This course is an examination of the idea of normality as a central organizing principle in psychology. We begin with an effort to define normality and/or psychological health, and then move on to examine the limits or borders of normality. The course examines the value-laden, historically determined, and political nature of psychological normality. Topics discussed include: psychoanalytic contributions to the study of psychopathology (Freud and Erikson); normality and creativity; contemporary psychiatry; and the politics of mental illness.
Students write one medium-length paper on issues raised in the course and participate in one small-scale research effort related to course topics.