Goldclasses 2018: Psychosocial/Therapeutic Studies

Date: 21-Jun-2018

What’s wrong with the normal?

Lecturer: Dr. Chrysanthi Nigianni

Date: Thursday 21 June

Time: 10:00 – 12:00

Location: Goldsmiths, University of London

About Goldclasses: At Goldsmiths, University of London we offer a range of subject-based masterclasses to give you a detailed insight of how teaching and learning is different at University level.

Developed and delivered alongside leading academics and research specialists, Goldclasses aim to stimulate enquiry, broaden subject knowledge and introduce students to a new way of academic thinking. Goldclasses offer radical, thought-provoking topics that showcase why Goldsmiths is at the forefront of cutting-edge research.

Information: As a society we are haunted by the fear to be labeled as abnormal – a fear sustained by a medical threat: “if you are not like everybody else it is because you are abnormal. If you are abnormal, it's because you are sick” (M. Foucault).

In this lecture the students will be encouraged to reflect critically on the notions of the ‘normal’ and the ‘pathological’ through a range of critical questions: what does it mean to be normal? How has the notion of the ‘normal’ arisen?
For this purpose, we will explore the key ideas in Michel Foucault’s histories of madness and sexuality, where he traces the new imperative ‘to be normal’ in modernity and more precisely in the emergence of bourgeois morality and the development of scientific reason.
Since the 20th century we have witnessed the rise of critical voices from the fields of the arts, philosophy, social sciences and psychiatry that have come to criticize the imperative to normalcy as part of a systematic disciplining and controlling of the modern subject. The lecture will conclude with the question: ‘how normal is the wish to be normal?’

How to book your place: Please contact Jonathan at to book your place.

It may be possible to have reasonable travelling expenses reimbursed to attend an RO event/activity. You should check in advance with the university delivering the event to see if this is possible by contacting Jonathan Bridges at and to find out what you need to do.