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Health & Wellbeing.

Fall 2017: Interdisciplinary Health Humanities
Spring 2018: Health Humanities Lab

Fall 2017: Interdisciplinary Health Humanities, ENG 394/REL 394, Tuesday/Thursday 12:00-1:15pm
  • Is health your accomplishment?
  • Is disease your responsibility?
  • And for that matter, what is health? How do we know it when we have it?
  • Can you be healthy in mind, but not in body or vice versa?
  • How does your community or your socio-economic status affect your health?
  • What is wellbeing and how is it shaped by individual and collective histories and identities?

This course is for you if you are inspired by these questions, regardless of your major field of study.

It may be of special interset to pre-health professions students who want to know more about the “whys” as well as the “hows” of healthcare practices, and to humanities majors or minors interested in health, the body, or pursuing a career in health or healthcare. These questions are central to the field of Health Humanities, an interdisciplinary area of study that words at the intersections of the biological and medical sciences and the humanities. Those working in this field are committed to the idea that we cannot address the challenges of providing healthcare and promoting wellbeing without knowing things about the way health and disease have been constructed and represented in literature and other media, the thical and philosophical horizons and histories of our current health practices, and the cultural contexts that constrain our very notions of health itself. Through readings in cultural studies of literature and other media, history of medicine, bioethics, disability studies, cross-cultural and global health, and related scholarly areas, the course will introduce students to some of the fundamental challenges and debates in this growing field.
Spring 2018: Health Humanities Lab, ENG 494/REL 494/WST 494, Monday/Wednesday 3:00-4:15pm
  • What does it mean to be healthy?
  • In what ways are diseases not simply biological facts, but social realities?
  • How would knowing the complex histories of hospitals change our understanding of treatment and diseases?
  • How do we research and promote health and wellbeing outside of hospitals and clinics, in communities and our everyday lives?

The academic field of health humanities poses questions like these in order to engage critically with conceptualizations of health, disease, and medicine.

Such quesitons require creative and interdisciplinary approaches to address them adequately. This course introduces students to a variety of disciplinary theoretical methodological tools for studying health, medicine, and healthcare by utilizing case studies, guest experts, and group work. Students will apply thse methodologies as they design interdiciplinary collaborative group projects that engage and critique contemporary questions and critical issues pertainng to health, medicine, and wellbeing.

Course Learning Outcomes

  • Compare different understandings of health, disease, wellbeing, and medicine.
  • Explain and critique the study of health and medicine.
  • Outline foundational questions in the humanistic study of health, healthcare, and medicine.
  • Identify contemporary issues in health research and determine the appropriate research methods for addressing and understanding these issues.
  • Design a collaborative research project that investigates health, medicine, and/or wellbeing through the applied use of humanistic methodologies and theoretical tools.

Instructional Team

Marlon Bailey Women and Gender Studies School of Social Transformation Co-leading Health Humanities Lab Spring 2018
Jason Bruner Religious Studies School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies Co-leading Health Humanities Lab Spring 2018
Cora Fox English Institute for Humanities Research Leading Health Humanities Lab Fall 2017