Early operating theater

Courses for Fall 2007

Medical History and Bioethics 350:
Film in Green Screen: Environmental History and Action

Instructor: Gregg Mitman

How has film shaped past and present interactions between humans and the environment across different cultures and landscapes? The success of An Inconvenient Truth and March of the Penguins and the impact, in all of its myriad meanings, of Blue Vinyl and The Real Dirt on Farmer John are recent reminders of the extent to which film can inform and engage the public in critical environmental issues that affect human and animal lives across the globe. And, yet, the very different conventions of these films also remind us, as the French film critic, André Bazin, once noted: “The bounds of the science film are as undefined as those of the documentary. But, after all, who cares!”

We take Bazin’s dilettantish attitude toward scientific cinema in exploring the history and theory of an amalgam of films that, for better or worse, might be labeled environmental cinema. As this seminar reveals, however, what we call environmental cinema is itself shaped by the changing cultural and social meanings of nature and the environment over time. From travelogue-exploration films of the 1920s, to the experimental avant-garde of surrealist scientific filmmakers such as Jean Painlevé, from the worlds of Walt Disney to those of Jacques Cousteau, from the social documentaries of John Grierson and Pare Lorentz to more contemporary cinema documenting the struggles of peoples confronting issues of environmental injustice across the globe, this seminar will call students to rethink the ways in which cinema has shaped how we see, think about, consume, and politicize nature in both past and present societies.

Students will be required to attend film screenings to be held throughout the semester, which will take place on Thursday or Friday evenings. In addition to select film reviews, the main assignment will be for students to choose a recent or historical environmental film and write a 15-20 page essay analyzing its myriad impacts—economic, cultural, political, and social. How does one measure a film’s impact? Did the film alter public attitudes toward nature or the environment in significant ways? The seminar will lay the theoretical and empirical groundwork for students to be able to address these questions in their final assignment.

Meets with Env Studies 402, Lec. 5 and Comm Arts 469

3 cr.; H (Humanities), D (Intermediate or Advanced);

9:00-11:30 F

Prerequisites: Sophomore Honors or Junior standing.


Medical History and Bioethics 394:
Science in America

Instructor: Ronald Numbers

From the colonial period to the present; emphasis on the development of scientific institutions and the influence of science on American life.

Crosslisted with History and with History of Science

3 cr.; H (Humanities), D (Intermediate or Advanced)

11:00-12:15 TR

Prerequisites: Junior standing or consent of instructor.


Medical History and Bioethics 504:
Society and Health Care in American History

Instructor: Eric Boyle

Health care in America since the colonial period; emphasis on social developments.

Crosslisted with History and History of Science

3 cr.; B (Biological Science), I (Intermediate)

4:00-5:15 MW

Prerequisites: Junior standing or consent of instructor.


Medical History and Bioethics 507:
Health, Disease and Healing I

Instructor: Walton Schalick

This course presents an in-depth survey of medicine and public health from its roots in Antiquity through approximately 1500. There are three principal themes. The first focuses on the evolving concepts of illness, beginning with the ideas of the Hippocratics, who lived during the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. We will study how their ideas were taken up and transformed by later scholars, with particular emphasis being paid to medicine in medieval Islam and the reception of medical knowledge in western Europe after 500 A.D. through its transformation in the newfangled universities. We will also pay close attention to the teaching and practice of anatomy in those universities. The second theme studies the medical practitioners of this era, focusing primarily on physicians but also paying significant attention to surgeons, apothecaries, female healers and the various other health-providers who together comprised the practice of healing in the ancient and medieval worlds. Within that theme, the notion of the medieval medical marketplace will be an important one. The third theme centers on the evolution of health as a social and political problem. It includes the emergence of hospitals in Constantinople and Baghdad, two large medieval cities where caring for the sick poor became a matter of pressing concern and the evolution of public health through the period of the Black Death in the later fourteenth century and beyond.

Each week there will be one 75-minute lecture on Monday to introduce the weeks subject, followed by a 75- minute seminar/lecture on Wednesday to flesh out the readings in depth. Depending on the complexity of the material, readings for the seminar meeting will be about 100 pages per week. Readings depend primarily on a packet of readings, but we will also have recourse to two textbooks: Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine by Nancy Siraisi, and Carole Rawcliffe's Sources for the History of Medicine in Late Medieval England.

Written work will consist of 3 take-home essay assignments, each of 5-6 pages in length.

Crosslisted with History of Science and with History

3 cr., H (Humanities), I (Intermediate)

2:30-3:45 MW

Prerequisite: Junior standing.


Medical History and Bioethics 509:
The Development of Public Health in America

Instructor: Judith Leavitt

This course surveys the history of public health in the United States from the colonial period to the late twentieth century, emphasizing many issues in the development of public responsibility for health that are relevant at the beginning of the 21st century. The course is run as a seminar/discussion, and the student requirements include regular and constructive class participation.

The course materials include many “primary” documents, writings from the period under discussion, so that students can come to appreciate and understand (but not necessarily to agree with) various historical points of view, with the ultimate goal of toleration of ambiguity and contradiction. The past was just as complex and interesting as the present, and in this course we aim to become familiar with some of the complexity of human experiences and work with the historical record on its own terms, even as we also seek to understand what we can learn from the past to help us to understand and explain the present. We sit today at the beginning of the twenty-first century, reading history to enrich ourselves culturally; at the same time we can use our knowledge to make our world in this new century a little bit better.

The seminar-discussion approach grows directly out of an appreciation of the benefits of active learning, in which the professor is a facilitator of learning rather than a dispenser of information and students actively pursue their education rather than passively receive knowledge. The general goals of a university education focus on critical thinking, being willing to explore ideas contrary to one’s own beliefs, knowing when information or data are relevant to an issue and how to seek and find that information and apply it methodologically to the problem at hand. Class time will be a time to present new material, but even more, it will be used to provide experiences in learning what to do with new material and to clear up problems so that students can take responsibility for learning and solving problems rather than waiting for them to be solved by the instructor. Cooperative and group learning and exercises will be encouraged, with the assumption that everyone brings something valuable and unique to the class. Active discussion, expressing one’s ideas and getting reactions from other students and the teacher, has been demonstrated to make a big difference in learning, retention, and use of knowledge. Verbalizing an idea can be one way of getting checks and extensions of it. Thus students will be required to talk about their ideas openly, listen and respond to others’ ideas, remain sensitive to the feelings of other class members, and take responsibility for moving class discussions forward.

Crosslisted with History of Science

3 cr.; B (Biological Science), I (Intermediate)

1:00-2:15 TR

Prerequisites: Junior standing and consent of instructor. Graduate students registered in MHB 509 must register concurrently in MHB 709.


Medical History and Bioethics 532:
History of the (American) Body

Instructor: Judith Houck

Do bodies have a history? What do bodies mean? Are we our bodies? Who decides the value of a body? What are the consequences of having the wrong body? Perhaps it all started with the nature-nurture debate. By dividing the living world into biology (flesh, blood, genes, hormones, germs) and culture (environment, politics, tradition, commerce, history), we have come to regard bodies as objects immune to historical forces. This course challenges this understanding of bodies. By focusing primarily on American bodies in the 19th and 20th centuries, this course demonstrates that human bodies have social and cultural histories. The lived experience and cultural meanings of human bodies are dependent on their social settings. Biology is surely not irrelevant to bodily experience. But the interpretation and valuation of biology, indeed what is considered biological, change over time. Within a larger three-unit framework, this course will highlight the social values placed on different bodies and the changing social expectations bodies create. This course will pay particular attention to the following questions: How have cultural and social changes in American history influenced the meaning and experience of bodies? How have attempts to establish social status and difference focused on bodies? How has the social and economic value of bodies differed according to race, class, sex, and “fitness?” How has a focus on bodies individualized social problems?

Crosslisted with Women's Studies and History of Science

3 cr.; H (Humanities), A (Advanced)

9:30-10:15 MW

Prerequisites: Women St 103 or other women's studies crse required; prev hist (incl med hist & hist sci) crse preferred.


Medical History and Bioethics 545:
Ethical and Regulatory Issues in Clinical Investigation

Instructor: Norman C. Fost

This course will explore and examine the ethical issues central to clinical research, regulations governing clinical investigation, and the role of good clinical practice for clinical trials. Participants who master this course material will be able to think critically about the ethical issues central to clinical research and know the basic elements of the federal regulations affecting clinical investigation.

Not cross-listed

1 cr.; C (Counts for LAS credit, L&S), A (Advanced)

3:30-5;30 R


Medical History and Bioethics 553:
International Health and Global Society

Instructor: Richard Keller

SARS in East Asia and Canada; AIDS and malaria in Africa, South Asia, and Latin America; malnutrition and deficiency diseases in the developing world; stress, heart disease, and eating disorders in the United States and Europe: wherever we turn, we are assaulted by these images. The Internet, television, and print journalism ensure that we are never unaware of the health crises that besiege our globalizing society, to the extent that we see these problems as a symptom of globalization itself. Yet such concern is far from new. Historians and epidemiologists have long recognized that the “microbial unification of the world” dates at least to the Black Death of the fourteenth century. Throughout the nineteenth century, cholera devastated South Asia, Europe, and the United States; a century ago, bubonic plague and flu each killed millions globally. In this course, we will draw on a wide range of historical and anthropological materials and methods to examine the history of public health and medicine as international phenomena. Focusing on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, we will explore topics such as the connections between global pandemics of infectious disease and European colonial expansion; strategies for curtailing the spread of disease across borders; historical and contemporary anxieties about the health consequences of global migration; and the emergence of a global medical marketplace. Particular themes include the connection between health and wealth; the relationship between culture and medical ideas and practices; and the tensions of practicing medicine in multicultural settings. Graduate students must register concurrently in MHB 753.

Crosslisted with Population Health Sciences and with History of Science

3 cr.; Z (Humanities or Social Science), I (Intermediate)

2:30-3;45 TR

Prerequisites: Junior standing or consent of instructor.


Medical History and Bioethics 559-001:
Culture and Ethics of Body Modification

Instructor: Linda Hogle

There is a long history of bodily modification throughout time and across many kinds of societies. Modifications can be for functional restoration, augmentation, enhancement, or aesthetic purposes. This course will explore the ways that bodily modifications and the development of body-altering technologies co-evolve with social and technical understandings of appearance, function and perception. Industrialized societies are experiencing dramatic variations in individuals’ body size and appearance, due to changes in nutritional and consumption patterns, changing cultural views of the body, and the emergence of technologies that change the physical appearance and functioning of both healthy and disabled bodies. At the same time, innovations in biomedicine and bioengineering are leading to novel forms of designed bodies. But just what is a “properly functioning” body in light of emerging biology-altering technologies and what is its relation to body image and perception? Alternate body forms, including those that dramatically change appearance, or may incorporate synthetic parts could make a body “more normal” or could potentially create improved features. Yet there are social and ethical implications for such transformations. What do we consider to be “deficient” or “normal” and why? Also, some kinds of modifications of appearance or function may be understood by some as “pathological” or “unnatural,” while others are viewed positively, as “therapeutic” or “empowering.” How do we make sense The course will create an opportunity for students to explore the relations of biological, cultural, and technological aspects of bodily modifications. Students will learn about issues of identity and subjectivity as related to physical appearance and functioning, the ethical use of body modification technologies, and public health and policy frameworks and implications. The course will appeal to all social science students, as well as students seeking careers in the medical professions, psychology, ethics, and health policy. Open to upper level undergraduates; graduate students welcome. 1. Introduction: What’s “normal?” What’s an “able” body? 2. Dysmorphias, Body size/shape, body image, body building: politics, ethics, consumer culture 3. Prosthetics, Replacements, Augmentations and Aesthetics in rich and poor countries: Subjectivity and objectivity 4. Engineered biology: techno-biological substitutes for tissue and organs

Not cross-listed

3 cr.; H (Humanities), D (Intermediate or Advanced)

1:00-2:15 TR

Prerequisites: Cons inst; enrollment may be limited depending on topic and approach.


Medical History and Bioethics 559-003:
Cultural Perspectives on Aging, Grief, Death and Dying

Instructor: Jo Scheder

Understandings of aging, grief, death and dying, are culturally and historically shaped. The course will explore cultural and ethical dimensions of: aging and regard for elders; end-of-life perspectives; cross-cultural experiences and meanings of death, grief and loss; and potential relevance for understanding health disparities.

Not cross-listed

3 cr.; H (Humanities), D (Intermediate or Advanced)

2:25-4:55 M

Prerequisites: Prerequisites: Cons inst; enrollment may be limited depending on topic and approach.


Medical History and Bioethics 668:
Alternative Medicine in America

Instructor: Eric Boyle

This course provides a survey of alternative medical philosophies, institutions, and practitioners while exploring changing concepts of health and disease in the history of the United States.

Primary emphasis will be placed on the following topics: 1) the nature of competition in the medical marketplace; 2) points of negotiation between mainstream medicine, popular understandings of health, and alternative or complementary practices; 3) the role of science in medical research and practice; 4) the role of institutions in health care delivery; 5) the politics of healing.

Crosslisted with History of Science

3 cr.; C (Counts for L&S credit), A (Advanced)

4:00-5:15 TR

Prerequisites: Junior standing.


Medical History and Bioethics 699:
Independent Study in Medical History

Instructor: Staff

To be arranged with instructor.

Not cross-listed

1-3 cr.; C (counts for L&S), A (Advanced)

Time to be arranged

Prerequisites: Jr st and cons instr


Medical History and Bioethics 709:
Development of Public Health in America

Instructor: Judith Leavitt

Advanced readings in primary and secondary literature concerning public health issues and problems in America from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, and efforts made toward their solutions.

Not cross-listed

1 cr.; Graduate, Advanced

Time TBA

Prerequisites: Grad st & con reg in Med Hist 509.


Medical History and Bioethics 753:
International Health and Global Society

Instructor: Richard Keller

Advanced readings that examine major problems in modern international health. Focus on epidemiology and disease ecology; political economy of health; migration; quarantine; international health research; cross-cultural healing; mental and maternal health; growth of international health organizations.

Not cross-listed

1 cr.; Graduate basic

Time TBA

Prerequisites: Grad st and con reg in Med Hist 553.


Medical History and Bioethics 890:
Reading and Research

Instructor: Staff

To be arranged with instructor.

Not cross-listed

1-3 cr. A (Advanced)

Time to be arranged

Prereq: Open to all 4th yr Med stdts (8 or 16 wks) & Grad stdts of all other depts (16 wks)


Medical History and Bioethics 905:
Bioethics and the Law

Instructor: Alan Weisbard

Introduction to the legal, ethical and public policy dimensions of modern medicine and biomedical research. Informed consent, human experimentation, death and dying, organ transplantation, allocation of scarce resources. May cover reproductive and genetic issues in some years.

Meets with law 905

3 cr.; Graduate, advanced

1:20-3;20 TR, 3247 Law.

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.


Medical History and Bioethics 919:
Disaster and Catastrophe in the Modern World

Instructor: Richard Keller

This graduate seminar focuses on the historical and contemporary dimensions of disaster and catastrophe in the modern world. It explores the coupling of human and natural systems through a concentration on intersections between natural and human-made hazards and disasters. The course examines such “natural” disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and heat waves, but also industrial catastrophes such as the Bhopal and Chernobyl explosions. The focus is principally on acute rather than chronic disasters and degradation. The seminar provides an introduction to an expanding humanities and social science literature on disaster. Students are required to participate actively in discussions and to produce an original research paper on a related topic.

Crosslisted with History of Science

3 cr.; Graduate, advanced

1:15-3:15 W

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.


Medical History and Bioethics 999:
Advanced Independent Study

Instructor: Staff

To be arranged with instructor.

Not cross-listed

1-3 cr.; A (Advanced)

Time to be arranged

Prerequisites: Grad stdts who have the Masters or equiv, or Postdoc fellows who wish to undertake an independent research project.

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