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Courses for Fall 2017

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 explores the understanding of health and illness 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 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.

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 five pages in length, which are based in the readings and designed to illustrate the major issues in each unit. Discussion sections may also feature some shorter and more informal writing assignments.

Texts: Xeroxed course reader.

Cross listed with History of Science

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

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

Prerequisites: Open to Freshmen. This course is not being offered for Honors fall 2017.


Medical History and Bioethics 231:
Introduction to Social Medicine

Instructor: Pablo Gomez

This interdisciplinary course will provide students with analytical tools for the critical examination of the social, cultural, political and economic determinants of health conditions and medical practice. It will use primary and secondary historical readings, media reports, films, ethnographic and medical case studies, material culture, and literature to introduce students to basic concepts of global health, bioethics, medical anthropology, and the history of biomedicine, public health and disease in the United States. The course will feature weekly invited lectures from a number of experts coming from the Medical History and Bioethics department. It will examine urgent topics such as the role that race, national origin, gender, sexuality, religion, socio economic status play in shaping ideas about disease, health and body normativity, and how they have modeled medical practice and public health policies. We will pay special attention to how these factors determine how patients and providers experience and ideate disease and treatment, and how they respond to specific health care policies. The course will make emphasis on the important role that conditions of structural violence and inequality play as determinants of health conditions in a globalized world.

Cross listed with Anthropology

3 credits. Z (Humanities or Social Science) E (Elementary)

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

Prerequisites: Open to Freshmen.


Medical History and Bioethics 505:
Justice and Health Care

Instructor: J. Paul Kelleher

This course investigates debates in moral and political philosophy concerning 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 prominent accounts of social and distributive justice and to evaluate their implications for health policy. We'll then consider the moral implications of health disparities facing traditionally marginalized sub-populations. Finally, we'll investigate various methods of health care rationing, which many believe to be an unavoidable requirement of the need to control health care costs.

Cross listed with Philosophy

3 credits. H (Humanities) A (Advanced)

Tuesday/Thursday 9:30 - 10:45 am

Prerequisites: Junior status or higher.


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

Instructor: Susan E. Lederer

What is public health and who is responsible for insuring the public health? If the state is responsible for public health, how far can the state go to insure the public welfare (and whose welfare counts)? Is there a way to reconcile the collective well-being with individual rights? This course considers the ways in which Americans have answered these questions from the colonial period through the twenty-first century. Using both primary documents and secondary sources, the course explores how American society has responded to both epidemic diseases (from smallpox to Zika) and to immigrants, how Americans have negotiated the challenges of the environment and the workplace, and how as a society we have considered the implications of such behavioral practices as cigarette smoking, wearing motorcycle helmets, and eating fast food for health outcomes. The course examines both the development of public health administrations (at the local, state and federal level) and the role of the legal system in promoting the public health of Americans.

Graduate students registered in 509 must register concurrently in MHB 709.

Crosslisted with History of Science

3 credits. B (Biological Science) I (Intermediate) Counts as LAS credit (L&S)

Monday/Wednesday 2:30 - 3:45pm

Prerequisites: Junior status or higher.


Medical History and Bioethics 553:
International Health and Global Society

Instructor: Richard C. Keller

Intense concern over the burgeoning of emerging infectious diseases–along with the renewed vigor of known epidemics-has heightened medical, media, and popular attention to the international dimensions of health in a globalizing society. Yet historians have long recognized the “microbial unification of the world” as a phenomenon that dates at least to the Black Death of the fourteenth century. Drawing on a wide range of historical and anthropological materials and methods, this course explores the history of public health and medicine as international phenomena, concentrating chiefly on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Specific topics include the connections between global pandemics such as cholera and plague to European colonial expansion; the rise of international aid organizations; historical and contemporary anxieties about global migration and the spread of disease; and the international dimensions of a global medical marketplace. Particular themes include the connection between culture and medical ideas and practices; and the tensions of practicing medicine in multi-cultural settings.

Graduate students registered in 553 must register concurrently in MHB 753.

Cross listed with History of Science and Population Health

3 credits. Z (Humanities or Social Science) I (Intermediate)

Monday/Wednesday 2:30 - 3:45 pm, plus a discussion section

Prerequisites: Must have Junior standing or higher.


Medical History and Bioethics 559:
Topics in Ethics and History of Medicine
Topic: Global Health and the Greater Good

Instructor: J. Paul Kelleher

What does it mean to speak of the “greater good” and how should that idea influence the aims and aspirations of global health movements? In this course we will engage with diverse sources--from philosophy to epidemiology, anthropology, and literature--to address this and many related questions. We will examine the ethical principles that have been said to underlie global health policies, and we will ask how concerns about global health should shape our daily choices. We will ask whether it is moral obligation to be an “effective altruist,” which is someone who is dedicated to giving a great deal to the most effective charities around the world. To what extent is it permissible to prioritize causes that are near to our hearts and houses, when that money could do more good if donated to an organization that does work half a world away? -- No prior knowledge of bioethics, philosophy, or global health is required.

Not cross-listed

3 credits.

Tuesday/Thursday 1:00 - 2:15 pm

Prerequisites: Must have Junior standing or higher.


Medical History and Bioethics 610:
Regenerative Medicine, Ethics and Society

Instructor: Linda F. Hogle

This course is designed to introduce graduate and upper-level undergraduate science, engineering, and medical students working in regenerative medicine research to the key ethical, policy and social issues relevant to the field. Primary scientific and policy documents will be used as resources as well as analyses of current social and political environments.

Topics include (among others): The history of legal & political disputes over embryonic stem cell research; understanding public responses & the media; responsible conduct of science for stem cell researchers ; treatments outside of clinical trials; social & ethical issues in translational research & commercialization.

NOTE: THIS COURSE IS TAUGHT AS A CONCENTRATED, SHORT COURSE (8 sessions). Counts for ethics credit for a number of graduate science programs (check first with your advisor).

Not cross-listed

Variable Credit Course 1-3 credits. Must have instructor consent to enroll for more than one credit.

Wednesday 4:00 - 6:00 pm; 8 sessions; September 6 through October 18, 2017

Prerequisites: Graduate or Professional Student.


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 709:
Development of Public Health in America

Instructor: Susan E. Lederer

This course for advanced students focuses on the recent historiography of American public health. See MHB 509.

Not cross-listed

1 cr.

Day/Time to be arranged

Prerequisites: Grad st & con reg in Medical Hist/Hist of Science 509.


Medical History and Bioethics 753:
International Health and Global Society

Instructor: Richard C. Keller

See MHB 553. Advanced readings in primary and secondary literature.

Graduate students taking 753 will concurrently enroll in 553.

Not cross-listed

1 credit

Day/Time to be arranged

Prerequisites: Graduate status and concurrent registration in Med Hist 553, or consent of instructor.


Medical History and Bioethics 919:
Gradate Studies in Medical History
Topic: Commodities and Disease

Instructor: Gregg Mitman

This seminar seeks to put historical scholarship on the global flows of capital, commodities, and disease in conversation with one another. Our temporal reach is expansive, from the shifting patterns of yellow fever accompanying the Atlantic slave trade to the global threat of avian influenza arising from factory farms and changing diets worldwide. We will consider a range of commodities—from cotton and coal to latex and blood—to name just a few, to ask what commodities, and associated diseases that accompanied them, can reveal about changing economic, material, political, and social relationships on the global stage. At the same time, we will interrogate the ways that changing ecological regimes of capital have altered and redistributed life—both human and non-human—and created new disease pathways. We will also attend to the different questions, methods, and forms of evidence that economic, environmental, and medical history bring to a consideration of such questions. This is a historiographic based seminar focused on readings and discussion. A sample of likely books include Sven Beckert’s Empire of Cotton (2014); Mike Davis’s The Monster at Our Door (2006); Gabrielle Hecht’s Being Nuclear (2014); Nancy Rose Hunt’s A Nervous State (2016); Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner’s Lead Wars (2013); Sidney Mintz’s Sweetness and Power (1986); John Soluri’s Banana Cultures (2006); and Brett Walker’s Toxic Archipelago (2009) among many other reading selections.

Crosslisted with History of Science 919 and meets with History 705

3 credits. A (Advanced)

Tuesday 1:00 - 3:30 pm

Prerequisites: Graduate / Professional Level status and consent of instructor.


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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