of the things that interested me the most about Shorter's reading was the depiction of the different methods used to treat patients with mental concerns, since there was no such thing as “psychiatry”. What was the purpose of some of those methods?

2. Is it possible that we associated the term “asylum” as a negative term is due to the treatment of patients in the past? Or something else?

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