James Moran

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities

19992000 Forum on Human Nature

James Moran

York University

Insanity, Human Nature and Popular Culture in Nineteenth-Century United States

Notions of “madness” and “insanity” are inextricably bound to ideas of what it is to be “human.” How do popular responses to madness relate to changing concepts of human nature in how those considered to be insane are defined and treated? To answer this question, Dr. Moran will study developments in New Jersey and Pennsylvania from 1780 to 1880, in particular, how differences in gender, class, ethnicity and religion helped shape popular outlooks on insanity. Considered a superb teacher, his course, “Medicine and North American Society in Historical Perspective,” will encourage students to recognize the many ways in which health, illness, medicine and healing are viewed and experienced.