Early operating theater

Courses for Fall 2009

Medical History and Bioethics 218:
History of Twentieth Century American Medicine

Instructor: Susan E. Lederer

In March, 2009 President Barack Obama called for an ambitious reform of the American health care system. This time, he insisted, "the call for reform is coming from the bottom up, from all across the spectrum from doctors, nurses and patients: unions and businesses; hospitals, healthcare providers and community groups. This time there is no debate about whether all Americans should have quality, affordable healthcare, the only question is, how?" This course addresses the question of how the United States developed its current health care system. In doing so, the course will focus on the changes in medical care and medical science over the course of the twentieth century, as well as the changing face of the medical profession and the institutions which deliver health care. Topics include advances in medical technology and therapy, the debate over national health insurance, the cultural authority of the medical profession, and media representations of doctors, nurses, patients and hospitals.

Crosslisted with History of Science

3 cr.; S (Social Science), C (L&S), E (Elementary);

11:00 - 12:15 TR

Open to Freshmen.


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

Instructor: Ronald Numbers

Health care in America since the colonial period; emphasis on social developments. Although the focus will be on the past, efforts will be made to relate the past to the present.

Crosslisted with History and History of Science

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

11:00 - 12:15 MW

Prerequisites: 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 2 to 3 take-home essay assignments, each of 5-15 pages in length.

Crosslisted with History of Science and with History

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

2:30-3:45 MW

Prerequisites: 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), C (L&S), I (Intermediate)

1:00-2:15 TR

Prerequisites: Jr st & cons inst. Graduate students registered in 509 must register concurrently in MHB 709.


Medical History and Bioethics 524:
Medical History of Sex and Sexuality

Instructor: Judith Houck

What causes homosexuality? Can frigidity in women best be cured by a pill, an analyst's couch, or sweeping social change? Are sexual psychopaths sick or criminal? What determines a person's sex? Are there therapeutic uses for sex toys?.

Over the course of the twentieth century medicine and biomedical science have become increasingly influential in the social and cultural lives of Americans. This course looks at the changing place of medicine in our public and private lives. We will be guided by five particular questions: How has medicine (and scientific authority) helped to define and control appropriate sexual behavior? How has medicine become involved in the definition and creation of sex? What do medical interventions reveal about social and cultural ideas of sex and sexuality? How do campaigns against sexual disease illuminate cultural judgments about social groups? How do boundaries defining appropriate sexual behavior also define appropriate sex/gender roles?

Crosslisted with History of Science and with Women's Studies

3 cr.; H (Humanities), C (L&S), I (Intermediate)

11:00 - 12:15 TR

Prerequisites: Prev history (incl med hist & hist sci) crse preferred.


Medical History and Bioethics 526:
Culture and Ethics of Body Modifications

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.

Not crosslisted

3 cr.; C (L&S), I (Intermediate)

1:00 - 2:15 TR

Prerequisites: So st or cons inst. Graduate students must register concurrently in MHB 726.


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

Instructor: Norman 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 668:
Health & Citizenship in Global Perspective

Instructor: Richard Keller

This seminar explores the relationship between health and citizenship. Among its key themes are the following questions: When did the link between health and human rights first emerge? How has it developed historically? What factors define citizenship? To what extent does physical and mental health constitute a gauge of enfranchisement and of one's access to power in the modern state? In what ways does the de facto absence of citizenship - in cases like those of migrant laborers, ethnic minorities, and colonial subjects - delimit the possibility of a human right to health? How have structural health inequities historically posed significant threats to global security? Such questions have been central to studies of the political economy of health and disease, anthropology, and area studies, but have been less apparent in historical research. This seminar, limited to 15 students, offers a key means for integrating these questions into an interdisciplinary approach to global health. The course will focus primarily on the development of the relationship between health and citizenship in modern Europe beginning with the French Revolution and through the rise of the welfare state before exploring the implications of ideas about health and human rights in a global context.

Not cross-listed

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

1:00 - 3:30 T

Prerequisites: 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

See MHB 509. 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 to be arranged

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


Medical History and Bioethics 726:
Culture and Ethics of Body Modifications

Instructor: Linda Hogle

See MHB 526. Ethical and cultural dimensions of chemical, surgical and biological therapeutics and enhancements to the human body. Explores body-altering technologies within cultural understandings of appearance, function, perception and identity.

Not cross-listed

1 cr.; Graduate basic

Time/Room TBA

Prerequisites: Grad st & con reg in Med Hist 526 or cons inst


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 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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