Surprising ways we handle people with madness with professor Andrew Scull

When you live in the Bay Area you pass tons of folks who appear to be mad. Most of us don’t spend enough time focusing on how our culture handles folks on the spectrum of some level of mental illness. When you think about it— the range of “madness” ranges from people with very serious mental illness to people who don’t socially fit in. As you look back across history, you can see just how we’ve dealt with it, who we’ve blamed for it, and what crazy treatments we’ve put in place.

Who better to talk about that than someone who studies it for a living. Andrew Scull, this week’s guest, is exactly that person. As a professor of Sociology at the University of San Diego, he’s written a ton of books on this subject over decades. 

We talked about his most recent one, “Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity from the Bible to Freud” when he stopped by for this week’s recording among his other works. And it’s a refreshing perspective on exactly how we’ve looked at madness and and maybe how we might look at it in the future. 


Music credit: 12 Monkeys, Paul Buckmaster