Health and Disease in the Southwest

Focusing on diseases, practitioners, institutions, and patients, this course will explore and produce the history of medicine in the American Southwest. Beginning with the devastating illnesses brought to the area by the Europeans in the 16th century and ending with contemporary medical issues facing the region, the course will investigate the particular social, ethnic, political, geographic, environmental, and economic challenges faced by the many communities in the Southwest. We will examine traditional native practices, western medical advances, the role of the government in protecting the public’s health, and the intersections and conflicts between the three.

History of the Body

This graduate seminar focuses on both analyzing recent scholarship in history of the body and building and improving skills in communication and research. In addition to reading and discussing texts, students will also engage in a variety of historical genres, all the while discussing such components as audience, purpose, and structure, as well as the utility of such exercises both inside and outside of academia. This course endeavors to provide students not only with particular skills necessary to succeed in academics, but also with strategies for utilizing traditional academic skills in broader contexts.

The History of Modern Medicine

This course surveys the history of medicine in the western world from 1700 to today. The basic aim of this course is to present several different ways of looking at health and illness by examining how they have been understood at different times in history. It explores a range of theories and practices employed by physicians, the social construction of disease, and the rise and development of the medical profession in the western world. The course demonstrates how, in addition to medical knowledge, shifting social and cultural values have motivated change in thinking about health.

The History of Reproduction

This course examines the social, historical, and political issues surrounding reproductive medicine and technologies. It explores the ways in which medicine  has intersected with cultural constructs of gender, sexuality, class, and race to produce ways of controlling the reproducing body, both male and female. By exploring procedures and artifacts of the past two hundred years, we investigate how these technologies and this medicine have been used to conform to, subvert, and expose social norms about reproduction.

United States of Germs

This course will examine the impact of infectious epidemic disease on Americans and their history, from smallpox and yellow fever to influenza and AIDS. We will investigate how epidemic diseases have helped to shape national identity through public health, war, and immigration. Who gets sick? How do we know who is sick? How do diseases travel? What is an epidemic? How to race, gender, and class affect our understandings of disease outbreaks? Themes to be addressed include: the role of disease in the early depopulation of the Americas; the relationship between contagion and social upheaval; the effects of urbanization; the place of doctors, public health workers, politicians, and patients; prejudice and infection; the ethics of quarantine; the tension between public good and individual rights; and the paradox of prevention.

Women and Health in American History

When did women’s health become about pink ribbons and baby bumps? How did the development of modern medicine both help and hurt women? This course examines the health issues women have faced and their responses to them from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries in the United States. In particular, it explores the personal experiences and the medical views of women’s life-cycle events, the role of women as health care practitioners and activists, and the effect of gender on the perception of illness.