Sociology | Mental Illness
S324 | 4118 | Almazan
OPEN TO UNDERGRADUATES ONLY
This course critically examines the social dimensions of mental
illness. Public health officials estimate that four out of the ten
leading causes of disability are due to mental illnesses and that
nearly one out of five Americans will experience a mental disorder
this year. In this class, we will focus on the mechanisms operating
in our social environment that contribute to the structure,
perception, and maintenance of mental illness. We will review
sociological explanations on how mental illness is defined and
diagnosed. We will explore in-depth how society treats and reacts to
the mentally ill. We will examine programs for treating mental
illness and evaluate the benefits and dangers of treatment options.
We will investigate how some institutions such as the legal system,
the media, and the health insurance industry confront mental
illness. Active discussion is encouraged in this class. Two
quizzes, a midterm, and a final exam will be given.
Students will be required to write a research paper and weekly
reactions. Class discussion and attendance will be graded.
The texts for the course are:
1. Course Reading Packet (available from Collegiate Copies on
2. Hurley, Jennifer. 1999. Current Controversies: Mental
3. Kaysen, Susanna. 1993. Girl, Interrupted. Turtle Bay Books.
4. Sheehan, Susan. 1982. Is There No Place On Earth For Me?