04:30 PM to 07:10 PM R
David King Hall 2053
Section Information for Fall 2021
In this course, we will explore the sweeping historical changes that created today's world through one particular lens: disease and humans' responses to them. One major theme of this course will be the changing nature of diseases throughout the last seven centuries or so starting with the Black Death in Eurasia. Another major theme of the course will be the various ways human civilizations respond to diseases—both pandemic ones and more endemic versions—and how those responses have changed (and stayed the same) over time. A final major theme of the course will be scientific and medical advances over the last three-quarters of a millennium and how they have succeeded and failed to combat various diseases. We will end the course discussing current-day depictions of disease outbreaks in popular culture, including metaphorical versions like the zombie movie and TV craze of the last decade or so.
ALL parts of the world will be discussed in this course. Each geographic region became enmeshed in a global system that has had dramatic consequences for the world. We will study that process as it relates to disease—their cause, their spread, their cures, and their (occasional) eradications. By the end of the semester, students should have a grasp of the major disease trends underlying early modern and modern global history. To accomplish all of this, we will explore many primary documents, much secondary source scholarship in the form of academic journal articles and a textbook created specifically for this course, along with various videos, films, and TV. This class will consist of some lecturing but will mostly consist of interactive activities such as group work and discussion along with periodic presentations by individual and groups of students.
This course also counts for the new minor in Health, Disease, and Culture (HDC), which is new as of fall 2021. Prof. Harris-Scott is the director of the minor so if you are interested in the minor, this would be a great class to take. You do NOT need to do the HDC minor to take this course, however, as it also counts as a global understanding core course.
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