‘Insane’ course wins 2017 Create a Course Challenge
The second UvA Create a Course Challenge took place on Thursday 14 December in the CREA Music Room. Both the audience and the jury chose the course ‘From village idiot to hands-on expert: towards an interdisciplinary understanding of insanity’ as the winner. The course will be offered in the first semester of 2018/2019 as an interdisciplinary elective at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies.
In the course, students Lottie Bakker (Clinical Psychology and Dramaturgy) and Katty Gerez (Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature) aim to approach the concept of insanity from different disciplines in order to gain a broader picture of the subject and promote the dialogue between ‘society’ and ‘the mentally ill’ as well as between the different disciplines themselves. ‘Insanity is a concept that appeals to the imagination. In addition to the more clinical side of insanity, its representation in the arts also plays a major role. All facets together create a rich image of insanity and could potentially contribute to the debate on stigmatisation of mental illness in society,’ the winners explain.
The interdisciplinary nature of the course is guaranteed due to the diverse range of lecturers who should be involved. For example, the two women plan to have neuroscientists as well as psychologists and historians give lectures during the course. An innovative educational method will also be used: role play. Lottie and Katty described this as ‘an alternative interpretation of the classic therapist-client session. Thus the philosopher can sit in the therapist’s chair and the historian can take the place of the client, to provide insight into how both disciplines influence the way in which therapists as well as clients are viewed.’
The jury’s decision
Antoinette Muntjewerff (lecturer in General Law at the Faculty of Law and Lecturer of the Year) announced on behalf of the three-member jury that the course satisfied all the assessment criteria.
From idea to actual course
In the period ahead, the course developers at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (IIS) will sit down with the winners to develop the idea into an actual course which will be offered as an interdisciplinary elective in the first semester of the upcoming academic year.
The IIS received a total of 32 entries and had 16 of these developed into concrete ideas. Out of these 16, the 10 best ideas were selected, after which UvA students and staff were able to narrow that down to a top five by voting online. These five were presented during the finals on Thursday afternoon.