Most courses are open to medical students. For more information, please get in touch with the individual faculty
Undergraduate CoursesHSHM 008a/HUMS 090a, HISTORY OF SCIENTIFIC MEDICINE. Sherwin Newland,
The development of scientific medicine traced from classical antiquity to the dawning of the modern biomedical era. Focus on the biographies of major contributors and on cultural and intellectual currents affecting discovery. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required.
HSHM 211a, CATASTROPHE AND THE EARTH SCIENCES SINCE 1850. William Rankin, TTh 11:35-12:25
The geological, atmospheric, and environmental sciences, from national resource surveys to global warming. We will focus on four major questions: the history and future of the earth, the exploitation and conservation of resources, predicting and influencing the weather, and the earth as home. Important themes include debates between science and religion, the role of science in government, oceanic and international cooperation, and the social-political importance of prediction, modeling, and incomplete evidence.
HSHM 235a, EPIDEMICS AND SOCIETY IN THE WEST SINCE 1600. Frank Snowden, MW 10:30-11:20
The impact of epidemic diseases such as bubonic plague, cholera, malaria, and AIDS on society, public health, and the medical profession in comparative and international perspective. Popular culture and mass hysteria, the mortality revolution, urban renewal and rebuilding, sanitation, the germ theory of disease, the emergence of scientific medicine, and debates over the biomedical model of disease.
HSHM 452a, MEDICATING THE MIND: PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY AMERICA. Sally Romano, Th 1:30-3:20
An examination of the history of psychotropic medications in America, from the introduction of amphetamine in the 1930s through the meteoric, if unsettling, rise of Prozac in the 1990s. Using a case study approach, this seminar will explore the development, introduction and trajectory of antipsychotics, the antidepressants, the mood stabilizers and the stimulants. Major topics include (1) the social and cultural context in which these medications were developed, utilized, and, more often than not, criticized; (2) the relationship between the Psychiatric profession and psychotropic medications; (3) the role of the pharmaceutical industry in drug creation and in influencing medical and popular attitudes toward mental illness and its treatment.
HSHM 202a, HSHM 634a, MEDIA AND MEDICINE IN MODERN AMERICA. John Warner, Gretchen Berland, TTh 10:30-11:20
An exploration of the relationships among medicine, health, and the media in the United States from 1880 through the present. Focus on newspapers, magazines, professional journals, advertising, exhibitions, radio, film, television, and the internet; and on interactions among researchers, health professions, medical and public health institutions, journalists, advocacy organizations, the state, industry, and the public. Topics include the changing role of the media in shaping conceptions of the body; creating new diseases; influencing health and health policy; crafting the image of the medical profession; informing expectations of medicine and constructions of citizenship; and the medicalization of American life.
HSHM 701a, PROBLEMS IN THE HISTORY OF MEDICINE AND PUBLIC HEALTH. John Harley Warner, M 1:30-3:20
An examination of the variety of approaches to the social, cultural, and intellectual history of medicine, focusing on the United States. Reading and discussion of the recent scholarly literature on medical cultures, public health, and illness experiences from the early national period through the present. Topics include the role of gender, class, ethnicity, race, religion, and region in the experience of health care and sickness and in the construction of medical knowledge; the interplay between lay and professional understandings of the body; the role of the marketplace in shaping professional identities and patient expectations; citizenship, nationalism, and imperialism; and the visual culture of medicine.
HSHM 707a, IMPACT OF EPIDEMIC DISEASE IN CONTEXT: FOCUS ON ASIA. William Summers, T 1:30-3:20
This course will bring historical geopolitical, medical, and public health perspectives to bear on the study of specific epidemics, with a focus on Asia. Case studies will include major epidemics such as cholera in the Philippines and plague in Manchuria in the early 20th century, the story of Japan's biological warfare Unit 731 in World War II, recurrent influenza pandemics, and more recently, Nipah virus outbreaks in Malaysia, SARS in China, and Pneumonic plague in Gujarat, India.
HSHM 708a, THE BODY IN SCIENCE AND ART. Paola Bertucci, W 1:30-3:20
This course explores the history of the representations of the human body in science and art. It discusses recent literature on the role of the body in experimental practices.
HSHM 201b/HIST 233b, THE CULTURES OF WESTERN MEDICINE: A HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION. Sally Romano, MW 10:30-11:20
A survey of medical thought, practice, institutions, and practitioners from classical antiquity to the present. Changing concepts of health and disease in Europe and America explored in their social, cultural, economic, scientific, technological, and ethical contexts.
HSHM 206b, FRANKLIN TO FACEBOOKS: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE UNITED STATES. Daniel Kevles, MW 1:30-2:20
The development of science and technology in American society from the Colonial period through the late twentieth century. The rise of the United States to world-class scientific and technological power; the American scientific community and the tensions it has faced in a democratic society; the role of science and technology in exploration, agriculture, industry, national defense, religion, culture, and social change.
HSHM 226b, NATURE, ART AND SCIENCE IN EARLY MODERN EUROPE. Paola Bertucci, TTh 11:35-12:25
The course explores the changing relationship between the natural world and the arts from Leonardo to Newton. Topics covered: the Scientific Revolution, Renaissance anatomy and astronomy, alchemy and natural history.
HSHM 422b, CARTOGRAPHY, TERRITORY, IDENTITY. William Rankin, T 1:30-3:20
An exploration of how maps shape our assumptions about territory, land, sovereignty, and identity. Topics include the relationship between scientific cartography and conquest, the geography of statecraft, religious cartographies, encounters between western and non-western cultures, and reactions to cartographic objectivity. Readings are drawn widely from the history of cartography from the seventeenth century to the present, including recent critical studies of maps' relationship to power and activism. Students will make maps of their own, but no prior design or graphics skills are required.
HSHM 443b, DEFINING DISEASE: ILLNESS IN AMERICAN SOCIETY. Sally Romano, Th 1:30-3:20
Disease is central to the history of medicine. Disease shapes and is shaped by medical knowledge and practice, public policy, cultural values, and individual experience. Using a series of case studies, this seminar will examine how disease has been defined, responded to, experienced, and understood in different historical contexts.
HSHM 448b, AMERICAN MEDICINE AND THE COLD WAR. Naomi Rogers, T 9:30-11:20
Examination of the social, cultural and political history of American medicine, focusing on the period 1945-1960. Topics include the defeat of national health insurance; racism in health care, including "separate but equal" hospital policy; patient activism especially among mental health and leprosy inmates; the role of gender in defining medical professionalism and family health; rise of atomic medicine; McCarthyism in medicine; and the polio vaccine trials and the making of science journalism.
HSHM 462b, SCIENCE AND DRAMA. Bettyann Kevles, T 1:30-3:20
Themes in science, technology, and medicine as they have figured in twentieth-century plays written and produced in the United States and Europe. Fictive treatments compared with historical reality. Playwrights include Ibsen, Brecht, Capek, Frayn, Stoppard, Margaret Edson, and Cassandra Medley.
HSHM 242b, HSHM 640b, MOLECULES, LIFE, AND DISEASE IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. William Summers, TTh 10:30-11:20
This course explores the transformation of the life sciences in the twentieth century. It focuses on the rise of molecular biology and its understanding of life and disease. It shows how and why the molecular vision on life has achieved such a high level of scientific authority and social legitimacy. It emphasizes the relationship of this transformation to broader intellectual, social, cultural, and political change.
HSHM 676b, THE ENGINEERING AND OWNERSHIP OF LIFE, Daniel Kevles, W 3:30-5:20
The seminar explores the history of intellectual innovation and intellectual property protection in living matter. Focusing on the United States in world context, it examines arrangements outside the patent system as well as within it. Topics include agriculture, medicine, biotechnology, and law. May be taken as a reading or research course. Open to undergraduates with permission of the instructor.
HSHM 702b, PROBLEMS IN THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE. William Rankin, M 1:30-3:20
Close study of recent secondary literature in the history of the physical and life sciences. An inclusive overview of the emergence and diversity of scientific ways of knowing, major scientific theories and methods, and the role of science in politics, capitalism, war, and everyday life. Discussions will focus on historians' different analytic and interpretive approaches.
HSHM 709b, SCIENCE AND SECRECY. Paola Bertucci, T 1:30-3:20
From the medieval "books of secrets" to the Manhattan Project, secrecy has been part of scientific and technological activities. The seminar explores the changing meaning of secrecy in relation to science, technology, and medicine.
HSHM 744b, READINGS IN ENVIRONMENTAL HISTORY. Paul Sabin, M 1:30-3:20
Reading and discussion of key works in environmental history. The course explores major forces shaping human-environment relationships, such as markets, politics, and ecological dynamics, and compares different approaches to writing about social and environmental change.
HSHM 745b, HISTORY OF HEALTH ACTIVISM. Naomi Rogers, W 1:30-3:20
This research seminar will introduce students to current historical debates around health activism. Topics will include progressive and conservative ideologies; debates around welfare and entitlements; gender and reproductive rights; medical professionalism; and health activism as a social movement. Research will be focused on holdings in Yale libraries.