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Courses for Spring 2018

Medical History and Bioethics 133:
Biology & Society, 1950-Today

Instructor: Nicole C. Nelson

From medical advancements to environmental crises and global food shortages, the life sciences are implicated in some of the most pressing social issues of our time. This course explores events in the history of biology from the mid-twentieth century to today, and examines how developments in this science have shaped and are shaped by society. In the first unit, we investigate the origins of the institutions, technologies, and styles of practice that characterize contemporary biology, such as the use of mice as “model organisms” for understanding human diseases. The second unit examines biological controversies such as the introduction of genetically modified plants into the food supply. The final unit asks how biological facts and theories have been and continue to be used as a source for understanding ourselves.

Crosslisted with History of Science

3 cr.; Z (either Humanities or Social Science), E (Elementary)

Monday/Wednesday 11:00 am

Prerequisites: None, open to Freshmen


Medical History and Bioethics 213:
Global Environmental Health: An Interdisciplinary Introduction

Instructor: Monica White

The course provides an introduction to the intersections of health and environment on a global scale. Exposes students to a range of problems in global environmental health, including climate change, disease ecology, and the globalization of disease.

Crosslisted with Environmental Studies

3 cr.; Z (Humanities or Social Science), E (Elementary)

Tuesday/Thursday 1:00 - 2:15 pm

Prerequisites: None


Medical History and Bioethics 275:
Science, Medicine and Race: A History

Instructor: Pablo Gomez

This course surveys the medical and scientific constructions of ideas about race and ethnicity since the eighteenth century. We will place the development of racial theories of sickness and health in a broad social and political context - and, in particular, explain the medical salience of race in the setting of slavery and colonialism. Discussions will focus primarily on North America and Europe, but will also explore the making of knowledge about race in global settings.

Crosslisted with Afro-American Studies, History of Science

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

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

Prerequisites: None, open to Freshmen


Medical History and Bioethics 508:
Health, Disease & Healing II

Instructor: Richard C. Keller

Medicine in Europe from the 18th century to mid-20th century, investigating changes in disease and demography, state interest in health care, the medical professions, and both scientific and alternative medical ideas.

Crosslisted with History and History of Science

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

Tuesday/Thursday 1:00 – 2:15 pm

Prerequisites: Must have Junior standing or Instructor consent. Includes graduate and professional careers. Graduate/Professional students must also enroll in Medical History and Bioethics 708


Medical History and Bioethics 558:
Ethical Issues in Health Care

Instructor: J. Paul Kelleher

This course offers a survey of ethical issues that arise within the context of modern medicine. Topics discussed may include: autonomy, informed consent, and the doctor-patient relationship; research involving human subjects; contraception and abortion; reproductive technologies and surrogacy; genetic screening; physician-assisted dying; the treatment (and non-treatment) of severely disabled newborns; and rationing and the allocation of scarce health care resources. The course will be conducted in a traditional lecture/discussion section format, with lectures delivered by bioethics experts from the UW-Madison community. Readings will be drawn from diverse disciplines but will routinely include articles from medical ethics, philosophy, history of medicine and science, legal scholarship, and judicial decisions.

Crosslisted with Philosophy and meets with Law

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

Tuesday 11:00 am - 12:15 pm, plus discussions

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


Medical History and Bioethics 699:
Independent Study in Medical History

Instructor: Staff

Not cross-listed

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

Time to be arranged

Prerequisites: Jr st & cons inst


Medical History and Bioethics 708:
Health, Disease & Healing II

Instructor: Richard C. Keller

Advanced readings in primary and secondary literature concerning medicine in Europe from the 18th century to mid-20th century, investigating changes in disease and demography, state interest in health care, and medical professions, and both scientific and alternative medical ideas.

Not cross-listed

1 cr.

Time to be arranged

Prerequisites: Graduate/Professional standing & concurrent registration in Medical History and Bioethics or History, or History of Science 508


Medical History and Bioethics 730:
Ethical Issues in Medicine

Instructor: J. Paul Kelleher

This course explores central ethical issues and tensions in public health and health policy. There will be eight interactive discussion sessions of 1.5 hours each over a 4-week period. We will begin with a session that explores the merits and hazards of thinking critically about difficult ethical issues. From there we have seven sessions on more specific ethical issues in population health. Potential topics include: the economic and moral considerations for and against government involvement in health care markets; the vexing question of whether citizens in advanced nations have strong duties to promote the health and well-being of the foreign poor; whether U.S. hospitals have duties to provide “uncompensated care” (read: free care) to undocumented immigrants, and whether these hospitals may ethically seek the deportation of undocumented individuals; alternative approaches to rationing health care; the perennial ethical tension between treating those in dire peril now and preventing the deaths of statistical victims in the future; personal responsibility for risky health behaviors and the government’s role in influencing health behaviors; and, finally, cutting-edge issues of exploitation in public health research trials.

Not cross-listed

1 cr.; Graduate, advanced

Tuesday 5:30 - 7:00 pm (meets March 6 through May 1)

Prerequisites: Limited to 4th year medical students


Medical History and Bioethics 919:
Graduate Studies) a in Medical History
Topic: Flesh and Metal: A History of Bodies, Race, Labor, and Capital

Instructor: Pablo Gomez

In this interdisciplinary graduate course, we will put in conversation recent literature on the history of the body, with histories of race, capitalism, labor, science, biomedicine, and public health. Departing from a well-developed historiography on the cultural and social history of the body, we will examine works that analyze how different societies from the early modern period onwards have developed methods for the quantification of human bodies, and the economic value of corporeality and its imagined labor output.

During the semester, we will pay particular attention to historiographical approaches to the question of how political economy, financial markets, and different economic models around the globe have transformed not only ideas about the body, but also its very materiality.

Among other topics, we will study historical examinations of the close relationships between the history of coerced labor - prominently slavery - and capitalism, as well as works focused on the effects of capitalist-embodied material culture on the production of new ways of being-in-the-world. We will also analyze how scholars in a variety of fields have grappled with the history of biomedical bodily quantification, corporeal commodification, racial capitalism, calculation of risk related to the human body, and uses of the value of racialized and gendered bodies in, for instance, financial transactions and public health studies.

Crosslisted with History of Science

3 credits. A (Advanced)

Wednesday 3:30 - 5:25 pm

Prerequisites: Graduate/Professional level and consent of instructor


Medical History and Bioethics 999:
Advanced Independent Study

Instructor: Staff

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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