Current Courses

Most courses are open to medical students. For more information, please get in touch with the individual faculty

Fall 2013

Graduate Courses

HSHM 634a/AMST 879a/HIST 914a, Media and Medicine in Modern America.  John Harley Warner, Gretchen Berland
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.  TTh 10:30 - 11:20

HSHM 680a/HIST 911a, History of Chinese Science.  William Summers
A study of the major themes in Chinese scientific thinking from Antiquity to the twentieth century. Emphasis on non-Western concepts of nature and the development of science in China, East-West scientific exchanges, and China's role in modern science.  T 1:30 - 3:20

HSHM 701a/AMST 878a/HIST 930a,  Problems in the History of Medicine and Public Health.  John Harley Warner
An examination of the variety of approaches to the social and cultural history of medicine and public health. Readings are drawn from recent literature in the field, sampling writings on health care, illness experiences, and medical cultures in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa from antiquity to the twentieth century. Topics include the role of gender, class, ethnicity, race, religion, and region in the experience of health care and sickness; the intersection of lay and professional understandings of the body; and the role of the marketplace in shaing professional identities and patient expectations.  W 1:30 - 3:20

HSHM 710a/HIST 921a, Methods for the Social Studies of Science, Technology, and Medicine.  Joanna Radin
Exploration of the methods and debates in the social studies of science, technology, and medicine. This course covers the history of the field and its current intellectual, social, and political positioning. It emphasizes the debates on constructivism and relativism, and provides critical tools to address the relationships among science, technology, medicine, and society.  M 1:30 - 3:20

HSHM 716a/HIST 936a, Early Modern Science and Medicine.  Paola Bertucci

The course focuses on recent works in the history of science and medicine in the early modern world. We discuss how interdisciplinary approaches--including economic and urban history, sociology and anthropology of science, gender studies, art and colonial history--have challenged the classic historiographical category of "the Scientific Revolution." We also discuss the avenues for research that new approaches to early modern science and medicine have opened up, placing special emphasis on the circulation of knowledge, practices of collecting, and visual and material culture.  T 1:30 - 3:20  

Spring 2014

HSHM 676b/HIST 938b/LAW 21441, The Engineering and Ownership of Life.  Daniel Kevles
This course will examine the history of innovation in plants, animals, and human genes and the arrangements that innovators have devised through the law and by other means to establish and protect intellectual property rights in the fruits of their labors. Attending mainly though not exclusively to the United States, it willl probe the history of these two subjects both in their own right and their connections to each other and the larger social, economic, and political context from the late eighteenth century to the present. In the first half of the course, which will run to about 1950, we will consider the history of plant and animal breeding and the role in establishing and maintaining intellectual property rights in plants and animals of devices such as breeder's associations, paintings, contracts, trade secrets, and the Plant Patent Act of 1930 which provided the first patent coverage of any type of living organisms in the world. The second half of the course, which will run from c. 1950 to the present, will cover in part advances in plant breeding and enlargement of intellectual property protection for plants both in the U.S. and Europe through the creation of the plant variety protection system. The bulk of the second half will be devoted to the rise of genetic engineering, statutory and case law establishing patent protection for living organisms in the U.S. and Europe, the biotechnologies of medical diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture, and the controversies surrounding these developments, including the legal battles over the patenting of human DNA, in the context of glovalization.  W 3:30 - 5:20

HSHM 702b/HIST 931b, Problems in the History of Science.  Paola Bertucci

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 focus on historians' different analytic and interpretive approaches.  T 1:30 - 3:20