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Course Descriptions

Core Courses

Students are required to complete four core courses for both the adjunct major and minor.  

For more information on courses, visit the Adjunct Major Requirements page and the Minor Requirements page. 

*Please note that students who entered Northwestern prior to the Fall of 2014 can choose to complete the previous requirement of three core courses.

Elective Courses

Students are required to complete three elective courses among the following. Additional 300-level courses may also be considered as electives with approval from the Global Health Studies program. Please note that students who entered Northwestern prior to the start of Fall 2014 can choose to complete the previous requirement of four electives. Up to two electives can be taken abroad.

Core Courses

GBL_HLTH 301 – Introduction to International Public Health

This course introduces students to pressing disease and health care problems worldwide and examines past and current efforts to address them. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the course identifies the main actors, institutions, practices and forms of knowledge production characteristic of what we call “global health” today, and explores the environmental, social, political and economic factors that shape patterns and experiences of illness and healthcare across societies. We will scrutinize the value systems that underpin specific paradigms in the policy and science of global health and place present-day developments in historical perspective. 

GBL_HLTH 302 – Global Bioethics

Global health is a popular field of work and study for Americans, with an increasing number of medical trainees and practitioners, as well as people without medical training, going abroad to volunteer in areas where there are few health care practitioners or resources. In addition, college undergraduates, as well as medical trainees and practitioners, are going abroad in increasing numbers to conduct research in areas with few health care resources. But all of these endeavors, though often entered into with the best of intentions, are beset with ethical questions, concerns, and dilemmas, and can have unintended consequences. In this course, students will assess these ethical challenges. In so doing, students will examine core ethical codes, guidelines, and principals – such as solidarity, social justice, and humility – so they will be able to ethically assess global health practices in a way that places an emphasis on the core goal of global health: reducing health inequities and disparities. 

GBL_HLTH 303 – Gender and Global Health

How do the biological category "female" and the cultural category "woman" affect patterns of health and disease for both individuals and populations? How do different cultural constructions of gender, sex, and sexuality shape public policies concerning the inequitable distribution of health and disease within the US, Africa, Japan, South America, and Europe? How do the intersections of gender, biology, sexuality, class, race, and racism produce health inequities? To address these questions, this course explores case studies of breast cancer, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, violence, substance abuse, physician-patient interactions, infectious diseases, and access to health resources.

GBL_HLTH 304 – International Perspectives on Reproductive and Sexual Health

This course provides an overview of international issues regarding sexual and reproductive health. The overall approach is broad and will take into account economic, social, and human rights factors, with attention to the importance of women's capacities to have good sexual and reproductive health and manage their lives in the face of societal pressures and obstacles. Particular attention will be given to critical issues of women's health such as the demeaning of women, poverty, unequal access to education, food, and health care; and violence. Such issues as maternal mortality, sexually transmitted disease, violence, traditional practices, and sex trafficking will be discussed. This course, however, will not concentrate exclusively on women; we will also focus on international issues regarding men's sexual and reproductive health.

GBL_HLTH 305 – Global Health and Indigenous Medicine

Medical pluralism-therapeutic landscapes within which multiple healing forms exist simultaneously-is largely the norm throughout many places in the world, and in those places, patients may choose healers or non-biomedical therapies instead of biomedical care, or in conjunction with this care. This seminar course explores a diversity of so-called `indigenous' medical systems and forms of healing around the world, and their significance within the places where global health initiatives are often implemented or where biomedical supremacy is assumed. Drawing on mostly contemporary examples, this course will explore healing encounters in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and also in Europe and North America that involve so-called `indigenous' or `traditional' medicine. Questions we will explore include: Why do patients choose `indigenous' medicine over biomedicine? Why do these so-called `traditional' medical practices and healers endure despite public health and biomedical interventions? How do non-biomedical therapeutic practices approach the body, illness, health, and healing? How has globalization impacted how, where, and among whom these healing forms are practiced?

GBL_HLTH 306 – Biomedicine and Culture

Biomedicine (aka "Western" or allopathic medicine) is often represented as neutral and 'scientific', the opposite of culture. In contrast, this course begins with the premise that biomedicine is produced through social processes, and therefore has its own inherent culture(s). The aim of this course is to expose students to the social and cultural aspects of biomedicine within a variety of contexts and countries throughout the world. Focusing on the interrelations between technology, medicine, science, politics, power and place, topics covered will include: colonialism and biomedicine, learning biomedical cultures at medical school, experiences of health practitioners and patients, medicine in resource rich and resource-poor health systems, and biomedicine and inequality.

GBL_HLTH 307 – International Perspectives on Mental Health

This course will explore issues of mental health in cross-cultural, international perspective and examine the impact of psychological illness on the global burden of disease. Students explore the following questions: how do cultural systems of meaning and behavior affect the vulnerability of individuals within the population to mental illness and the mental illnesses to which they are vulnerable? How does culture influence the way that mental illness is expressed and experienced and how does this affect our ability to measure psychological illness cross-culturally? How do cultural factors affect the way that mental illnesses are diagnosed and labeled, and the degree to which they are stigmatized? And how do such factors affect our ability to create effective public health interventions? Finally, how do healing practices and the efficacy of particular treatments vary across cultures? By examining these and related questions, in the context of specific mental illnesses including schizophrenia, depression, and PTSD students are exposed to a unique set of ideas otherwise unrepresented in the current global health curriculum. Mental health is crucially linked to physical health, and represents an enormous global health burden in its own right. It is crucial, therefore, that global health students be introduced to central issues related to epidemiology and intervention in this area.

GBL_HLTH 308 – Global Health in Human History

Over the course of human history, health and disease patterns have charged markedly. The field of paleopathology explores the history of diseases, predominantly through skeletal patterns of evidence, to understand and predict its course in the future. This area of investigation also sheds light on how the past informs our understanding of health in contemporary human societies. In particular, paleopathology addresses such key questions as: (1) How have human groups perceived disease, transmission and treatment throughout history?; (2) How have patterns of disease changed over time?; and (3) Are they that much different than what we see today? This course will explore patterns of pre- and proto-historic adaptations to human disease, health and medicine. A bio-cultural perspective on patterns of disease will provide a link between past perspectives and current realities. No explicit background in biology or osteology is required to be successful in this course.

GBL_HLTH 309 – Biomedicine and World History

Global health has justifiably become a popular buzzword in the twenty-first century, but too often its multifaceted origins are allowed to remain obscure. This lecture course is designed to provide students with a historical overview of four subject areas pivotal to the field's consolidation: the unification of the globe by disease; the spread of biomedicine and allied disciplines around the world; the rise of institutions of transnational and global health governance; and the growth of the pharmaceutical industry. In order to place global health in its widest possible context, students will learn about the history of empires, industrialization, hot and cold wars, and transnational commerce. We will analyze the political and economic factors that have shaped human health; the ways in which bodies, minds, and reproduction have been medicalized; and the socio-cultural and intellectual struggles that have taken place at each juncture along the way. Above all, this course should give students tools to assess the benefits, dangers, and blind spots of existing global health programs and policies.

GBL_HLTH 310 – Supervised Global Health Research

Minors are encouraged to do supervised public health research on campus and abroad. Students receive elective credits for this course only when taught abroad, however.

GBL_HLTH 311-319 – SA

Courses taught abroad on IPD's Public Health programs. Courses taught abroad count as electives.

GBL_HLTH 320 – Qualitative Research Methods in Global Health

This course is designed to provide global health students with the tools they will need in order to design, revise, conduct, and write up current and future qualitative research projects relating to global health topics. This course is experientially driven, allowing students opportunities to actually "do" research, while providing careful mentoring and engaging in in-depth discussions about ethical and methodological issues associated with qualitative approaches and with working with living humans. Students will learn methods such as: writing research proposals, research ethics, writing ethnographic field notes, doing qualitative interviews and focus groups, analyzing and writing up data.


GBL_HLTH 321 – War and Public Health

This course draws on perspectives from anthropology and related social scientific fields to provide a comparative overview of the impact of armed conflict on public health and health care systems worldwide. Drawing primarily on examples from recent history, including conflicts in the Balkans, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, we will explore warfare as a crucial sociopolitical determinant of global health disparities and consider organized efforts to respond to the health impacts of mass violence. Key topics that we will consider include variations in the relationship between warfare and public health across eras and cultures; the health and mental health impacts of forced displacement, military violence, and gender-based violence; and the role of medical humanitarianism and humanitarian psychiatry in postwar recovery processes. Through close readings of classic and contemporary social theory, ethnographic accounts, and diverse research on war, health, and postwar humanitarian interventions, this course will encourage you to build your own critical perspective on war and public health anchored in history and the complexities of real-world situations.

GBL_HLTH 322 – The Social Determinants of Health

This upper-level seminar in medical anthropology examines the role of social markers of difference including race, class, nationality, gender, sexuality, age and religion in current debates and challenges in the theory and practice of global health. We will explore contemporary illness experiences and therapeutic interventions in sociocultural and historical context through case studies from the US, Brazil, and South Africa. Students will be introduced to key concepts such as embodiment, medicalization, structural violence, the social determinants of health, and biopolitics. Central questions of the seminar include: How do social categories of difference determine disease and health in individuals and collectivities? How is medical science influenced by economic and political institutions and by patient mobilization? How does social and economic inclusion/exclusion govern access to treatment as well as care of the self and others? The course will provide advanced instruction in anthropological and related social scientific research methods as they apply to questions of social inequality and public health policy in both the United States and in emerging economic powers. The course draws from historical accounts, contemporary ethnographies, public health literature, media reports, and films.

GBL_HLTH 390 – Achieving Global Impact Through Local Engagement

This course is designed for those global health students who are seeking ways to have an impact on these global health issues by engaging in local programs and organizations which are addressing these global health challenges. Students will study global and local mechanisms and patterns of the circulation of disease, and their relation to environmental, cultural, socio-economic and political influences. Students will explore roles and programs of global and local public, private and civil society sectors in addressing specific health issues. Each student will be expected to identify a local organization or program prior to the start of the course, with which they would like to volunteer. Students will examine the programs and the geographical regions of these organizations and identify the specific opportunities and roles that are available to them as volunteers, and as professionals. Special attention will be given to understanding due diligence, accountability and mechanisms for measuring impact. 

GBL_HLTH 390/ANTHRO 390 – Native American Health

This course introduces students to the social determinants of health influencing the broader health status and access to health care for Native American populations in the United States. Students will engage in a reading-intensive, discussion-based seminar, drawing upon research and scholarship from a variety of disciplines including public health, Native American and Indigenous Studies, anthropology, sociology, history, nursing, and medicine. Seminar topics will include infectious diseases and the Columbian Exchange, federal obligations to Native American people, community-based participatory research, and Indigenous health globally.

GBL_HLTH 390 – Anthropology of HIV/AIDS

This course examines HIV/AIDS from an anthropological perspective, looking critically at the history of anthropology's involvement with the AIDS crisis from the disease's discovery to the present day. It offers a broad overview of the social, cultural, political and economic factors shaping the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, and of the policy responses that the epidemic has generated in different settings. Specific topics include the shifting terrain and shape of the epidemic in different parts of the world (and perceptions of it); the factors influencing HIV vulnerability cross-culturally; and the ways in which governmental and non-governmental organizations have sought to respond to AIDS in a range of different country settings. In addition, we address international and multilateral responses to HIV/AIDS, using them as a case study that illuminates both the promises and perils of international response to health crises.

GBL_HLTH 390 – Biocultural Perspectives on Water Insecurity

The first objective of this course is to introduce students to the many ways that water impacts our world. We will discuss what the international recommendations for safely managed water are and the health and social consequences of water insecurity. The second objective is explore why there is such variety in water insecurity worldwide. These discussions will be guided by the socio-ecological framework, in which dimensions ranging from the individual to the geopolitical are considered. Influences on access to water will be broadly considered; we will draw on literature in global health, ethnography, the life sciences, and public policy. The third objective is to develop critical thinking and writing abilities to reflect on the multi-dimensional causes and consequences of water insecurity and the appropriateness of potential solutions.

GBL_HLTH 390 – Community Based Participatory Research

This course is an introduction to community-based participatory research (CBPR). The W.K. Kellogg Foundation states CBPR is a collaborative research approach that “begins with a research topic of importance to the community and has the aim of combining knowledge with action and achieving social change to improve health outcomes and eliminate health disparities.” We will explore the historical and theoretical foundations, and the key principles of CBPR. Students will be introduced to methodological approaches to building community partnerships; community assessment; research planning; and data sharing. Real-world applications of CBPR in health will be studied to illustrate issues and challenges. Further, this course will address culturally appropriate interventions; working with diverse communities; and ethical considerations in CBPR.

GBL_HLTH 390 – Disability and Global Health

Disability and Global Health will address the biopsychosocial impact of disability in locations around the world. The course provides an overview of theoretical models of disability, including medical and social models, and explores the nature of complex phenomena including identity, stigma, marginalization, and empowerment. The course will take a critical stance on dominant perceptions of disability and raise questions about how societies deal with biological diversity.

GBL_HLTH 390 – Ecology of Infant Feeding

The first objective of this course is to introduce students to the many ways that babies are fed around the world, including breastfeeding, bottle feeding, and complementary (non-milk) foods. We will discuss the health and social consequences of each mode, and what the international recommendations, i.e. best practices are. The second objective is explore why there is such variety in infant feeding worldwide. These discussions will be guided by the socio-ecological framework, in which biological and psychosocial characteristics of the individual, household, community, and national policy are considered. Indeed, influences on infant feeding will be broadly considered;  we will draw on literature in global health, ethnography, evolution, and public policy. We will also consider the representation of infant feeding in popular culture and visit a local breast milk bank. The third objective is to develop critical thinking and writing abilities, using a literature review, in-depth interviews, and other research techniques to reflect on the consequences of infant feeding have for society at large.

GBL_HLTH 390/ENV POL 394 – Climate Change and Public Health

This course begins with an overview of the ways in which climate change has already increased public health risks. The course then explores research that provides critical links between public health and human disease and death. We will also discuss how US farming and food consumption are outsize contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, and explore solutions that lower our carbon footprint while promoting healthier habits. Finally, we will evaluate how public health systems in the US and abroad are responding to the challenges of climate change.

GBL_HLTH 390 – Global Health from Policy to Practice

This seminar explores global health and development policy ethnographically, from the politics of policy-making to the impacts of policy and on health practice, and on local realities both abroad and at home. Going beyond the intentions underlying policy, this course highlights the histories and material, political, and social realities of policy and its application. Drawing on case studies of policy makers, government officials, data collectors, health care workers, aid recipients, and patients, the course asks: how do politics inform which issues become prioritized or codified in health and development policy, and which do not? How do policies affect (global) health governance? In what ways are policies adapted, adopted, innovatively engaged, or outright rejected by various actors, and what does this mean for the challenges that such policies aim to address? Ultimately, what is the relationship between health policies and health disparities, abroad and at home?

GBL_HLTH 390 – Health and Humanitarianism

This course draws on perspectives from anthropology and related social scientific fields to provide a critical overview of contemporary medical humanitarianism in historical, cultural, and socioeconomic context. Key questions that we will consider include: How and why has the health of individuals and communities adversely affected by poverty, marginalization, war, and disaster become the object of a wide range of contemporary discourses and practices of international intervention? What are the politics, historical roots, and cultural specificities of today’s boom in interest in medical humanitarian work and institutions? How does medical humanitarianism relate to and diverge from other modes of international aid and development? How is it connected to today’s global political economy, and what political, social, and institutional effects, for good or for ill, do medical humanitarian projects leave in their wake? Through close readings of classic and contemporary social theory, ethnographic accounts, and research on health-focused aid and development initiatives from across the social sciences, this course will encourage you to build your own critical perspective on medical humanitarian thinking and practice anchored in the history of the field and in engagement with the complexities of real-world situations. Case studies explore the work of organizations like Doctors Without Borders; post-war/disaster interventions in Haiti and elsewhere; and the global response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

GBL_HLTH 390 – History of Reproductive Health

The history of reproduction is a large subject, and during this course we will touch on many, but by no means all, of what can be considered as part of this history. Our focus will be on human reproduction, considering the vantage points of both healthcare practitioners and lay women and men. We will look at ideas concerning fertility, conception, pregnancy, miscarriage, childbirth, birth control, abortion, and assisted reproduction. Because, at a fundamental level, reproduction is about power – as historian Amy Kaler (but by no means only Kaler), pointed out, “[c]ontrol over human reproduction is eternally contested, in zones ranging from the comparative privacy of the conjugal bedroom to the political platform and programs of national polities” – we will frame much of our discussion around power. And, since the distribution of power in matters of reproduction has often been uneven and unequal – between men and women, between colonizing and Indigenous populations, between clinicians and lay people, between those in upper socioeconomic classes and those in lower socioeconomic classes – we will pay particular attention during this class to struggles over matters of reproduction as we explore historical changes and continuities in reproduction globally since 1900.

GBL_HLTH 390 – History of Global Health

The history of global health is a large subject, and in this course we will touch on many, but by no means all, of what can be considered as part of this history. In addition to covering an overview of the history of global health with the goal of helping students’ place current global health actions and concerns within a historical frame, this course will hopefully instill a sense of skepticism with regard to the progress of biomedicine and global health. It will also hopefully raise students’ awareness of history as a research discipline that can (and should) enrich their understanding of global health today. By the end of this course, students should be knowledgeable: of the historical evolution and development of health interventions, in particular where and why they were developed; of the practice of biomedicine and global health interventions in relation to ideas about race, sex, sexuality, gender, class, and location; and of the foundations of global health institutions and governance. Though there will be lectures, this course is primarily run as a seminar.

GBL_HLTH 390 – HIV/AIDS in Africa

This course explores challenges and politics surrounding HIV/AIDS in Africa. It considers four major themes: the historical and contemporary methodologies and debates surrounding HIV/AIDS research and intervention in Africa; the experience of living in the context of HIV/AIDS (including issues of gender, emotion, sexuality, diverse ideas about healing); the politics of HIV/AIDS; and HIV/AIDS and health infrastructures. Questions considered during the course will include: what are the trends in research methodologies relating to HIV/AIDS in Africa? What is known or well understood about HIV/AIDS in Africa, and what as yet is not well understood? What are the politics of the disease? How have large externally-funded programs shaped the ways that the disease is thought about, treated, and experienced? What does it mean to live in the context of HIV/AIDS, whether afflicted or affected by it? How do issues such as gender roles, love, ideas about health, desires for the future, and daily livelihood struggles shape how people think about HIV/AIDS in their daily lives? Overall, students will be asked to move beyond the statistics and epidemiology of the epidemic, and adopt a critical lens in order to understand the complexities of HIV/AIDS programs and experiences in Africa, and the politics of global health interventions more generally.

GBL_HLTH 390 – Infectious Diseases and Global Health

At the end of this course, students should be able to: understand the scope of infectious diseases and their contribution to the burden of global illness, have information appropriate to all persons working in global health concerning the major types of infectious diseases, and be able to summarize important public health policy decisions related to global infectious diseases. The course will cover topics such as HIV, Influenza, SARS, Malaria, Tuberculosis, and vaccine preventable diseases, among others.

GBL_HLTH 390 – Managing Global Health Challenges

Disease knows no borders. Both pathogens and lifestyles move around the world and the people of every country share the risks.   The responsibility for ensuring the public health rests with governments at local, national and international levels.   Public health interventions require cooperation and partnerships at each level and with civil society organizations, corporations, businesses and individuals.  Advances in technology can significantly reduce the burden of disease and improve the quality of health and life.  To effectively address global health challenges, technology must be integrated into health systems in ways that are both appropriate and sustainable.  These interventions are affected by public policies, availability of resources and theories of public health and disease.  Existing health organizations are increasingly challenged by the scope and magnitude of the current and future threats to public health such as the AIDS pandemic; the emergence of new and more virulent infectious diseases; the threats of bio-terrorism; growing resistance to antibiotics; lack of basic infrastructure of water, sanitation and inadequate access to drugs in developing countries; and overabundance of foods and complications from affluence, leading to health problems such as diabetes in higher income countries.  This course will examine the global epidemiology of these diseases and threats to the populations of the world, and the current technological and organizational strategies that have been established to respond.  A series of diseases and geographical regions will be analyzed to consider how the international community uses technology and organizes its response to current problems in global public health.  Special attention will be given to examples of effective technologies and intervention strategies. 

GBL_HLTH 390 – Methods in Anthropology/Global Health

This class will provide rigorous guidance on how one moves through the scientific process, from articulating scientific questions to answering them in a way that your audience can really relate to. We will do this using data from our ongoing study about if a participatory agricultural intervention can improve maternal and child nutrition in central Tanzania ( #: NCT02761876). Specific skills to be developed include human subjects training, formal literature review, hypothesis generation, developing analytic plans, data cleaning, performing descriptive statistics, creation of figures and tables, writing up results, and oral presentation of results. This course will be a terrific foundation for writing scientific manuscripts, theses, and dissertations. Prior experience with qualitative or quantitative analysis is preferred, but not required. Note: This course counts as an alternative to GBL_HLTH 320 towards the Global Health Studies major and minor.

GBL_HLTH 390 – Refugee and Immigrant Health

This course will introduce students to the complex interaction of migration and health. Students will gain a basic understanding of the theories surrounding the movement of people within and across political boundaries. Emphasis will be placed on the link between migration and health from the perspective of several different types of migrants. We will explore some of the difficulties that receiving communities face in addressing the health needs of migrants. Also, we will look at how emigration of a large segment of the population, either abruptly or over time, affects sending communities as well. Much of the class will consist of case studies presented by different healthcare professionals working with migrant communities. Students will learn about the control and prevention of various illnesses frequently encountered by immigrants and refugees.

GBL_HLTH 390 – Trauma and Its Afterlives

This course draws on perspectives from anthropology, related social scientific fields, and the humanities to provide a critical introduction to psychological trauma and its increasingly significant place in contemporary global health discourses and agendas. We will explore the history of the concept and its applications in Western literature, science, and medicine; consider the relatively recent construction of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a diagnostic category and the clinical approaches developed to treat it; and examine the politics and effects of applying the concept abroad through humanitarian psychiatry and/or global mental health projects. Key questions of the course will include: how and why has trauma become one of the most important signifiers of our era—and a key criterion of “victimhood?” What politics and debates have shaped the development and application of the PTSD diagnosis in recent decades? And how have notions of trauma and their varied applications transformed politics, suffering, and care in diverse communities around the world?

GBL_HLTH 390 – Volunteerism and the Need to Help

Since the early 2000s, there has been an exponential increase in the number of foreigners volunteering in low-income communities, within orphanages, clinics, schools, and communities. This expansion has been echoed by locals, who are also providing voluntary labor in a variety of locales throughout their communities. This class explores the discourses and practices that make up volunteering and voluntourism, from the perspectives of volunteers, hosts, and a range of professional practitioners both promoting and critiquing this apparent rise in “the need to help”. What boons and burdens occur with the boom of volunteer fervor world-wide? Why do people feel the need to volunteer, and what consequences do these voluntary exchanges have on the volunteers, and on those communities and institutions that are subject to their good intentions? What are the ethics and values that make up “making a difference” amongst differently-situated players who are involved in volunteering? Given that volunteers often act upon best intentions, what are the logics that justify philanthropy and the differential standards by which volunteers are judged based on where they go and how they engage in volunteering? This class seeks out some answers to these questions, and highlights why the increased concern for strangers that undergirds volunteering should also be, in itself, cause for our concern. 

HISTORY 379 / GBL_HLTH 309 – Biomedicine and World History

Global health has justifiably become a popular buzzword in the twenty-first century, but too often its multifaceted origins are allowed to remain obscure. This lecture course is designed to provide students with a historical overview of four subject areas pivotal to the field's consolidation: the unification of the globe by disease; the spread of biomedicine and allied disciplines around the world; the rise of institutions of transnational and global health governance; and the growth of the pharmaceutical industry. In order to place global health in its widest possible context, students will learn about the history of empires, industrialization, hot and cold wars, and transnational commerce. We will analyze the political and economic factors that have shaped human health; the ways in which bodies, minds, and reproduction have been medicalized; and the socio-cultural and intellectual struggles that have taken place at each juncture along the way. Above all, this course should give students tools to assess the benefits, dangers, and blind spots of existing global health programs and policies.

Biomedicine and World History is listed under the HISTORY call number but can count towards GHS requirements as GBL_HLTH 309.

REL 373 – Religion and Bioethics

Religion intersects with medicine at many levels: patients, practitioners, institutional providers, law, and even international relations. We will look at religion and the ethics of medicine in two ways. First, we will discuss some of the central questions of bioethics: suffering and death; transplant; assisted reproduction; vaccination; the Opioid crisis; global health issues; ecology; gene editing; children's freedom to make decisions; and others. At the same time, we will discuss religions' intersection with the practice and ethics of medicine: how religions have influenced the goals of medicine, including end of life care and relief of suffering; how they have shaped the fundamental principles of bioethics; the ethical and religious impact of religiously affiliated hospitals' ethical and religious directives; the challenges of accommodating patients' and practitioners' diverse religious beliefs in a medical system that is not religiously neutral; the impact of religious convictions on global health initiatives; religions' role in converting social crises to medical crises.Return To Top

Elective Courses

AF_AM_ST 380 – HIV/AIDS in the Social and Political

The remarkable transformation of HIV/AIDS from an inevitable death sentence to a manageable chronic illness in well-resourced countries like the United States is one of the most noteworthy scientific achievements of the past 35 years. Recent medical advances have made the goal of an AIDS-free generation plausible in the US, and the epidemic commands less and less public attention. Yet the rate of new HIV infections in the US hovers stubbornly at approximately 50,000/year, and HIV/AIDS is widely recognized as not only a medical epidemic but also a manifestation of complex inequalities at the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality. In this advanced undergraduate seminar, students will develop an in-depth understanding of the scope and dimensions of HIV/AIDS in the United States and abroad and consider the role of race, class, gender, and sexuality in the epidemic. We will also explore how social movements, public policies, and cultural representations (film, art, media, public debate, etc) have played integral roles in the epidemic and the response.

AFST 390 – Politics of International Aid

Billions of dollars have been given to developing countries over the past fifty years, yet critics argue that aid is ineffectual and, worse yet, harmful to recipients. In this course, we will examine the politics surrounding the delivery of international aid, exploring who decides the aid agenda, which countries receive what aid and, once delivered, how aid interacts with the political dynamics of recipient communities. The course begins with a brief history of ‘development' as a concept, tracing the international aid regime's evolution over the last century, before turning to current debates over international assistance, highlighting throughout how politics pervades even the most ‘technical' of aid interventions. The course blends traditional seminar-style discussions with the Harvard Business School case method. The case method asks students to collectively make a decision on a real-world case involving international aid. The case method highlights to students the strategic and ethical complexities of aid work, encouraging students to develop their ability to articulate clear, persuasive arguments and to engage in complex negotiations with their classmates.

AMER_ST 310 – US Health: Illness and Inequality

In this course students will examine themes in the history of health in the United States, particularly in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Readings will focus on the intersections between health and environment, gender, race, law, and region. We will consider questions such as what's the impact of environmental change in transforming medical, scientific, and lay understanding and experience of health and illness? What's the role of illness in shaping changing perceptions of the environment? How has race been central to the construction and treatment of disease? How has gender shaped conceptions of and approaches to health? What historical role have issues of gender, race, and class played in the inequitable distribution of pollution and in activist involvement in combating environmental hazards? How has changing food production and culture shaped health? This course assumes no previous coursework in the field, and students with a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines are encouraged to participate.

ANTHRO 306 – Evolution of Life Histories

This course introduces life history theory as an integrated framework for understanding the biological processes underlying the human life cycle and its evolution. After constructing a solid foundation in life history theory and the comparative method, the class will address questions such as: Why do humans grow and develop much more slowly than other primate species? Why do we have so few offspring? What is the significance of puberty? What is the function of menopause? In-depth analysis of several case studies will allow the class to examine in detail the utility of life history theory for explaining aspects of human development and behavior from an evolutionary perspective.

ANTHRO 309 – Human Osteology

Knowledge of human osteology forms the basis of physical and forensic anthropology, bioarchaeology, paleoanthropology and clinical anatomy. This course will provide an intensive introduction to the human skeleton; particularly the identification of complete and fragmentary skeletal remains. Through this course you will be exposed to techniques for identification and classification of human skeletal anatomy through hands-on, dry laboratory sessions. Additional time outside of class is available and may be required to review practical materials.

ANTHRO 312 – Human Population Biology

This course will provide an overview of current theory and research in human population biology. The course will focus on the influence of ecological and social factors on various aspects of human biology (e.g. metabolism, growth, nutritional status, disease patterns). The adaptation concept will first be presented, discussed, and critiqued. We will then examine how adaptation to different ecological stressors (e.g. temperature, solar radiation, high altitude, diet/nutrition) promotes human biological diversity.

ANTHRO 314 – Human Growth and Development

This course will examine human growth and development. By its very nature this topic is a biocultural process that requires an integrated analysis of social construction and biological phenomena. To this end we will incorporate insight from evolutionary ecology, developmental biology and psychology, human biology and cultural anthropology. Development is not a simple matter of biological unfolding from birth through adolescence; rather, it is a process that is designed to be in sync with the surrounding environment within which the organism develops. Additionally we will apply these biocultural and socio-ecological insights to emerging health challenges associated with these developmental stages.

ANTHRO 315 – Medical Anthropology

How do Anthropologists understand and investigate the social and cultural contexts of health and illness? This course will examine the diverse ways in which humans use cultural resources to cope with pain, illness, suffering and healing in diverse cultural contexts. In addition, we will analyze various kinds of medical practices as cultural systems, examining how disease, health, body, and mind are socially constructed, how these constructions articulate with human biology, and vice versa. The course will provide an introduction to the major theoretical frameworks that guide anthropological approaches to studying human health-related behavior. Theory will be combined with case studies from a number of societies, from India, Japan, Brazil, and Haiti to the U.S. and Canada, enabling students to identify similarities across seemingly disparate cultural systems, while at the same time demonstrating the ways in which American health behaviors and practices are socially embedded and culturally specific. The course will emphasize the overall social, political, and economic contexts in which health behavior and health systems are shaped, and within which they must be understood.

ANTHRO 320 – Peoples of Africa

This course introduces students to major themes in the anthropological study of Africa, the world area that most inspired the development of anthropology as a discipline. Examining the diversity of contemporary African societies and moments in the colonial past, we will explore in depth several related themes that derive from the classics as well as the contemporary anthropological corpus. These themes center on the creation of social ties, making a living, and managing health and uncertainty in volatile times. Specific topics will include kinship and marriage, production and exchange, health, population, economic development, corruption, political patronage, war, and the dynamics of movement and transnationalism.

ANTHRO 330 – Peoples of the World: Ethnography of North Africa

While North Africa (the Maghrib) is often considered an appendage of the Muslim Middle East, this Mediterranean region merits study on its own, given its French colonial past and its connections to both sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. This course introduces students to the region through text and expressive culture (visual culture and music). Required readings will include one book or its equivalent in articles per week, drawing from anthropology, related social sciences and humanities, and historical fiction. In-depth study of Amazigh (‘Berber') and rural populations will complement the study of Arab and urban populations in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. Major themes include language and expression, orality and literacy, colonialism, nationalism, religion, migration, and gender. Assessments are based on active participation, weekly responses, discussion facilitation, and two synthesis papers bringing together the readings around a theme.

ANTHRO 332 – The Anthropology of Reproduction

The goal of sociocultural anthropology, the largest subfield of anthropology and the core of the discipline, is to understand the dynamics of human variation in social action and cultural thought. A key question is how these variations are produced and reproduced, whether we speak of society (subsistence, ideas) or individuals (biology, psychology, social identity). Conversely, what happens when reproduction fails to occur, or does so under undesirable conditions? Because reproduction is so strongly associated with biology in our society, viewing it through a cultural lens poses significant challenges to some of our most basic tenets. Tensions arise in questions of agency vs. control, nature vs. culture, identity construction, authenticity, technology, surveillance, and power. Needless to say, the study of reproduction offers a window into the heart of anthropology itself.

The course seeks (1) to expose students to just a few of the many sociocultural approaches to reproduction by ranging broadly across topics, time, and place; and (2) to identify and evaluate concepts and theories embedded in writings on the dynamics of reproduction. While the concept of "reproduction" can refer to societal reproduction, emphasis will be on the reproduction of children. To this end, possible topics may include fostering/adoption, AIDS orphans, fatherhood, technologies of fertility control, assisted reproduction, obstetrics, gender imbalances in Asia, debates over abortion, etc.

ANTHRO 354 – Gender and Anthropology

Feminist anthropology is now more than four decades old, and more than ever an essential set of intellectual tools with which to understand the world and to change it. In this course we will consider the ways in which attending to gender alters and enriches anthropological knowledge, with particular emphasis on the domains of gendered labor, sexuality, kinship, and reproduction in the contemporary neoliberal globalizing context. Course readings, lectures, films, and discussions will focus on the history of feminist scholarship on gender, on the embeddedness of gender relations in larger social relations/political economy including race/ethnicity and nationalism--on the embeddedness of anthropology itself in the histories of Western colonialism and capitalist development, and on the ways in which anthropology is troped in the public sphere with what entailments for gender/sexual/race politics? We will also discuss American and global political-economic shifts of the past few decades and their connections to shifts in the ways both scholars and the public construe gender relations.

ANTHRO 359 – The Human Microbiome & Health

Discussion-based analysis of cutting edge research on the microbes associated with the human body and their impacts on health. Consideration of historical, social, and political influences on observed patterns.

ANTHRO 368 – Latina and Latino Ethnography

This course will focus on cultural and political expressions and representations of Latinos/as in the US. We will draw from historical accounts, fiction, ethnographies, and media representations. We will consider how these forms of expression are used to represent U.S. Latina/o life. We will examine how ethnography works as a field method and as a form of communication. Our course will cover a broad range of areas and textual modes, so that we may do some comparative work.

ANTHRO 377 – Psychological Anthropology

Contemporary approaches to cross-cultural behavior: ecocultural aspects of behavior development through maturation and socialization in human and nonhuman primates. Prerequisite: introductory survey courses in psychology or anthropology or consent of instructor. 

ANTHRO 386 – Methods in Human Biology Research

This course will provide an overview of the logic and method underlying empirical research in human biology and health. The course will introduce students to the scientific method, as well as the process of research design, data analysis, and interpretation. The course emphasizes hands-on laboratory experience with a range of methods for assessing human nutritional status, physical activity, growth, cardiovascular health, endocrine activity, and immune function. Prerequisite: 213 or consent of instructor.

ANTHRO 390-0-22 – Archaeology of Food and Drink

Food is a universal requirement for humans to survive, yet different cultures have developed radically divergent cuisines. In this course, we will use archaeology to explore the diversity of human foodways throughout time, and the role of food in human evolution and culture. You will learn about the origins of cooking over 1 million years ago, the `real' Paleodiet, how the Incas used beer at parties to build social alliances, and how Columbus's discovery of the Americas spurred global scale shifts in food and agriculture. The course begins with an overview of how anthropologists and archaeologists study food, and then moves through time, beginning with our early hominid ancestors and ending with colonialism.

ANTHRO 390-0-23 – Breaking the Law in the Middle East

Are some laws meant to be broken? Are those who break them all criminals? Where does the boundary between the legal and the criminal, the legitimate and the illicit, lie? Who gets to draw, manage and enforce that boundary that produces categories of crime out of illicit practices? How do licit and illicit networks and activities intersect to form different constellations of power and ideas of legitimacy? How do ideas and regimes of legality inform our ideas of what is morally right, criminal, and valuable? Drawing on political anthropology and cultural history, this course examines many careers of the illicit in the MENA region to answer these questions. In so doing the course invites you to study the politics of legal and discursive constructions of crime and illicit action, and how these practices interrelate with processes of law, governance, cross-border commerce and regimes of morality in order to reveal categories of crime and many careers of the illicit as historical and political constructs rather than as pre-existent and static categories of analysis.

ANTHRO 390-0-26 – Race Across Time in Latin America

This seminar will track both the shifts and continuities in racial ideologies operating in Latin America since the colonial period, following the work of historians and anthropologists. The course will consider their impact on subject formation by reviewing their progression over time through theoretical arguments and evidence from case studies. Because race has been central to the forms of power and authority that first undergirded the colonial system and later birthed the many Latin American nations, we can trace a continued line of transmission of racialized ideologies that structure inequality in the region. Using a cultural and linguistic anthropological framework, we will approach these racial categories as composites of markers of otherness that include skin color, clothing, kin affiliations, occupation, among others. The course moves progressively from research about the early colonial period and forward chronologically until the 20th century, with a final discussion of migrant trajectories to the US. Topics covered will include variations in how race is defined and invoked in context, identity as a performative effect, coloniality as an ongoing process, and the role of historical memory in post-colonial Latin America. Taught in English.

ANTHRO 390-0-27 – Migrant Sexualities

This course draws together scholarship from queer migration studies, queer diasporic critique and critical race and feminist studies in order to examine the historical and contemporary conditions for the intersections of sexuality and mobility. In this course, we will attend to the formation of "gender" and "sexuality" as categories of anthropological, historical and social analysis, surveying the major shifts within the intellectual history of studies in gender and sexuality. At the same time, however, we strive to keep in analytical view the politically pressing ways in which race, class, and nationality complicate studies of mobility and those of gender and sexuality alike. In other words, if one major question that animates the course is what studies of mobility have to contribute to historical and anthropological studies of gender and sexuality, the other is what kind of new analytical ground studies of gender and sexuality could open up in anthropology of mobility, migration and transnationalism.

ANTHRO 390 – Anthropology of Science

This upper-division seminar will introduce students to the anthropological study of science and the production of scientific knowledge. Drawing from ethnographies of laboratories and the facts and artifacts they produce we will study science as culture and a site of cultural production. The first half of the class will present several fundamental texts in the anthropology of science, while in the second half of the class, we will apply our conceptual tools to pertinent case studies of the present like: the scientific production of the concept of race and racialized behavior; biomedical research and technologies that alter and remake what counts as life, gender/sex, and the human; the production of evidence, facts, doubt, and alternative facts in the new Trump presidency. For their final assignment, students may conduct a "lab ethnography" or propose a detailed study on the production of a scientific fact.

ANTHRO 390 – Dietary Decolonization

In response to the negative social effects of globalization and industrialization on the contemporary food system, there has developed increased attention to questions of sustainability, food justice, and food sovereignty. While such concepts are useful for thinking about liberatory food futures more generally, they often draw upon foundational Indigenous concepts without directly naming them as such. This course, then, focuses on new discourses about food sovereignty by highlighting (rather than obscuring) the linkages between decolonial or sovereign food futures and histories of erasure and dispossession of Native peoples. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, course readings draw from the fields of Food Studies, Indigenous Studies, and Pacific Island Studies in the form of academic articles, cookbooks, short film, and poetry. Throughout, we will question the potentialities of food sovereignty within the settler state, whether dietary decolonization is possible in the so-called age of the Anthropocene, and the limits of working within and against today's legacies of the colonial food system.

ANTHRO 390 – Evolutionary Medicine

Humans display great variation in many aspects of their biology, particularly in terms of physical growth and development, nutrition, and disease patterns. These differences are produced by both current ecological and environmental factors as well as underlying genetic differences shaped by our evolutionary past. It appears that many diseases of modern society, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and various cancers, have resulted from change to a lifestyle that is quite different from that of our ancestors. These diseases thus reflect an imbalance between modern life conditions and those which shaped most of our evolutionary history. This course will explore the evolutionary dimensions of variation in health and disease pattern among humans. We will first review key concepts in evolutionary biology, and their application to human evolution. We will then examine bio-cultural and evolutionary models for explaining variation in specific human diseases.

ANTHRO 390 – Food Security & Sustainability

Food security is one of the wicked problems of our time, an issue so complex that it seems to defy resolution. One camp suggests that if only the world could produce more food, everyone could be fed. The other camp claims that we already produce more than enough food to feed the world's growing population, and that food insecurity arises from unequal access to resources. At the crux of these perspectives are different understandings of how we might achieve social and environmental sustainabilityshould we produce more or consume less? In this class, we'll approach these complex issues from a social and historical perspective rooted in anthropology. The first half of class will examine how chronic and severe food shortages arise by searching for their historical roots. The second half of class will focus on the different kinds of solutions that have been proposed to ameliorate food insecurity and achieve long-term food sustainability.

ANTHRO 390 – The Human Microbiome and Health

Did you know that all the microbes on and in your body weigh as much as your brain? And they can influence your body almost as much as your brain? They can determine how much weight you gain on a certain diet or whether you develop the symptoms of an autoimmune disease, and they can even affect your mood and behavior. Although we have long known the importance of microbes in the context of disease, recent advances in technology have opened up an entirely new field of research that is transforming perspectives on human health. In this course, we will explore the human microbiome beginning with an overview of different types of microbes and the methods we use to study them. Following that, the majority of the course will be dedicated to exploring new research on the microbes of the skin, mouth, gut, and uro-genital tract and their impacts on human health. We will also consider the influence of geography, politics, social structures, and culture on global patterns in the human microbiome and health.

ANTHRO 390 – Nutritional Anthropology

The popular expression "You are what you eat" neatly underscores the importance of food for human beings. This course will examine how both biology and culture shape human variation in food consumption patterns and nutritional well-being in modern and past populations. We will begin by examining the basic principles of human nutrition. We will then explore how the forces of evolution have shaped our nutritional needs over the last 5 million years, and look at specific examples of how biology and culture interact to produce differences in food use patterns across different societies. Finally, we will examine recent controversies in human nutrition, including debates on what constitutes a "healthy" diet.

ANTHRO 390 – Obstetrics in Cultural Perspective

This course examines obstetrics in historical perspective, through the lenses of sociocultural anthropology. It will exploit the cultural and historical distance that the subject provides to think beyond today's understandings, and toward broader views of fertility, the body, and science. Among the topics we will address: the contexts in which particular obstetric practices of care and intervention have arisen; variations in the personnel, instruments, and medicines involved in pregnancy and birth across time and place; the professionalization and popularization of obstetric knowledge and practice; changing views of obstetric populations and the risks they face; the evolution of particular personnel, preventions and remedies in obstetric practice; debates over naturalism vs pathology; power and inequality in obstetric care; and the relationship between the production of children and the reproduction of kin and society as a whole. Course readings and materials will come from a range of times and places: in particular, Western Europe, colonial and post-colonial Africa, and the American Midwest at the beginning of the 20th century. Readings will draw on outside disciplines (especially history, public health, medicine, and demography), but the course itself will be firmly grounded in the anthropology of reproduction.

ANTHRO 390 – Sex & Surveillance

Scopophilia is the derivation of pleasure from looking. What pleasures does the surveillance state gain from looking at us? From feeling and documenting us? How do privacy activists fight back against such surveillance, and what might be wrong with privacy rights discourse? Which groups are always already surveilled? In this class, students will play with notions of surveillance—including sousveillance, lateral surveillance, and counter surveillance—as engaged by queer and feminist studies, the cultural anthropology of expertise, and social studies of science and technology. We will draw on case studies ranging from police technologies, facial recognition software, PornHub's data collection projects, TSA airport body scanners, Facebook ads, science fiction like Black Mirror, and more to understand how bodies, races, genders, and sexualities are made known and contested by activists, artists, corporations, and governments. Students will also collect data for a creative personal surveillance project culminating at the end of the quarter.

ASIAN_AM 360 – Studies in Race, Gender, and Sexuality: Transgender Surgeries in Transnational Contexts

This course is situated at the intersection of theoretical, cultural, medical, and commercial online discourses concerning the burgeoning GCS-related surgeries (Gender Confirmation Surgery) presented online and conducted in Bangkok, Thailand. Using "Trans," and Critical Race Theories, we will discuss the cross-cultural intersections, dialogues, refusals, and adaptions when thinking about medical travel to Thailand for gender/sex related surgeries. We will examine Thai cultural/historical conceptions of sex and gender, debates concerning bodies and diagnoses, and changes in presentations of sex/gender related surgeries offered online. Asian American Studies, medical discourses, and an archive of web images offering SRS surgeries to Thailand produced by Thais for western clientele will serve as axes for investigating this topic.

BIOL_SCI 341 – Population Genetics

Change in the genetic composition of populations over time is the basis of evolution. The field of population genetics describes this genetic change, both as replacement of genes within populations, and as diversification among populations which can become species. This course reviews the dynamics of genetic variation in populations through evidence from natural history, experimentation, and theory. Topics include: natural selection, genetic drift, inbreeding, mutation, and geographic structure of populations, based on single-locus models, molecular sequences, and quantitative traits. More specialized topics such as sexual selection, kin and group selection, and the evolution of sexual reproduction and recombination will be included as time allows.

BIOL_SCI 355 – Immunobiology

The immune system is the primary defense mechanism of vertebrates against invading pathogenic organisms. This cellular system has the remarkable ability to recognize as foreign any material which is not normally a constituent of an individual's own tissues. This includes not only bacteria, viruses, and tumor cells when they express modified or new proteins, but nearly all compounds from a chemist's shelf - natural and synthetic. The immune system confronts this vast universe of foreign materials, referred to as antigens, by synthesizing an equally vast array of proteins each of which can bind to one antigen, and by so doing eliminate it. How this array of antigen-receptors is generated, how the genes which encode these are organized, the strategies adopted by the immune system to specifically activate the cells which bear the receptors and fastidiously eliminate self recognition are addressed in this course.

BIOL_SCI 380 – Biology of Cancer

This course is focused on the molecular/cellular mechanism underlying cancer initiation and progression. Students are expected to have a thorough understanding of molecular and cell biology before taking this class. Various mechanisms controlling cell proliferation, signal transduction, DNA damage repair, cell fate decisions and cell-cell communications will be discussed. Topics will also include nature/hallmarks of cancer and current strategies for cancer treatment. The goal of this course is to have a rich intellectual exchange of ideas while taking an in depth look at the molecular causes of cancer.

BMD_ENG 343 – Biomaterials and Medical Devices

Structure-property relationships for biomaterials. Metal, ceramic, and polymeric implant materials and their implant applications. Interactions of materials with the body. Taught with MAT SCI 370; may not receive credit for both courses. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215; MAT SCI 201 or 301; senior standing.

BMD_ENG 380 – Medical Devices, Disease & Global Health

An examination of the intersection of technology and the delivery of health care in resource-poor environments, especially in Africa. Engineering and the application of technologies are important in delivery of health care. This is true in the developing world as well as in the developed world, however health care technologies often fail to work as intended when solutions from wealthy countries are used in poor countries. Differences in burden of disease, infrastructure, economic and social structures are examined in the context of developing practical ways to improve health in specific parts of the developing world. Students work with the instructor to develop ideas a term paper examining a particular intervention. The global burden of disease.

BUS_INST 394 – Lessons in Nonprofit Management

This course brings together students from a variety of academic disciplines and leverages their diverse talents in the field to consult nonprofits facing organizational challenges in addressing issues such as poverty, homelessness and education. Bridging the divide between academic experience and civic engagement, teams of five undergraduate students have the opportunity to work on ten-week engagements with nonprofits under the supervision of Kellogg MBA students.

CFS 391 – Field Studies in Social Justice

Social justice is often defined as the just and equal access to resources, privileges, and social status, and involves the recognition of persistent social inequalities, and that work toward social justice involves ongoing structural social change.  This course examines social justice as idea and process, in historical perspective and around the world, and through the lens of active social justice movements in Chicago today.  We look in particular at the Black Lives Matter movement, struggles against urban gentrification and displacement, and the immigrant rights movement, as case studies offering new internship opportunities.  Course readings and meetings emphasize reflection, debate, and constructive critique, as we pay attention to the intersections of race, class, gender, citizenship, and sexuality, but focus especially on the discourses and practices of race and racism that frame social justice struggles.

CFS 392 – Field Studies in Public Health

Field Studies in Public Health was developed for students interested in health-related fields, including public health, medicine, and health policy. In this course, students will learn the broad definition of Public Health and its history, and will explore the complexity of this field by examining current public health issues such as food safety, gun violence, and healthcare reform. The course will provide students an opportunity to consider how the theory and ideology of public health square up with the practice of this field at their internship sites.

CFS 397 – Field Studies in Civic Engagement

Civic engagement involves any concerted social action in the public sphere, through a vista of popular movements, reform, reaction and revolt, and democratic participation across the social spectrum—block clubs to public art to polling firms to local Democratic Party offices.  This course approaches civic engagement from an American historical perspective, with particular attention to local political cultures, community organizing traditions, cultural citizenship and belonging, and ideas and discourses on the meanings and responsibilities of civic life.  The readings and exercises provide a look at our ethical and political dimensions as civic subjects, while discussions and internships build practical skills in entering the civic arena, organizing people, navigating the media, bureaucracies, and elected officials, and taking part in crucial public debates of our time.

CHEM 316 – Medicinal Chemistry

This is a survey course designed to show how organic chemistry plays a major role in the design, development, and action of drugs. Although concepts of biology, biochemistry, pharmacy, physiology, and pharmacology will be discussed, it is principally an organic chemistry course with the emphasis on physical interactions and chemical reactions and their mechanisms as applied to biological systems. We will see how drugs are discovered and developed; how they get to their site of action; what happens when they reach the site of action in their interaction with receptors, enzymes, and DNA; how resistance occurs; how the body gets rid of drugs, and what a medicinal chemist can do to avoid having the body eliminate them before they have produced their desired effect. The approaches discussed are those used in the pharmaceutical industry and elsewhere for the discovery of new drugs.

CHEM_ENG 373 – Biotechnology and Global Health

This class will (a) examine the design, development, and commercialization of healthcare technologies for low-income countries and (b) explore recent advances in genetic engineering, metabolic engineering, synthetic biology, and tissue engineering. By linking the two, students will gain an understanding of the myriad of commercialization opportunities and challenges associated with deploying these biotechnology advances as healthcare preventative, diagnostic, or treatment products.

CIV_ENV 361 – Public and Environmental Health

Explores current problems in public and environmental health, such as the worldwide burden of major infectious diseases; the emergence of new pathogens, environmental reservoirs of infectious organisms, transport of microorganisms in the environment, and evaluating the combined effects of land use modification, water abstraction, and global climate change on ecosystems. Prerequisite: 361-1 or consent of department

COMM_ST 343 – Health Communication

Examination of how communication can enhance and maintain the wellbeing of citizens in intentional health care contexts. 

COMM_ST 367 – Nonprofit Communication Management

This course focuses on the management of nonprofit organizations. Topics include (a) the dynamics of the social sector, (b) identifying stakeholders, (c) governing and leading nonprofit organizations, (d) communication strategies for enhancing capacity, (e) organizational assessment, and (f) obtaining and managing resources. This year, students will self select into teams working on specific identified projects for clients. 

COMM_ST 394 – Persuasion in Health Contexts

This course provides a general introduction to theory and research concerning health-related persuasion, especially in the context of health communication campaigns. The course covers leading theoretical frameworks that have guided health persuasion research and practice (e.g., the transtheoretical model) and research concerning health communication campaigns (campaign planning, execution, and evaluation). Students will complete a substantial research paper and contribute to class discussion of readings. Some prior exposure to general persuasion theory and research (e.g., Communication Studies 205 or equivalent) will be essential.

COMM_ST 395-0-21 – Intro to Health Information

This course provides an overview of health information technologies (HIT) from a medical informatics perspective. The course is directed towards health communication students who want to understand the rapidly evolving field of HIT and its integral role in healthcare systems.

COMM_ST 395-0-25 – Health and Social Media

Social media is revolutionizing health communication. As such, the goal of this course is to provide the knowledge and skills needed to select and use social media appropriately for health-related purposes. You will learn best practices for health communication between a variety of health care consumers (health organizations, providers, patients, family members, and friends) on several types of social media (Twitter, YouTube, social network sites, blogs, and online support groups). The capstone project will allow you to design an intervention, social site, or health communication campaign using social media.

COMM_ST 395 – Difficult Conversations in Health

This course explores health communication from a design perspective. In this course students will explore factors that make conversations in health "difficult," and the possible strategies to overcome such difficulties. By the end of this course students should be able to critically examine difficult conversations in health and have the skills to propose interventions to overcome them.

COMM_ST 395 – Health Communication and Precision Medicine

This course will provide a general overview of health communication as situated in the "era of precision medicine." Students will learn about the shift toward precision medicine (providing health care according to individual variation in environment, lifestyle, and genes) and the associated challenges. Using traditional health communication theories and practices, we will examine the ways in which communication can facilitate the implementation of precision medicine, and alternatively, how theories and practices of health communication may need to be reconsidered.

COMP_LIT 390 – Special Topics in Comparative Literature: Sexual Dissidence & Activism in Latin America

The AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s produced a new body and subjectivity. While the Global North experienced loss, mourning and activism for retroviral therapy, in the Global South too there was an emergency for viral knowledge and political recognition/inclusion. This course looks to situate the AIDS epidemic in the Latin American historical context while, at the same time, introducing its aesthetic manifestations.

ECON 307 – Economics of Medical Care

Health care constitutes some 15 percent of GDP in the U.S. Why has this GDP share tripled over the past half-century? Why is insurance so important in health care? What forms does insurance take in health care markets? Why has the technology of health care changed so dramatically, and what are the consequences? What forms of health care "should" and should not be provided, and why? How should "quality" be measured in health care, and why is its measurement important? How should health care be financed, and how does the choice of finance mechanism affect the economy? Has the cost of health care really risen dramatically? Why is the health care sector regulated so heavily -- e.g., pharmaceuticals, hospitals, and nursing homes--and what are the regulatory issues? Why is so little known about the safety and efficacy of herbal medications, and does that have anything to do with economic forces? Why do doctors no longer make house calls? Why are nonprofit organizations so important in health care? Is prevention really cheaper than cure?

ECON 326 – The Economics of Developing Countries

This course examines causes of poverty and underdevelopment, and their implications for economic growth and individuals' well-being. The focus of the course is on microeconomic issues relating to markets, firms and households in developing countries. We will ask such questions as "Why do the poor borrow at higher interest rates than the rich?", "Do the poor under-invest in education and health?", and "How can public policy be used to improve the well-being of people in developing countries?" Topics include financial access, health and nutrition, education, insurance, migration and the role of institutions in development. We will also emphasize the interlinkages between the topics discussed in the course, for instance: How does investment in health depend on access to savings and credit? Does the presence of informal insurance affect how government education policies should be evaluated? Do the consequences of improved migration opportunities depend on how well credit markets function? We will combine economic theory and empirical analysis using data from developing countries to investigate these questions.

ECON 359 – Economics of Nonprofit Organizations

The nonprofit sector, neither private for-profit nor governmental, is of major and growing importance in the U.S. economy, especially in the social service sector, producing a growing share of GDP. This course is public-policy oriented, focusing on the roles and efficiency of alternative organizational ownership forms, in a fundamentally private enterprise economy. Nonprofits (NPs) are hybrids, combining attributes of private firms and governments. In the U.S., NPs dominate the hospital industry and are major segments of such other industries as higher education (Northwestern is a nonprofit), museums (The Art Institute of Chicago), disaster-emergency services (Red Cross), day care, environmental and species preservation (Sierra Club), and anti-poverty efforts (Goodwill, Salvation Army).

Among the questions examined in this course are: Why is the NP sector growing so rapidly? Why is it more important in the U.S. than in other countries? Why are NPs concentrated in particular industries and totally absent in others? In institutionally-"mixed" industries, how, if at all, does the behavior of NP, for-profit (FP), and governmental organizations differ, and why? How do nonprofits finance themselves? Why does volunteer labor go predominantly to NPs? How does tax policy affect NPs? How should, "good performance" of a NP be (a) defined, (b) measured, and (c) rewarded, and how effective is public policy in encouraging good performance?

ENGLISH 385 – Introduction to Medical Humanities

The doctor-patient relationship is founded on storytelling. Whether you hope to become a healthcare provider or not, the medical experience requires a kind of narrative literacy. Both physicians and patients must grapple with narrative expectations (such as notions of causal sequence, symbolism, and closure) when conferring on medical decisions. As a group of future doctors, nurses, caregivers, and patients, we will explore what kinds of stories congregate around Western conceptions of the medical experience. We will approach this task with a multi-disciplinary lens, examining the history of medicine, medical ethics, religious practices, and narrative theory. We will pair contemporary theoretical and non-fiction works on illness with various kinds of narratives designed to communicate a patient’s perspective. We will analyze the distinctive opportunities for immersion in stories about illness offered by different genres and media, including personal essays, poetry, films and even a cancer-themed video game. Finally, we will debate the limits of narrative in medical practice—as in communicating the unique cognition of autism, the experience of physical pain, or the process of dying.

ENGLISH 385 – Topics in Combined Studies: Oil Slicks, Ailments, and Inkwells: Literatures of Environmental Medicine

Emphysema, lead poisoning, and other pollutant-inflicted diseases demonstrate that our exploitation of the natural world endangers not just polar bears and pollinators but people, as well. This is not, however, a realization as recent as the Paris Accord or the Flint water crisis. For hundreds of years, scientists, physicians, and even poets have described the volatile, sometimes sickening interactions among pollution, the environment, and the human body. And so, in addition to modern pathologies of toxicity, students in this course will explore historical literary depictions of bubonic plague, smallpox, and even spontaneous combustion as they theorize the medical consequences of human pollution. We will see that even historically distant authors like Thomas Dekker, Charles Dickens, and Margaret Atwood all write with an eye toward environmental justice and medical access for society's most ailing members—human, animal, and botanical alike.

ENTREP 395 – Innovate for Impact

Innovate for Impact is an interdisciplinary experiential learning program designed to expose students to the design and launch of market-based ventures that address unmet societal and environmental needs of both an international and domestic nature, and the social entrepreneurial approach to addressing hyperlocal challenges that affect the City of Chicago. This course will walk students through the steps associated with creating and implementing a social venture—a venture that addresses a social issue while simultaneously being financially self-sufficient.

Students will be exposed to the user-centered design process for social impact, market and nonmarket contexts of resource-challenged settings and the nuts-and-bolts of launching a venture. Like other NUvention courses, Impact represents the most aggressive attempt to allow students to create a start-up social venture within the framework of a class.

ENVR_POL 390 – Special Topics in Environmental Policy and Culture: International Environmental Politics

Environmental problems that transcend national borders, such as deforestation, biodiversity loss, climate change, and ocean governance, are amongst the most intractable challenges facing our global community. Collective action problems are pervasive in negotiations and attempts to address, monitor, and enforce international environmental agreements are often weak. Yet, despite these constraints, international actors have designed and secured agreement in a variety of policy arenas, aiming to improve global environmental governance. The purpose of this course is to understand how, why, and when the international community is able to overcome collective action problems and effectively address global environmental challenges. We begin by first analyzing the structures, agents, and processes affecting international environmental politics. In the second part of the course, we will conduct an extended negotiation simulation to explore how politics plays out. By doing so, we will identify some knowledge gaps that impede our understanding about the role of international institutions and actors in affecting positive environmental change. Requirements include active participation, discussion papers, a position paper, and role playing. The class is designed at the advanced undergraduate student level. While there are no formal pre-requisites, students who have had no previous courses in public policy or political science should be prepared for a more challenging semester. As an advanced liberal arts seminar, the class is reading and writing intensive and developing critical thinking and writing skills is a fundamental objective. Finally, active participation in class discussions is essential and will be expected of all students. Students with concerns about these expectations should speak with me before enrolling.

ENVR_SCI 399-0-22 – Global Change Ecology

Global environmental change has significant impacts on social and ecological systems around the world. Global Change Ecology is an emerging field that aims to understand the ecological implications of environmental change (especially anthropogenic climate change) and to assess risks under future global change. In this course, students will review the basics of the earth system and climate change before investigating how organisms in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems respond to climate change. Finally, we will consider the impacts of future climate change and the implications for conservation policy and adaptation management.

GBL_HLTH 311-SA – Health Care Systems in Europe and the U.S. (Sciences Po)

This seminar provides students with an understanding of the various ways in which health care systems are organized in European countries, the problems they are currently facing, and the reforms that have been implemented or proposed at the national and European Union levels.

GBL_HLTH 312-SA – Public Health in Europe: Issues and Policies (Sciences Po)

This seminar examines issues and debates on health policy in France and the European Union, including primary health issues, health insurance, health inequalities, HIV/AIDS and SARS, elderly care, and genetically modified organisms. Lectures are supplemented by visits to relevant sites such as the World Health Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and Ecole Nationale de Sante Publique (Rennes).

GBL_HLTH 313-SA – International Organizations and Health: A Research Seminar (Sciences Po)

This is a regular research seminar where students design their team research projects, learn about research methodology, and discuss their research progress. At the end of the term, students present their research project to the class.

GBL_HLTH 315-SA – Public Health in South Africa (Stellenbosch University)

This seminar presents an introduction and overview of the public health system in South Africa and the major health issues. Topics include: the organization of the public health system, the most important diseases in South Africa, differences among regions in terms of prevalent disease and health delivery, main health problems of children, aging population, HIV/AIDS and educational campaigns, prevention, violence, women's health, addiction (alcohol, drugs), changing patterns of nutrition, and environmental health.

GBL_HLTH 316-SA – Development Perspectives on Health in South Africa through Community Engagement (Stellenbosch University)

The course uses a sociological and social anthropological approachto understand tensions between economic and health policies and the ways in which they have influenced society and the state in the post-apartheid era. The focus is on the impacts of health-related issues on development, including HIV/AIDS, malnutrition and poverty, environmental health, occupational health, gender, and child development.

GBL_HLTH 390-SA-20 – Public Health and Mental Health in Serbia (University of Belgrade)

Local public health and medical scholars and practitioners will introduce students to the healthcare systems and policies of Serbia; the impact of war and the "transition" from socialism to market-based economic policies on public health; and pressing current health policy debates and public health challenges. In addition, the course will cover key mental health challenges in Serbia and how they are being addressed in policy and clinical practice. The course will feature guided site visits to hospitals and primary care centers and meetings with key public health policy-makers.

GBL_HLTH 390-SA-21 – Public Health and Mental Health in Bosnia-Herzegovina (University of Sarajevo)

Students will explore the contemporary healthcare systems and policies of Bosnia-Herzegovina under the guidance of a range of local health scholars and practitioners from academic institutions, healthcare services, and nongovernmental organizations. The course will consider themes introduced to students in Serbia, including the long-term effects of war, humanitarian aid, and the "transition" from socialism to capitalism on public health. In addition, the course will explore mental illness and mental health care in Bosnia in depth, including challenges related to war trauma and post-traumatic stress. The course will feature guided site visits to hospitals and primary care centers and meetings with key public health policy-makers, and students will also have the opportunity to engage in supervised field activities under the auspices of the psychosocial services NGO Wings of Hope.

GBL_HLTH 332-SA – Public Health in China (Peking University)

This seminar provides an overview of the public health system and pressing health issues in China. Topics include: the organization of the public health system, important diseases in China, differences among regions in terms of prevalent disease and health delivery, main health problems of children, aging population, HIV/AIDS and SARS, violence, women's health, addiction (alcohol, drugs), changing patterns of nutrition, and environmental health.

Public Health in Mexico (Universidad Panamericana) – Public Health in Mexico (Universidad Panamericana)

This seminar consists of a series of lectures by Mexican medical faculty and public health officials. Lectures examine a variety of issues facing the Mexican health care system, including health policy and the role of the state, violence, diabetes, malnutrition, environmental health, infectious diseases and alcoholism.

Research Seminar: Public Health in Mexico (Universidad Panamericana) – Research Seminar: Public Health in Mexico (Universidad Panamericana)

This seminar introduces students to the methodology of public health research. Students design their team research projects on Public Health in Mexico, and discuss their research progress and difficulties. At the end of the term, students present their research project to the class.

GBL_HLTH 333-SA – Traditional Chinese Medicine (Peking University)

This seminar presents an overview of the traditional health system in China and its holistic approach to healing. The seminar examines the role of traditional medicine in today's China and introduces the students to various theories and practices including: exercise, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and methods of diagnosis. Students also visit the Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital and an herbal medicine pharmacy, and participate in a herb gathering excursion to the mountains.

BME 389-SA – Healthcare Technology in Resource Poor Environments (University of Cape Town)

This course provides an introduction to health systems in the context of disease burden, with special emphasis on developing countries and the devices and drugs used to combat diseases there. Site visits to hospital departments and community institutions are an integral part of the course.

BME 391-SA – Healthcare Technology Innovation and Design (University of Cape Town)

This course covers principles and practice of medical device design for the developing world. Working in teams, students will evaluate user needs within the context of under-resourced segments of the South African healthcare system and develop a design project using appropriate technologies.

GBL_HLTH 314-SA – Health and Community Development in South Africa (University of Cape Town)

This course explores health-related issues confronting South Africa, their social and economic impact, and efforts to address them, particularly within the context of apartheid and post transition policies. Students will learn about demographics, prevention, and treatment of both infectious and chronic noncommunicable diseases.

GNDR_ST 332 – Gender, Sexuality, and Health: Anthropology of Reproduction

The goal of sociocultural anthropology, the largest subfield of anthropology and the core of the discipline, is to understand the dynamics of human variation in social action and cultural thought. A key question is how these variations are produced and reproduced, whether we speak of society (subsistence, ideas) or individuals (biology, psychology, social identity). Conversely, what happens when reproduction fails to occur, or does so under undesirable conditions? Because reproduction is so strongly associated with biology in our society, viewing it through a cultural lens poses significant challenges to some of our most basic tenets. Tensions arise in questions of agency vs. control, nature vs. culture, identity construction, authenticity, technology, surveillance, and power. Needless to say, the study of reproduction offers a window into the heart of anthropology itself. The course seeks (1) to expose students to just a few of the many sociocultural approaches to reproduction by ranging broadly across topics, time, and place; and (2) to identify and evaluate concepts and theories embedded in writings on the dynamics of reproduction. While the concept of "reproduction" can refer to societal reproduction, emphasis will be on the reproduction of children. To this end, possible topics may include fostering/adoption, AIDS orphans, fatherhood, technologies of fertility control, assisted reproduction, obstetrics, gender imbalances in Asia, debates over abortion, etc. 

GNDR_ST 332 – Gender, Sexuality, and Health: Health Activism

How do conceptions of “health” relate to ideological assumptions about gender, race, class, and sexuality?  In this course, we will explore these questions through a close examination of activist movements that have attempted to challenge contemporary conceptions of health and models of disease. Case studies will include the 19th century birth control and eugenics movements, the 1970s women’s health movement(s) and the ongoing “pro-life” and reproductive rights/justice movements, ACT UP and AIDS activism, breast cancer and environmental activism, and mental health activism in the era of psychopharmacology. In each case, we will consider how activists frame the problem, the tactics they use to mobilize a diverse group of social actors around the problem, and their success in creating a social movement that challenges contemporary medical models and the ideological assumptions that inform them. The course also introduces students to recent interdisciplinary scholarship on social movements.

GNDR_ST 332 – Gender, Sexuality, and Health: Reproductive Health/Rights/Justice

GNDR_ST 341 – Transnational Perspectives on Gender and Sexuality: Global Masculinities

This course is situated at the intersection of theoretical, cultural, medical, and commercial online discourses concerning the burgeoning GCS-related surgeries (Gender Confirmation Surgery) presented online and conducted in Bangkok, Thailand. Using "Trans," and Critical Race Theories, we will discuss the cross-cultural intersections, dialogues, refusals, and adaptions when thinking about medical travel to Thailand for gender/sex related surgeries. We will examine Thai cultural/historical conceptions of sex and gender, debates concerning bodies and diagnoses, and changes in presentations of sex/gender related surgeries offered online. Asian American Studies, medical discourses, and an archive of web images offering SRS surgeries to Thailand produced by Thais for western clientele will serve as axes for investigating this topic.

GNDR_ST 341 – Transnational Perspectives on Gender and Sexuality: Medical Tourism and Sex

This course is situated at the intersection of theoretical, cultural, and medical, and commercial online discourses concerning the burgeoning Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS) medical surgeries presented on the world wide web and practiced in Thailand. Using “Trans” theories: transgender, transnational, translation, spatio/temporal, we will discuss the intersections, dialogues, refusals and adoptions when thinking about medical tourism to Thailand. We will examine Thai cultural/historical conceptions of sex and genders, debates concerning bodies and diagnosis that took place during the drafting of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), International SRS Standards of Care (to be drafted in BKK during the WPATH meeting in February 2014), and changes in presentations of sex/gender related surgeries offered online. Comparative cultural studies, medical discourses, and an archive of web images offering SRS surgeries to Thailand produced by Thais for western clientele will serve as axes for investigating this topic.

HDPS 351 – Special Topics in HDPS: Health Program Planning

The course is designed to provide students with an overview of how to develop health programs and interventions. Students will learn the best ways to help solve the most important health issues affecting their communities at local, national, and international levels. Students will learn the start-to-finish processes of health programming including understanding the problem using existent data, needs assessments/surveillance, using goals/objectives, basic design, message construction, planning, implementation, and preliminary evaluation that links back to goals/objectives. The course will also include an overview of effective public health interventions using the socio-ecologic framework (individual/behavioral, environmental/social/community and policy) as a foundation to explore various levels of interventions. This course is extremely beneficial for students interested in public health, social work, education, health disparities/social justice, and health administration.

HISTORY 300-0-24 – New Lectures in History: "Making Drugs in the Americas"

To understand how and why the drug trade became one of the most profitable and violent industries in the hemisphere, this course examines the history of production, commercialization, consumption, and criminalization of mind-altering drugs in the Americas. We consider the late colonial history of the export of tropical commodities as stimulants; the repression of domestic consumption and its connection to the formation of national identities; the correlation between liberal reforms and the emergence of transnational illegal networks; the construction of the “drug problem” during the period after World War II; the rise of the cartels along circuits of immigration; the implementation of the “war on drugs” as an essential component of Cold War in Latin America; the role of violence and masculinity in the drug trade; and the most recent debates on decriminalization and legalization in North and South America. We address these topics in an interdisciplinary manner, reading history, anthropology, sociology, political science, and journalism; and watching and analyzing critically featured films and documentaries

HISTORY 300 – New Lectures in History - "Science and Religion"

No description available.

HISTORY 300 – New Lectures in History - "Sickness & Health in Latin America"

In 1492 the New World became a crucible for the exchange of diseases, medications, and healing practices of American, European, and African origin. This course explores change and continuity in the healing arts and sciences in Latin America and the Caribbean in the centuries since. A key angle of inquiry will be the ways global frameworks help to make sense of local practice and how local knowledge informed national, hemispheric, and Atlantic developments in public health and medicine. Topics include Aztec medicine and conceptions of the human body; the "Columbian Exchange" of diseases, animals, and pharmaceuticals; the global commodification of American botanical knowledge (anti-syphilitics and anti-malarials such as Peruvian bark); Catholicism, shamanism, and other ritual frameworks for healing; modern disease eradication campaigns; and medical pluralism in Latin America today.

HISTORY 352 – New Lectures in History - "Global History of Death and Dying"

Does death have a history? This course explores the changing realities of, attitudes towards and ways of coping with death drawing on examples from Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Latin America and the United States. We will look in particular at the role of death in shaping the modern world via the global slave trades, imperial conquest, pandemics, wars and genocides. In addition, we will explore the more complicated issue of the changing ways people have made sense of death, both in extraordinary circumstances as well as during calmer times. We will examine long continuities and transformations in rituals relating to death, intellectual and philosophical debates about the personal and social meanings of death, and the political and intimate consequences of particular ways and patterns of dying.

HISTORY 376 – Global Environments and World History

Environmental problems have today become part and parcel of popular consciousness: resources are being depleted at a record pace, human population levels just crossed the seven billion threshold, extreme poverty defines the majority of people's daily lives, toxic contaminants affect all ecosystems, increasing numbers of species face extinction, consumerism and the commodification of nature show no signs of abating, and weapons and energy systems continue to proliferate that risk the planet's viability. This introductory lecture course is designed to help students understand the relatively recent origins of many of these problems, focusing especially on the last one hundred and fifty years. Students will have an opportunity to learn about the environmental effects of urbanization, industrialization, population growth, market economies, empire-building, intercontinental warfare, energy extraction, and new technologies. They will also explore different environmental philosophies and analytic frameworks that help us make sense of historical change, including political ecology, environmental history, science studies, and world history. Finally, the course will examine a range of transnational organizations, social movements, and state policies that have attempted to address and resolve environmental problems.

HISTORY 392 – Colonial Medicine in Asia: India, China, Japan and Southeast Asia

Examines the attempt to introduce western medicine into the nations of Asia in the past four centuries. We will consider both the efforts of colonial officials as well as those of individuals and organizations (missionaries, private foundations, adventurers), from the era of the Jesuits to the WHO and Médecins sans Frontières. We will read both indigenous and European accounts of epidemics, medical travails, eugenics, women‚s health, and social outreach programs to understand how the colonial setting shaped scientific and medical exchanges. In examining medical conflicts, we will question assumptions about universal definitions of health and disease. We will see in these readings issues relevant to our current medical debates: Is health a public or private matter? What role do sociocultural values play in health care issues? What is the relationship between a medical system and a belief system?

HISTORY 392 – Topics in History – Black Death

The fourteenth-century Black Death (or bubonic plague) has long been the benchmark against which all other disasters have been measured. Although there were devastating instances of plague in Roman times, and even isolated outbreaks in our own time, the medieval plague was a true pandemic that raged throughout the world. This courses focuses on Western Europe in which, between 1346 and 1348, the Black Death wiped out somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of the population. At a time when principles of contagion were hazy and medical treatment primitive, the panic-stricken society alternated between regarding the plague as evidence of God's wrath for humanity's sins and desperately seeking scapegoats to blame. This course will approach the plague from multiple perspectives through the lens of primary and secondary sources. Among the topics addressed will be: the immediate causes of the plague; medieval and modern theories of the disease; the plague's impact on both religious personnel and the secular work force; its impact on culture; the relation between plague and persecution, and violence; and the impact of the plague outside of Europe and beyond the Middle Ages.


HISTORY 392 – Topics in History: Disease, Segregation and Empire in Colonial Africa

The course will discuss the various interpretations of disease by different actors and groups in select African countries, the influences of these interpretations on the control measures deployed to prevent or control epidemics, and, with specific reference to segregation as a preventive/control option, analyze the rationale, history and changing nature of segregation in colonial urban Africa. Overall, the course will show two thing using African examples. First, that disease is not just about medical facts but how these are socially and politically constructed. Second, that in the context of European colonial expansion and dominance abroad, medicine was an important 'tool of empire'.

HISTORY 392 – Topics in History: Intro to Critical Food Studies

What counts as food? Recent debates over the social and environmental consequences of Genetically Modified Organisms (sometimes called ‘Frankenfoods'), media buzz over alternative proteins like crickets, and the mainstream popularity of veganism have provoked a critical return to questions of edibility, the agency of our food, and ecological responsibility - all of which challenge normative, Western orientations towards consumption practices. This course examines cultural constructions of appetite and nourishment by asking: What are the processes through which humans have come to view plants and animals as food? How is edibility either celebrated or refused across time, space, and bodies? And most importantly, how are specific worldviews mobilized in understanding human encounters with the things that we eat? Taking Donna Haraway's landmark work "A Cyborg Manifesto" as a point of departure, cultural constructions of edibility will be explored by theorizing the food system as a vital and material force.

HISTORY 392 – Topics in History: Weather and Climate in History

Packed with volcanos, "little" ice ages, and fierce debates about scientific efforts to model the most irregular of natural phenomenon, this course explores the impact of weather and climate on historical trends in antiquity, the early modern period, and the modern period in Europe, America, and the Globe. It also traces the complicated science and politics of meteorology from the Enlightenment until the twentieth century. Finally, we will spend nearly a third of the course tackling this question: Can historical examples of global climate crises provide any sense of what the future holds, or, crucially, blueprint for public policy?

IEMS 365 – Analytics for Social Good

This new university-wide course in humanitarian and non-profit logistics will explore the challenges and opportunities of achieving social good in the age of analytics. Students will work on interdisciplinary teams on a series of case studies that range in topic from advanced technology for disaster response and preparedness to improved decision-making frameworks for community-based health care providers. To assist in the understanding of these complex settings, the course will include guest speakers from local and national organizations, including the Manager of Operations Analysis and Disaster Dispatch at the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago and the Medical Director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

IEMS 385 – Introduction to Health Systems Management

IEMS 385-0 Introduction to Health Systems Management Health systems, lean concepts, patient­flow analysis, infer­ ence, and data­driven knowledge generation, decisions, and change. Forecasting, operations, and optimization of health resources. Prerequisites: 303, 313.

INTL_ST 390 – Special Topics in International Studies - "Refugee Crises & Human Rights"

Crises of forced migration due to war, conflict, generalized violence, famine, development and climate change have highlighted the shortcomings of the human rights regime to protect against human suffering and abuses. In this course we examine the evolution of the international refugee regime in response to refugee crisis and the ways in which international human rights address the causes and consequences forced migration.

JOUR 372 – International Journalism: South Africa

An introduction to South Africa, with a special focus on the country’s newspapers, magazines, and broadcast outlets. Students compare and contrast various aspects of South African and US life—especially the history of the HIV/ AIDS pandemic—and explore historical, political, and cultural connections between the two countries. Required for South Africa Journalism Residency. Prerequisites: 301 and junior standing for Medill students; consent of instructor for others. 

JOUR 383 – Health and Science Reporting

Health and Science Reporting teaches students both how to think about science writing and how to write about science and medicine. In this combination writing workshop and seminar we will read some of the best of the best science and health journalism; meet with expert scientists on campus; and meet the editors and writers from leading scientific journals and publications. Students will learn what makes good science writing, how to find sources, how to evaluate information and how to sort out science from pseudo-science.

LATINO 392 – Topics in Latina and Latino Social and Political Issues: Decolonial Research Methodologies

The objective of this course is to explore the process of inquiry from the critical standpoints of peoples seeking to decenter dominant research models. In discussing different forms of knowledge, practices of producing knowledge, knowledge construction, and ways of sharing knowledge we will examine the (neo)colonial underpinnings of dominant research models to understand the ramifications of the influence they have in what is considered legitimate knowledge. We will put this analysis in conversation with communities/activists/scholars/artists who make critical interventions in how, why, and for whom processes of inquiry are carried out. Recognizing the tensions that emerge when politically engaged or activist-based research meets academic rigor, we will explore and discuss the ways and extent to which an academic scholar may engage with decolonizing research methods.

PHIL 326 – Philosophy of Medicine

An exploration of a variety of issues that have arisen in medical practice and biological research and development, focusing particularly on the physician/patient relationship through a focus on a series of clinical cases. A central question involves the nature and objectives of medicine, and how the physician engages with that nature and pursues those objectives.

POLI_SCI 380 – Refugee Crises & Human Rights

Crises of forced migration due to war, conflict, generalized violence, famine, development and climate change have highlighted the shortcomings of the human rights regime to protect against human suffering and abuses. In this course we examine the evolution of the international refugee regime in response to refugee crisis and the ways in which international human rights address the causes and consequences forced migration.

POLI_SCI 390 – The Politics of AIDS and Africa

This course will examine the place of Africa in the global response to HIV/AIDS and the politics of AIDS in African countries sorely afflicted by the epidemic.

PUB_HLTH 302 – Introduction to Biostatistics

The course focuses on the understanding of the concepts of descriptive and inferential statistics and the application of statistical methods in the medical and health fields. The topics include descriptive statistics, basic probability concepts, probability distributions, estimation, hypothesis testing, correlation, and simple linear regression.

PUB_HLTH 304 – Introduction to Epidemiology

Introduction to epidemiology and its uses. Measures of disease occurrence, common sources and types of data, important study designs and sources of error in epidemiologic studies, and epidemiologic methods.

PUB_HLTH 391 – Global Health Care Service Delivery

The course will engage students in an analysis of case studies that describe interventions to improve healthcare delivery in resource-limited settings. The cases capture various programmatic, organizational and policy-related innovations related to care delivery. Classroom discussions of these case studies will help illuminate principles and frameworks for the design of effective global health interventions. Through a focus on HIV, TB, malaria and other health conditions, these cases will allow students to carefully consider the question of how epidemiology, pathophysiology, culture, economy and politics inform the design and performance of global health programs.

PUB_HLTH 490 – Advanced Global Public Health

This course will provide an in depth exploration the current approaches to eradicating long-term social and economic inequalities in health outcomes around the world. We will begin with a review of the current state of global health, highlighting the areas of major gains since 2000, and current trends and emerging health challenges (e.g., chronic metabolic diseases, emerging/re-emerging infectious diseases). We will then directly examine the diverse strategies that have been used to improve health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries. These strategies range from biomedical interventions (e.g., vaccine campaigns, nutritional supplementation) to broader, macro-level approaches such as targeted cash transfers and agricultural reform. Drawing on detailed case studies, we will explore (a) the nature and structure of global health interventions, (b) the creation of successful partnerships for sustaining health outcomes, and (c) the importance of data collection and analysis for monitoring the effectiveness of program interventions.

SESP 303 – Designing for Social Change

How can we encourage and inspire meaningful social change? How can we design and implement effective programs that address social problems and social needs? How can we realize human rights and secure civil rights in our communities and around the world? We will attempt to answer these questions by exploring specific steps of the design and implementation process. By examining characteristics of youth and community programs in the fields of education, social justice, human development, health promotion, human rights, and civic engagement –at the local, national, and international levels –we will seek to identify commonalities and understand differences among them. A major goal of this course is to acquire an intellectual and applied understanding of the principles of program design and development, which include a sustained consideration of issues affecting the quality of program implementation. Considerable attention will be devoted to specific steps within the design and implementation process, as well as case studies of actual programs.We will examine a range of topics, including: finding inspiration; identification, recruitment, and retention of target audiences; staff selection; setting global and incremental goals; and ensuring sustainability.We must also acknowledge that what counts as a social need or social problem is subjective and complex and that programs can therefore be controversial, difficult to manage, and difficult to evaluate. In light of this, we will touch on the organizational, ethical,and political contexts of implementation.While much of the design and implementation process can be seen as intuitive, you are encouraged –through class discussion, your writing, and your designs –to actively challenge your assumptions about creating community programming, as well as critique the programs that we learn about and the design techniques that we practice.

SOC 392 – Health and Politics

How are public health crises defined, created, and managed? How are medical guidelines produced? And how are individual experiences of health and illness related to social problems and policy solutions? This seminar explores these questions. Each week focuses on a contemporary controversy in politics and healthcare, including: the U.S. opioid crisis, mandatory vaccination, obesity and nutrition, and sexual and reproductive health. Core texts build students' foundational knowledge of sociological approaches to biomedicalization, lay and expert knowledge, the production of medical guidelines, health inequalities, and the social construction of health crises. While tackling these central concepts in medical sociology, readings and class discussions also encourage students to analyze how political institutions wield power in healthcare. This course explores how politics shape how research is funded, health risk assessed, medical needs legitimated, health inequalities sustained, and medical knowledge used as a tool of governance.

SOC_POL 304 – Social Policy and the Human Services

Development of social policy for human services in the United States. Human service policies for education, mental health, physical health, prisons, income, and aging.

SOC_POL 311 – Social Policy and the United States Health Care System

This course will introduce the student to the health care delivery system in the United States through a review of US health policy issues. A construct for review of major health policy issues will be introduced and current health policy issues will be examined through this lens. Special attention will be paid to health disparities for low-income and minority populations; and how policy decisions exacerbate or relieve these issues. Interactive lecture, focused discussions and class activities relevant to assigned readings and special topic areas will be the format for the course.

SOCIOL 305 – Population Dynamics

This course is designed to provide students with an overview of the field of population studies, also known as demography. Demography covers all of the factors related to changes in the size and characteristics of a human population. The topics that will be covered in the course include health disparities in the United States, the impact of AIDS on family life and longevity in Africa, migration patterns within and from Latin America, the reasons behind sex-selective abortions in Asia, and the implications of the current low birthrates in Europe.

SOCIOL 311 – Food, Politics and Society

This course looks closely at how different social groups, institutions and policies shape the ways food is produced, distributed and consumed in different parts of the world, especially the United States, and the social and environmental consequences of such a process. We look at the dramatic growth of factory farming and the social and political factors lying behind such rise, and alternatives such as sustainable farming, Farmers' Markets, and local food. aspects of the food systems we examine, and the social actors and policies giving rise to such alternatives. 

SOCIOL 317 – Global Development

This course explores the economic and social changes that have constituted "development," and that have radically transformed human society. The course focuses on both the historical experience of Europe and the contemporary experience of countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In the historical discussion, we explore the birth of the "nation state" as the basic organizing unit of the international system; the transition from agrarian to industrial economic systems; and the expansion of European colonialism across the globe. In our discussion of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, we consider the legacies of colonialism for development; the ways in which countries have attempted to promote economic development and industrialization; and issues of inequality and human welfare in an increasingly globally connected world.

SOCIOL 319 – Sociology of Science

The idea that science has a history and exists in a social context may seem curious to some: we are taught, and the scientific method is thought to ensure, that scientific knowledge is objective and universal. But like other social institutions, science has rules and norms that dictate training and professionalization, the representation of findings and ideas, and minute practices in that can shape the big picture of what we know about the world. This course introduces students to the sociology of science, a field based on understanding how the natural and laboratory sciences are influenced by political and historical epochs, social identities, and cultural norms. The course has three broad aims: to introduce students to core literature in the history and sociology of science; to use case studies to better understand the social life of various scientific fields and innovations; and to apply our sociological imaginations to conceive possibilities at the limits of humanistic and social aspirations.

SOCIOL 325 – Global and Local Inequities

From the violent mass displacement in Syria to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, crisis tends to unmask the sharp inequalities between and within nations that structure our social and political world. This course will consider the ways in which inequality is manifested both within and between nations through the lens of disaster, austerity, and migration, paying particular attention to socio-historical constructions of life worth saving and life which is not. Students will be asked to consider the rise of the transnational capitalist class, and how colonial legacies and sustained inequality between nations has given way to economic imperialism and increased inequality within them. By the end of the quarter, students should have a better understanding of how states, institutions, and racial formations contribute to global inequalities, and the global nature of local phenomena under neoliberal economic regimes

SOCIOL 336 – Climate Change, Policy, and Society

Climate change is the worst environmental problem facing the earth. Sea levels will rise, glaciers are vanishing, horrific storms will hit everywhere. After looking briefly at the impacts of climate change on natural and social environments both in the present and near future, we then consider how to best reduce climate change and how to adapt to its impacts. Issues of climate justice, divides between the global North and South, social movements, steps taken in different countries and internationally, and the role of market and regulations are addressed. Climate change is a disaster, the worst environmental problem facing the earth: sea levels will rise, glaciers are vanishing, horrific storms will hit everywhere. What can be done to reduce climate change and to adapt to its impacts? Climate justice, divides between the global North and South, social movements, climate deniers, and the role of the market and regulations are addressed.

SOCIOL 355 – Medical Sociology

This reading and discussion intensive course will focus on the sociology of medicine in the contemporary international context. How does biomedicine and health care work at the close of the 20th century? What is the nature of the doctor-patient relationship, and what roles do other players--advocacy groups, drug companies, governments, insurance companies--play in the processes of health care? How does biomedicine compare across countries? How do contemporary globalization processes influence the conduct of biomedicine and health care worldwide? The course will cover major concepts in medical sociology: the social shaping of disease, dynamics of the doctor/patient relationship, gender and race issues in medical care, structures of health care and medical institutions, regulation of biomedicine, patient activism, intellectual property issues, and the conduct of biomedical research--using US and international examples. Each broad theme will be explored through empirically rich case studies, from debates about stem cell research to the globalization of AIDS drugs, the birth of biotechnology to the discovery of the "gay gene".

SOCIOL 376 – Mental Health and Society

This course offers a social scientific perspective on the professions and bodies of knowledge that make up the field of mental health -- the "psychological sciences" -- and experiences of health and illness. We will draw on historical, anthropological and sociological studies to understand how the psychological sciences have developed, how they have treated mental illness, and what kinds of influence they exercise in our everyday lives. We will also touch upon questions of stigma, race and gender, and non-Western contexts of mental illness.

SOCIOL 376 – Sexuality, Biomedice & HIV/AIDS

Since the appearance of a "mysterious new disease" among gay men in the U.S., HIV/AIDS has been closely associated with sexuality. This is true not only because a large percentage of HIV-transmission occurs via sexual contact, but also because of close associations between sexuality and morality and what "kinds" of people and practices are said to be more likely to spread HIV than others. In this course, we draw upon scholarship in the social sciences and humanities to examine the interplay between HIV/AIDS and sexuality, with an emphasis on the role of science and technology. How did associations between sexuality, disease and morality shape what was known about the spread of HIV early in the epidemic? How have ongoing efforts to know, treat and prevent HIV shaped sexual practices and intimacies, and vice versa? Together, will consider the complex interplay of HIV, sexuality and science across a diverse array of topics, including: the politics of HIV-risk categorization; HIV-stigma and discrimination; social movements and access to treatment; sexual practices and intimacies; and new frontiers in HIV-prevention, among others.

SOCIOL 376 – Experts, Society, and Politics

Do experts still matter? Why are experts facing a crisis of confidence in their ability to provide authoritative solutions to pressing problems of collective life, ranging from AIDS, ebola and autism epidemics to environmental and financial catastrophes such as global warming and the global financial crisis? How can experts regain their authority? This course will examine how expertise has become a key aspect of politics under modernity and why this made experts vulnerable to attacks as truthful figures of authority. We will study the role of the expert in the production of power, knolwedge and subjectivity from key historical and sociological perpsectives. Students will develop the critical thinking skills necessary to analyze the ways in which experts use their expertise to shape the world.

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