Introduction to Medical Humanities: Disease Narratives Department of English
Stanford University, Fall 2021
How do we know sickness from health? How can you tell if a treatment works? Symptoms and biomarkers abound, yet much of the work of medicine is narrative. EKGs must be read. X-rays interpreted. Patient tell their histories, and the care team writes their notes and treatment plans. Narratives shape our experience of illness, and the larger social structures that produce and attempt to cure it. This class uses narratives of disease to introduce students to the critical medical humanities. The syllabus is divided into three units based on the etiology of the diseases examined. In each unit, we will read a longer work (a novel, a play, and a collection of essays) and a series of shorter critical texts. Our goal is to put these works in conversation with each other and to distill the power of narrative across different forms and genres of knowledge production. In this class students will learn how to analyze and compose different narrative forms (academic essays, journalistic articles, podcasts, etc.) as distinct from their content. Students will also gain knowledge of the social determinants of health and the biological mechanisms of illness, and experience writing, speaking, and producing digital content.
Health and Social Equity: Pandemic Inequalities Graduate Seminar in Medical and Health Humanities
Drew University, Summer 2021
This course takes the Covid-19 pandemic as a necessary occasion for studying health and social equity, in the US and globally. Disparities in health outcomes during pandemic have revealed the extent of structural inequity in our healthcare systems. While the social determinants of health are many and complex, in this class we will focus on race, gender, ability, and class. We will read recent works of scholarship that will allow us to place our own experiences of Covid-19 and its attendant inequalities in historical and cultural perspective. The goal of this seminar is for you to participate in contemporary scholarly conversations in the medical humanities on the relationship between health and social equity.
Pandemics and Plagues Departments of English and Journalism
New York University, Spring 2021
How have writers, scientists, artists, philosophers, musicians, performers and playwrights, and citizens responded to the outbreak of disease across the centuries and around the world? What kinds of stories, narratives and archives have shaped artistic, medical and governmental responses and popular memory? This course will provide students with the opportunity to engage with humanistic inquiry into health, disease, and medicine at a time when they are personally experiencing a global pandemic. This course will also bring together researchers from various fields to present and discuss their work, including the diverse perspectives of medical practitioners, frontline healthcare workers, philosophers and ethicists, journalists, writers, artists and performers, and scholars engaging with the field of Medical Humanities. Our case studies will include: the bubonic plague and the Renaissance; forgotten diseases and childhood mortality; the 1918 “Spanish” Flu, war and modern culture; HIV/AIDS, performance and protest in New York City; SARS, Ebola and globalization; and healthcare workers and the global COVID pandemic. This course will engage a rich array of materials and approaches by focusing on themes like plagues in literature, racialized and gendered responses to pandemics, war and pandemics, trauma and recovery, the media reporting of pandemics, historical plagues, film and visual representations, philosophy and ethics, front line stories, archives and memory.
American Epidemics Freshman Seminar, College Core Curriculum
New York University, Spring 2021
From colonial ailments to global pandemics, disease has shaped the United States. This course places the coronavirus outbreak of 2019/2020 in historical perspective, examining the wide-ranging effects of contagious disease in American life, literature, and culture. Together we will seek to understand epidemics as biological forces and social events. Beginning with the metaphor of "invisible bullets" that the Algonquin peoples of the Chesapeake Bay used to describe settler colonial diseases, the class will trace the history of the nation through epidemics, addressing the social and political impact of a different disease each week. We will read historical accounts, critical texts, and literary works; listen to podcasts, watch films, observe art, and explore online archives. Students will learn to approach disease as an object of humanistic inquiry, and examine intersectional questions of race, gender, colonial power, economic privilege, and national belonging through medical history. We will find strategies for critiquing and comprehending the inequities and anxieties of the present through moments of biological crisis in America.
Healthcare Ethics Department of History, Philosophy, and Anthropology
York College of the City University of New York, Spring 2020
This course examines ethical issues embedded in the organization, practice, and delivery of healthcare in the United States. Special emphasis is placed on the experience of healthcare providers, patients, and families. Students learn the key principles of biomedical ethics – autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, justice – and examine their application in real world situations. Video lectures from the second half of the semester are available on YouTube.
Theories of Reproduction Freshman Seminar, College Core Curriculum
New York University, Spring 2020
What does the printing press have to do with condoms? Photography with the human genome project? This course examines theories of reproduction in literary, philosophical, and scientific thought. A necessary condition for biological life and a fundamental mechanism for understanding mass culture, reproduction connects human sexuality to the history of technology and the life sciences to the debates of cultural politics. Over the semester we will draw connections between disparate theories of visual reproduction, audio reproduction, textual reproduction, human reproduction, and historical reproduction. We will examine ideas of birth control and eugenics in the context of memes and photocopies, situating the issues of sexual politics and reproductive rights in a wider cultural history of reproduction, and using alternate theoretical paradigms to reframe contemporary political debates. Students will learn to apply an interdisciplinary approach to the historical construction of biological categories including race, gender, and sexuality.
Media and Cultural Analysis Department of Media Culture and Communications
New York University, Fall 2017
Media and Cultural Analysis is a methods course for MCC majors. It provides a broad overview of the theories and methodologies of media critique, focusing on the dominant perspectives that have contributed to our contemporary understanding of mediated communication. This course will equip students with the basic vocabulary and fundamental concepts used in the criticism of different types of media. Throughout the course, students will engage objects of study through the forms of close reading, archival research, data analysis, and ethnography. At the end of the course, students will have developed a sense of the compass of media and cultural studies; they will be able to select, remix, and apply different techniques and methods for analyzing media, culture, and communication.