Students enrolled in this seminar will develop a set of competencies that enable them to understand the contexts and forces that have shaped current beliefs about disability and deviance. Specifically, after completing the course, students will be able to:

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to

• Describe mechanisms developed by societies to identify and classify individuals who differ significantly from the norm;

• Discuss the evolution of taxonomies and schemas that have been used to respond to deviance and disability in society;

• Describe the roles that institutions play in controlling individuals who violate social norms as well as treat for deviant and disabled individuals;

• Identify social, political, and professional forces that shape responses to individuals labeled as deviant or disabled;

• Discuss theories associated with the overrepresentation of individuals with significant mental health problems and other disabling conditions in juvenile corrections, jails, and prisons;

• Analyze how media shape and reinforce beliefs about deviance and disability that may or may not be consistent with the views of the professions, individuals, and their families;

• Apply concepts learned in class to a discussion of the treatment and classification of individuals visited, following a visit to a juvenile or adult correctional facility.

Readings include:

Baca, J. S. (2001). A Place to Stand: The Making of a Poet. New York: Grove Press.

Beers, C. W. (1907, 1981). A Mind that Found Itself. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Butterfield, F. (1995). All God’s Children: The Bosket Family and the American Tradition of Violence. New York: Avon.

Dully, H. & Flemming, C. (2007). My Lobotomy: A Memoir. New York: Three Rivers Press.

Earley, P. (2006). Crazy: A Father’s Search through America’s Mental Health Madness. New York: Berkley.

Robinson, J.E. (2007). Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s. New York: Three Rivers Press.

Whitaker, R. (2002). Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing.