Results for: tal arbel

Scientific Childhood

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Comparative Human Development, Psychology, Sociology
  • Year: 2022-23
  • Term: Autumn
  • Time TBD
  • KNOW 36069
  • Tal Arbel

The first half of the twentieth century was a period of intensified focus and progressive thinking regarding the rights, development, and well-being of children as interests of utmost importance to all society. This focus was marked, inter alia, by concerted efforts to apply the methods of modern science to the investigation of childhood, efforts that in turn forever changed the way we understand, raise, and educate children. This seminar will revisit the lives of children who had served as subjects of observation and experiment from the 1880s to the 1950s, and whose childhood experiences (their emotions, thoughts, and games; their family lives and institutional realities) had shaped the central dogmas of developmental psychology, as well as our ideas about normality. The course takes a biographical approach to the history of science, but rather than focus on the careers of scientists and doctors, delves into the stories of their objects of study, from the Bostonian first graders who answered G. Stanley Hall’s pioneering survey to the 44 “juvenile thieves” who had informed John Bowlby’s influential attachment theory.  

Normality: A History

  • Course Level:
  • Department: Graham School
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Spring
  • T 10:00am - 12:30pm 3/29/22 - 5/17/22
  • KNOW 11001
  • Tal Arbel

Worrying about what’s normal and what’s not is an endemic feature of our culture. Is my IQ above average? What about my height? Should I be feeling this way? Is there a pill for that? People seem to have always been concerned with fitting in, but the way of describing the general run of practices and conditions as “normal” is a rather recent phenomenon; testament to the influence that modern science has had on how we understand and organize ourselves as a society. Offering a broad historical overview of the ways that physical traits, intellectual ability, and social behavior came to be scientifically delimited and measured, this course will introduce students to the theories, techniques, and tools that were used to distinguish the normal from the pathological and the deviant for the past 200 years. We will read Lombroso on born criminals and Krafft-Ebing on sexual perversion; learn about intelligence tests and developmental milestones; and consider the kinds of people these efforts brought into being. In addition to lecture and class discussions, the course includes close engagement with a diverse historical archive: scientific and medical writing, clinical case studies, diagnostic instruments, and patient narratives.

Normal People

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Health and Society, IRHUM
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • IRHU 27009 / KNOW 27009 / HLTH 26074
  • Tal Arbel

We often worry about what’s normal and what’s not. Is my IQ above average? What about my BMI? Should I be feeling this way? Is there a pill for that? People seem to have always been concerned with fitting in, but the way of describing the general run of practices and conditions as “normal” is a rather recent phenomenon; testament to the vast influence modern science have had on how we understand ourselves. Charting a wide-ranging history of the ways that human traits and behaviors came to be classified and measured, this research seminar will introduce students to the theories and techniques used to distinguish the normal from the pathological and the deviant for the past 200 years. We will read Cesare Lombroso on born criminals and Richard von Krafft-Ebing on sexual perversion; learn about psychological tests and developmental milestones; and consider the kinds of people these scientific and medical efforts brought into being. In addition to lecture and class discussions, the course includes close engagement with a diverse historical archive: scientific and medical treatises, clinical case studies, diagnostic tools, and patient narratives. Students will also explore how the University of Chicago contributed to the definition and establishment of normality through a project at the university’s archival collections.

Normal People: History of the Human Sciences

  • Course Level: Graduate; undergraduate with permission
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, Health and Society, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, MAPSS
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Spring
  • Thur 9:30 am - 12:20 pm
  • KNOW 36078, CHSS 36078, HLTH 26078, HIPS 26078
  • Tal Arbel

We often worry about what’s normal and what’s not. Is my IQ above average? What about my BMI? Should I be feeling this way? Is there a pill for that? People seem to have always been concerned with fitting in, but the way of describing the general run of practices and conditions as “normal” is a rather recent phenomenon; testament to the vast influence modern science have had on how we understand ourselves. Charting a wide-ranging history of the ways that human traits and behaviors came to be classified and measured, this research seminar will introduce students to the theories and techniques used to distinguish the normal from the pathological and the deviant for the past 200 years. We will read Cesare Lombroso on born criminals and Richard von Krafft-Ebing on sexual perversion; learn about psychological tests and developmental milestones; and consider the kinds of people these scientific and medical efforts brought into being. In addition to lecture and class discussions, the course includes close engagement with a diverse historical archive: scientific and medical treatises, clinical case studies, diagnostic tools, and patient narratives. Students will also explore how the University of Chicago contributed to the definition and establishment of normality through a project at the university’s archival collections.