Bedlam: Insanity and Asylums in the 19th Century

October 14, 2019 | Keri Lamb | Internal Press Release


The Humanities and Fine Arts Division of Chattanooga State Community College will host the second lecture of its 6th annual Chautauqua Lecture Series on Thursday, October 17 at 2 p.m. in the Humanities and Fine Arts Building, Room 133, on Chattanooga State’s main campus.

In 1874, people gathered on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in New York State to enjoy speakers, teachers, musicians, and specialists who entertained and educated members of the community, thus catalyzing an adult education movement that subsequently spread throughout rural America. Since 2014, Chattanooga State has hosted its own monthly Chautauqua to unite faculty, students, staff, and the larger Chattanooga community in exploring a wide array of topics within the humanities. This year, Chattanooga State’s Chautauqua Series features the compelling and culturally relevant research of seven Humanities & Fine Arts faculty as well as the series finale with Writers@Work 2019-2020 visiting author Daniel Wallace. 

The next Chautauqua lecture takes its cue from the spooky month of October, with a presentation from Assistant Professor Mindy Griffin and Director of the Andrews Writing Center Mollee Shannon entitled “Bedlam: Insanity and Asylums in the 19th Century.” While television shows and films often sensationalize the patients and treatments of past asylums, sometimes reality is far scarier than fiction. Join Shannon and Griffin as they explore the reasons why many individuals were institutionalized and the questionable medical theories proposed to treat patients. Together they will illuminate this dark corner of history from lobotomies and straitjackets, to confinement and poison.

Following Griffin and Shannon’s October lecture, four other Chattanooga State faculty will present lectures in their fields of study. The final installment in the 2019-2020 Chautauqua Lecture Series will be held on April 9 in partnership with the Humanities Department’s Writers@Work program. This special event features an interview conducted by Associate Professor Sarah Page with the 2019-2020 Writers@Work visiting author Daniel Wallace about the film adaptation of his celebrated novel Big Fish.

WHEN: 2-3 p.m. October 17

WHERE: Humanities and Fine Arts Building Room 133, Chattanooga State Main Campus, 4501 Amnicola Highway.

COST: Free to all members of the public.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Facebook: “Chattanooga State’s Chautauqua Series”; Instagram: “chautauqua_series”; Twitter: “@ChautauquaSeries”; Email: