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Courses for Fall 2015

Medical History and Bioethics 212:
Bodies, Diseases, and Healers: An Introduction to the History of Medicine

Instructor: Thomas Broman

General Description: This course presents an introductory survey of the history of medicine from Antiquity to the 20th Century, and is aimed primarily at students interested in careers in the health professions. It explains how the understanding of health and illness has evolved in Western culture, showing why particular ideas of illness came into dominance at different moments in history. Most importantly, by providing the “long perspective” on the history of medicine, the course challenges some widely held assumptions about how the advancement of science has contributed to modern medicine.

The historical survey is divided into four units, each of which is based in a different view of the body. The first unit, called “The Humoral Body” explains the exceptionally flexible ideas of illness and its causes that were first developed in the ancient world and persisted for many centuries until well past 1700. Some of the ideas first developed in humoral medicine, such as the intimate interactions between the body and its environment, are still with us today. The second unit, called “The Anatomical-Morphological Body,” examines the body as a collection of discrete parts which perform particular functions in the body’s overall economy. This anatomical view of the body also developed in the ancient world, although anatomically based approaches to the study of illness really only became influential in the 1700s and 1800s. The third unit, “The Infected Body,” looks at how illness first came to be seen not merely as something affecting individuals, but also as something having important consequences for society as a whole. This kind of thinking first emerged in the wake of the Black Death in 14th-century Europe, and it was important in the development of the Germ Theory of Disease in the latter part of the 19th century. Finally, the fourth unit of the course will look at “The body normalized and measured,” an appropriate label for medicine in the 20th century, when physicians developed the idea that seemingly no one’s health could be maintained without incessant medical attention and supervision. Needless to say, this is the view of health and illness that persists in our own time. In this unit we also consider how health has become something that can be purchased like any other consumer product, as for example in the case of plastic surgery to correct minor flaws in one’s appearance.

Course Requirements: Aside from attendance in discussion sections, the basic requirement for the course consists of a mixture of three take-home essays, ranging from three to seven pages, which are based in the readings and meant to illustrate the major issues in each unit. Discussion sections may also feature some shorter and more informal writing assignments.

Texts: Xeroxed course reader.

Crosslisted with History of Science

3 credits; H (Humanities), E (Elementary) Counts for Liberal Arts and Science credit in L&S; Open to Freshmen

Monday/Wednesday 9:55 - 10:45 am, plus a discussion section

Prerequisites: Open to Freshmen. For honors credit con reg in Hist Sci/Hist Med 284 or cons instructor.


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

Instructor: Susan E. Lederer

This course focuses on medicine and health care in 20th century America. The course addresses, among other topics, why and how the United States developed our current health care system. In so doing, we will consider the changes in both preventative medicine (vaccines, fluoridation) and in medical therapy (especially penicillin and other antibiotics) that transformed the experience of health care and the expectations about what medical science could and should do. Other topics include the rise of hospitals, the changing face of the American medical and nursing professions, development of new technologies (x-rays, telephones, etc), debates 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)

Tuesday/Thursday 11:00 am - 12:15 pm

Prerequisites: Open to Freshmen.


Medical History and Bioethics 284:
The Physician in History - Honors

Instructor: Thomas Broman

This course is a one-credit honors option that accompanies Hist. Sci./Med. Hist. 212, (“Bodies Diseases, and Healers”). By signing up for this course and registering simultaneously for honors in 212, you will receive 4 credits of honors course work. Because we meet in a seminar-type discussion format, enrollment is limited to eighteen.

The theme for 284 in 2015 will be “Plagues in History.” Through readings extending from Antiquity to recent coverage of the ebola epidemic in West Africa, we will begin by examining the origins of the concept of a “plague” in Biblical literature as well as in historical writings of ancient Greece. From there we will look at how the concept of plague has been constantly reinforced over many centuries, retaining a core set of key features even as it has also been applied to new outbreaks of disease and to new historical events such as the Holocaust. In all of this our focus will be on the question of what constitutes an event as a plague, as opposed to an epidemic or other outbreak of disease.

Requirements: 1) Regular attendance at weekly meetings and preparation for them by doing readings beforehand; 2) Three or more short essays (about 250-350 words) of the “reading response” type; and 3) a final 5-6 page essay on recent concepts of plague or a topic of the student’s choice, to be worked out in consultation with the instructor.

Readings: Readings include a course reader that will be available from L&S Social Science Copy Center in August, Connie Willis Doomsday Book (an award winning sci-fi novel on the Black Death of the fourteenth century), Albert Camus The Plague (a famous allegory about the Holocaust from the late 1940s), and Randy Shilts And the Band Played On (a history of the AIDS epidemic in the late 1970s and 1980s).

Crosslisted with History of Science

1 credit; H (Humanities), E (Elementary)

Wednesday 11:00 - 11:50 am

Prerequisites: Concurrent registration for honors in Hist Sci/Hist Med 212 or cons inst. Open to freshmen.


Medical History and Bioethics 333:
History of Modern Biology

Instructor: Lynn K. Nyhart

As many of you have probably experienced, “biology” is a very broad category covering many different ways of knowing living nature. This year, we will survey four different traditions in history of the life sciences since the 18th century--natural historical, agricultural, biomedical, and biophysical. We will focus on some “classics” and “game-changers” in the history of biology, and seek to put them in their broader scientific and social contexts. Such works will likely include: Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle, Mendel’s pea-plant experiments, Claude Bernard’s Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine, and Erwin Schroedinger’s What is Life?

General requirements: Because this course revolves in good part around discussion, its success depends on its participants’ having read the material carefully and being willing to talk about it. We will read both ‘primary sources’ (scientific writings by participants) and ‘secondary sources’ (writings by historians and scientists reflecting on and analyzing what happened). The reading load for any given week (2 sessions) will range from 100 pages to a (shortish) book.

Undergraduate writing requirements: two take-home essay exams (4-5 pages) and a final paper (7-9 pages). For the final paper, students may choose between an exam-question style essay discussing a broad question provided by the professor or a research paper, the topic chosen in consultation with the professor. Students taking the course for Honors credit will write both a final essay and a research paper. Some class sessions may be devoted to workshopping take-home essays and/or presentations of research. Graduate writing requirements: 20+ pages of scholarly prose (4-5 book reviews, a bibliographic or historiographical essay to prepare for prelims, a research paper, a dissertation proposal) as determined by your individual needs. Graduate students will meet separately from undergrads to discuss additional readings from a historiographic perspective.

Crosslisted with History of Science.

3 credits. H (Humanities), D (Intermediate or Advanced)

Tuesday/Thursday 9:30 - 10:45 am

Prerequisites: Junior Status or Consent of instructor.


Medical History and Bioethics 505:
Justice and Health Care

Instructor: J. Paul Kelleher

This course investigates ongoing debates in moral and political philosophy over the nature, source, and shape of social obligations to provide health care coverage to those within a nation’s borders. For the first part of the course, our main task is to understand and evaluate the health care-related implications entailed by currently prominent accounts of social and distributive justice. We will then consider the moral implications of health disparities facing traditionally marginalized sub-populations. Finally, we will investigate the nature, justifiability, and methods of health care rationing, which many believe to be an unavoidable requirement of the near-universally shared goal of health care cost containment.

Crosslisted with Philosophy

3 credits; H (Humanities) A (Advanced)

Tuesday/Thursday 1:00 - 2:15 pm

Prerequisites: Must have Junior standing or higher. Includes graduate and professional careers. Excludes university specials and guests.


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

Instructor: Pablo F. Gomez

This course examines the history of healing practices in the Western World from antiquity to the 18th century. Students will examine continuities and changes in ideas about illness and health, and the position of healers and health institutions, within larger social and cultural structures in particular historical periods. We will focus on the characteristics of patient-healer relationships and cultural, legal and social perceptions and definitions of body normativity, health and disease in the diverse societies covered under the “Western” rubric.

Cross-listed with History and History of Science

3 credits, H (Humanities), I (Intermediate)

Tuesday/Thursday 1:00 - 2:15 pm

Prerequisites: Must have Junior standing or higher. Includes graduate and professional careers. Excludes university specials and guests.


Medical History and Bioethics 531:
Women and Health in American History

Instructor: Judith A. Houck

Women’s relationship to medical institutions, constructions of disease, and their own bodies differs from that of men. This course examines historically the health issues women have faced and how those issues have differed according to race and class. In particular, it explores the personal experiences and the medical views of women’s life-cycle events, the role of women as health care providers and activists, and the effect of gender on the perception and meaning of illness.

Crosslisted with Gender/Women’s Studies and History of Science

3 credits. Biological Science. Counts toward the Natural Science required. Counts for Liberal Arts and Science credit in L&S. Intermediate.

Tuesday/Thursday 9:30-10:45 am

Prerequisites: Junior status or higher (including graduate and professional careers). Excludes university Special and Guest students.


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 credit; Counts for Liberal Arts and Science credit in L&S. Advanced

Wednesday 3:30 - 5:25 pm

Prerequisites: Consent of instructor.


Medical History and Bioethics 550:
Topics: Medical Technologies in Historical Perspective

Instructor: Dayle DeLancey

From stethoscopes to He-La cells, medicine’s technological innovations are often among the most novel and controversial aspects of contemporary society. Yet, history reveals that neither the emergence of high-profile medical technologies nor the dilemmas that often accompany their arrival are strictly ‘modern-day’ phenomena. History also demonstrates that such technologies tend to reflect not only the medical science, but also the social concerns, of the periods in which they have emerged. In this course, we will explore the ways in which a range of technologies – e.g. stethoscopes, spirometers, sphygmomanometers, vaccines, hospital design, x-rays, ultrasound, computerized record-keeping, pharmaceuticals, reproductive technologies, gene therapy, artificial hearts and kidneys, virtual medicine, etc. – have at once shaped medicine and invited critique. Using readings from a range of sources that illuminate key medical technologies in the 18th- to 21st-century U.S., we will analyze these technologies in historical, social, and theoretical context. Questions guiding our work will include: What are the historical roots of significant medical technologies? How did these technologies change medical practice?

Crosslisted with History of Science

3 credits; Counts for Liberal Arts and Science credit in L&S. Advanced

Tuesday/Thursday 2:30 - 3:45 pm

Prerequisites: Must have Junior standing or higher. Includes graduate and professional careers. Excludes University special and guest students.


Medical History and Bioethics 559:
Climate Change Ethics

Instructor: J. Paul Kelleher

This course uses philosophical methods to explore central ethical issues raised by climate change. Our two driving questions are (1) Why is climate change an ethical problem?, and (2) What would constitute an ethically defensible response to it? To make headway in answering these questions, we will consider more specifically: whether (and why) we have duties to future generations; whether dominant economic evaluations of climate change are ethically problematic (including whether it is permissible to discount the moral importance of future harms and benefits); whether and how human rights bear on the assignment of climate change-related duties; whether the pattern of historical emissions is relevant to the assignment of such duties; how the current state of global economic development should bear on the assignment of climate change-related duties; whether geoengineering is a permissible response to the climate problem; and whether and how adaptation should figure in the response to climate change.

Not cross-listed

3 credits. Z (Either Humanities or Social Science), A (Advanced) Counts for Liberal Arts and Science credit in L&S

Tuesday/Thursday 9:30 - 10:45 am

Prerequisites: Must have Junior standing or higher or consent of instructor. Includes graduate and professional careers. Excludes university specials and guests.


Medical History and Bioethics 561:
Greek and Roman Medicine and Pharmacy

Instructor: John Scarborough

Greek and Roman medicine and drug lore from the Pre-Socratics to Oribasius (c. 600 B.C. - A.D. 350), including the backgrounds of ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian medicine.

Crosslisted with History of Science, History, Classics, and S&A Pharm.

3 credits; Humanities. Counts for Liberal Arts and Science credit in L&S. Intermediate or Advanced

Tuesday/Thursday 2:30 - 3:45 pm

Prerequisites: Must have Junior standing or DPH or TOX.


Medical History and Bioethics 699:
Independent Study in Medical History

Instructor: Staff

To be arranged with instructor.

Not cross-listed

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

Time to be arranged

Prerequisites: Jr st and cons instr.


Medical History and Bioethics 734-002:
Graduate Studies in Medical Ethics:
Disclosing and Enclosing Information: Ethical and Social Dilemmas

Instructor: Linda Hogle

This seminar is a companion course to the research theme “Disclosing and Enclosing: the Paradoxes of Information Flow in Knowledge Economies” www.sts.wisc.edu/disclosingenclosing. The course deals with the way scientists, policy-makers, ethicists, laypersons, and advocacy groups alike attempt to manage the flow of facts, techniques, and materials by sequestering or sharing them. Yet despite their best efforts at controlling the distribution of knowledge, there are also unanticipated leaks, diversions, revelations and demands for transparency. The ‘right to know’ may also come into direct conflict with intended ‘protections,’ as demonstrated by controversies over the need for privacy of personal health information versus the need to access it for research purposes, the move toward open science versus intellectual property regimes, controversies over the surveillance of everyday citizen activities by consumer data brokers or governments, or the suppression of data for political purposes. Topics will range across many uses of information in science and technology but will focus largely on medicine and bioscience as examples. This interdisciplinary course will employ historical, social and governance literatures embedded in Science and Technology Studies theories and will be of interest to advanced students working on projects on data security, the political nature of information archives, the history of medical surveillance, social and legal concepts of privacy and anonymity in science, technology and medicine, and more.

Crosslisted with STS 903

3 credits

Wednesday 9 - 11 am

Prerequisites: Grad st or cons inst.


Medical History and Bioethics 999:
Advanced Independent Study

Instructor: Staff

Not cross-listed

1-3 credits

Time to be arranged

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

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