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Courses for Fall 2018

Medical History and Bioethics 132:
Bees, Trees, Germs, and Genes: A History of Biology

Instructor: Lynn Nyhart

How did today’s biology emerge out of the diverse traditions of agriculture and natural history (bees and trees, biomedicine and molecular biology, germs and genes) that stretch back into the eighteenth century? In this course, we examine classic texts and “game-changes” in the history of biology, putting them into broader scientific and social contexts to see how these different ways of knowing intertwined, competed, and yielded novel approaches to the study of life that still shape today’s life sciences.

Cross listed with History and History of Science

3 credits; S (Social Science) E (Elementary) Liberal Arts and Science credit in L&S

Monday/Wednesday 1:20 - 2:10 pm and discussion sections

Prerequisites: Open to Freshmen.


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

Instructor: Travis Weisse

A survey of different conceptions of how the body as a site of sickness has been understood from Antiquity to contemporary medicine. Includes consideration of the origins and evolution of public health, the changing social role of healers, and the emergence of the modern “standardized” body in health and illness.

Cross listed with History of Science

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

Monday/Wednesday 8:50 - 9:40 am, plus a discussion section

Prerequisites: Open to Freshmen.


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 11:00 am - 12:15 pm

Prerequisites: Open to Freshmen.


Medical History and Bioethics 525:
Health and the Humanities

Instructor: Jenell Johnson

Explores how a humanistic perspective can broaden our understanding of health and medicine. Specifically, we will examine the role of language and culture in the creation and circulation of biomedical knowledge; our lived experiences with illness (physical and mental); the intricate intersections of race, gender, sexuality, disability and medicine; the political dimensions of diagnosis, disease, and epidemics, and the role that fiction, creative non-fiction, comics, and film play in shaping our experiences with health and medicine as health care providers and as patients. The course does not assume any background in science or medicine. One of our recurrent topics, in fact, will be to consider how non-experts interact with medicine and its technical vocabularies. Although the primary objective of the course is to understand the cultural, social, and political dimensions of health and medicine, a secondary objective is for students to become more savvy patients and, for the few students who might emerge on the other side of the stethoscope one day, more well-rounded health care professionals.

Cross-listed with English and History of Science

3 cr.; H Humanities, C (counts for L&S), A (Advanced)

Tuesday/Thursday 2:30 - 3:45 pm

Prerequisites: Declared in Health and the Humanities Certificate.


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

Instructor: Judith A. Houck

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. 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?

Cross-listed History of Science and with Gender and Women’s Studies

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

Tuesday/Thursday 9:30 - 10:45 am

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


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

Instructor: Norman Fost

This course will explore and examine the core ethical issues in clinical research, regulations governing clinical investigation, and the role of good clinical practice for clinical trials. Participants 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, including the pending changes to the Common Rule.

Not cross-listed

1 credit; Advanced

Wednesdays, 4:00 - 6:00 pm. Class will be held in G5/152 CSC

Prerequisites: Consent of instructor.


Medical History and Bioethics 565:
The Ethics of Modern Biotechnology

Instructor: Robert K. Streiffer

Study of ethical issues arising from the application of modern biotechnology (including genetic engineering, CRISPR/CAS9, cloning and stem cells) to microorganisms, crops, animals, and humans. Readings cover applied ethics, moral theory, political philosophy, the science used in biotechnology, and current regulations governing its use.

Cross-listed with Agronomy, Philosophy, and Community and Environmental Sociology

3 cr.; Humanities. Counts for Liberal Arts and Science credit in L&S. I Intermediate.

Tuesday/Thursday 2:30 - 3:45 pm

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


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

Instructors: Linda F. Hogle and Krishanu Saha

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.

This is a classroom course that will meet interactively online with other universities in real-time.

Not cross-listed

3 cr., A (Advanced)

Wednesdays; 1:20 – 3:15 pm

Prerequisites: Graduate or Professional Student. Please note: All students must have consent of instructor to enroll.


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 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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