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HSY2050 - Fears and Fantasies: Deviance in History

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Mark Peel


Not offered in 2007


This unit will focus on different historical episodes and panics to explore conceptions of social order, deviance and threat in different contexts. Using a range of sources, the unit will examine such topics as European and American witchcraft; 'lunacy', disease, disability and the 'freak'; moral panics over sexuality, juvenile delinquency and political deviance; and criminality, punishment and incarceration. The unit will explore the role of fears and fantasies in the development of structures of power and authority, deviance as a focus for political mobilisation and protest, and the connections and differences between deviance, transgression and resistance.


Students successfully completing this subject will be able to show familiarity with the key theoretical and conceptual issues in the comparative analysis of deviance, crime and authority, and an awareness of the contested and historical nature of legal, medical and governmental definitions of 'abnormality' and the threats supposed to emanate from human diversity. They will also be able to analyse themes of domination and resistance in a range of texts, including records of interrogation, medical and psychological literature and legal proceedings; demonstrate their skills in collaborative group work, especially the design and presentation of that which illustrate contemporary aspects of deviance; and demonstrate particular skills in analysing a broad range of documentary evidence.


Group project and tutorial presentation (1000 words): 30%
Research essay (2500 words): 50%
Examination (1 hour): 20%

Contact hours

2-3 hours of lectures and tutorials per week


A first-year sequence in History or permission