Contacts | Program of Study | Application to the Health and Society Minor | Summary of Minor Requirements | Approved Courses | Advising and Grading | Health and Society Courses

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Program of Study

The Health and Society minor explores the social, political, and economic processes that shape individual and population health. Disability, experiences of illness, categories of disorder, ideals of well-being, and models of medical intervention can all vary between cultural settings and across history. Rapid changes in medicine and biotechnology create new understandings and expectations about illness, health, and well-being. At the same time, inequalities in access to care and in health outcomes across populations, in the United States and globally, have become important to conversations in policy and practice alike. At the individual level, how and where one lives may influence a range of conditions and outcomes including mental health, the onset of diabetes, and the length of life. Health is also influenced—in both positive and negative ways—by our relationships and social networks. Finally, people's life chances and health trajectories form within frameworks of health care policy and systems of provision and exposure to environments that reflect historical legacies, economic activity, and political choices. To understand health in its broader contexts, this minor encompasses a range of disciplines and methods in the social sciences, and differential emphases on theory, practice, and policy implications.

A minor in Health and Society will provide a background for medical school, the allied health professions, public health, health policy, health advocacy, the study of law with an emphasis on health, and doctoral work in a range of social science disciplines.

Application to the Health and Society Minor

College students in any field of study may complete a minor in Health and Society. The flexibility of this minor complements majors in any of the disciplines. Students who elect the minor program in Health and Society must contact the program administrator before the end of Spring Quarter of their third year to declare their intention to complete the minor. The program administrator must submit approval on the form provided by the College for the minor to a student's College adviser by the Spring Quarter of a student's third year.

Summary of Minor Requirements

The Health and Society minor requires a total of five courses, including HLTH 17000 Introduction to Health and Society, which provides exposure to a range of approaches and perspectives in the social sciences, and four approved courses designated as counting toward the Health and Society minor. Please see the Approved Courses list below.

HLTH 17000Introduction to Health and Society100
Four electives chosen from the list of Approved Courses *400
Total Units500

Approved Courses

These courses may be used to satisfy the minor course requirements. Additional approved courses will be updated annually. Please check the Health and Society website for complete listings and for information about current course offerings.

Up to one of the following:
Ethnographic Methods
Human Development Research Design
Applied Statistics in Human Development Research
Statistical Methods in Economics
Sociological Methods
Statistical Methods of Research
Any of the following:
Anthropology of Disability
The Lived Body: Anthropology, Materiality, Meaningful Practice
Magic, Science, and Religion
Disability in Local and Global Contexts
Lab, Field, and Clinic: History and Anthropology of Medicine and the Life Sciences
Reproductive Worlds
Body & Soul: The Anthropology of Religion, Health, & Healing
Anthropology of the Body
Introduction to Human Development
Inequality, Health and the Life Course
Darwinian Health
Medical Anthropology
Culture, Mental Health, and Psychiatry
Health, Medicine, and Human Rights
History of Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences
Disability and Design
Inequality and the Social Safety Net: Theory, Empirics, and Policies
Inequality: Origins, Dimensions, and Policy
Economics and Regulation of Health Care Markets: Theory and Empirics
Medical Ethics: Who Decides and on What Basis?
Introduction to Science Studies
Experiencing Madness: Empathic Methods in Cultural Psychiatry
Tutorial: Romantic Bodies: Theater in the History of Science and Medicine
Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization I
Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization II: History of Medicine I
Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization II: Early Modern Period
Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization III
History of Death
History of Medicine
History Colloquium: Medicine and Society
Introduction to Health and Society
Health in a Changing America: Social Context and Human Rights
The Politics of Health Care
Global Health Metrics
Health Economics and Public Policy
Healthcare and Healthcare Reform
Biological Clocks and Behavior
Social Neuroscience
Child Development in the Classroom
Introduction to Learning and Memory
Sociology of Human Sexuality
Urban Health
Sociology of Health and Aging
Sociology of Medicine
Topics in Behavioral and Social Sciences Relevant to Medicine
Key Issues in Healthcare: An Interdisciplinary Case Studies Approach
Health and Aging Policy
Drugs: Culture and Context

Advising and Grading

Students who elect the minor program in Health and Society must meet with the program director before the end of Spring Quarter of their third year to declare their intention to complete the minor. The director's approval for the minor program should be submitted to a student's College adviser by the Spring Quarter of a student’s third year.

Courses in the minor may not be double counted with the student's major(s), other minors, or general education requirements. Courses in the minor must be taken for quality grades, and more than half of the requirements for the minor must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.

Health and Society Courses

HLTH 12103. Treating Trans-: Practices of Medicine, Practices of Theory. 100 Units.

Medical disciplines from psychiatry to surgery have all attempted to identify and to treat gendered misalignment, while queer theory and feminisms have simultaneously tried to understand if and how trans- theories should be integrated into their respective intellectual projects. This course looks at the logics of the medical treatment of transgender (and trans- more broadly) in order to consider the mutual entanglement of clinical processes with theoretical ones. Over the quarter we will read ethnographic accounts and theoretical essays, listen to oral histories, discuss the intersections of race and ability with gender, and interrogate concepts like "material bodies" and "objective science". Primary course questions include: 1.

Instructor(s): Paula Martin     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): This course counts as a Foundations Course for GNSE majors
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 25212, CHDV 12103, GNSE 12103, HIPS 12103

HLTH 17000. Introduction to Health and Society. 100 Units.

Disability, experiences of illness, categories of disorder, ideals of well-being, and models of medical intervention can all vary between cultural settings and across history. Rapid changes in medicine and biotechnology create new understandings and expectations about illness, health, and well-being. At the same time, inequalities in access to care and in health outcomes across populations, in the United States and globally, have become important to conversations in policy and practice alike. This course introduces students introduces students to the social, political, and economic processes that shape individual and population health, as well as to a range of concepts and methods which social scientists use to study these processes. A requirement for students undertaking the "Health and Society" minor, the class will also serve as an introduction to the faculty researching and teaching on issues of health and society in the Social Sciences Division and beyond.

Instructor(s): Raikhel, Eugene     Terms Offered: Autumn

HLTH 18100. Topics in Behavioral and Social Sciences Relevant to Medicine. 100 Units.

This class will survey key topics in Behavioral and Social Sciences relevant to training in and practice of medicine. Among the topics addressed will be sensation and perception, cognition, social psychology and the biological bases of behavior, as well as communications theory, institutional organization, sociology of health choices and outcomes, statistical reasoning, and research design. Grades will be based on a combination of exams and quizzes. There are no prerequisites for this class, and it will not count toward major and minor credit in any College department or program.

Instructor(s): K. Le Doux     Terms Offered: Autumn Winter
Note(s): This course is most appropriate for second and third year students, preparing for the MCAT.
Equivalent Course(s): SOSC 18100

HLTH 20400. Health Disparities in Breast Cancer. 100 Units.

Across the globe, breast cancer is the most common women's cancer. In the last two decades, there have been significant advances in breast cancer detection and treatment that have resulted in improved survival rates. Yet, not all populations have benefited equally from these improvements, and there continues to be a disproportionate burden of breast cancer felt by different populations. In the U.S., for example, white women have the highest incidence of breast cancer but African-American women have the highest breast cancer mortality overall. The socioeconomic, environmental, biological, and cultural factors that collectively contribute to these disparities are being identified with a growing emphasis on health disparities research efforts. In this 10-week discussion-based course students will meet twice weekly and cover major aspects of breast cancer disparities.

Instructor(s): E. Dolan, S. Conzen     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): BIOS 25108
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 20408, CCTS 20400, BIOS 25327, CCTS 40400

HLTH 20910. Epidemiology and Population Health. 100 Units.

This course does not meet requirements for the biological sciences major. Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health and disease in human populations. This course introduces the basic principles of epidemiologic study design, analysis, and interpretation through lectures, assignments, and critical appraisal of both classic and contemporary research articles.

Instructor(s): D. Lauderdale     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): STAT 22000 or other introductory statistics highly desirable. For BIOS students-completion of the first three quarters of a Biological Sciences Fundamentals sequence.
Equivalent Course(s): STAT 22810, PBHS 30910, ENST 27400, PPHA 36410

HLTH 21007. Clinical and Health Services Research: Methods and Applications. 100 Units.

This course will introduce the interdisciplinary field of clinically-oriented health services research with a focus on policy-related implications. Through exposure to theoretical foundations, methodologies, and applications, students without significant investigative experience will learn about the design and conduct of research studies. We will cover the integration of research within the stages of translational medicine, and how science conducted across the translational medicine spectrum informs policy through purveyors of clinical services (e.g. physicians, hospitals), government, insurers, and professional societies. We will use the examples of postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy and autologous bone marrow transplantation to illustrate pitfalls in the progression from basic science research to clinical trials leading to diffusion in clinical medicine that can complicate the creation of logical, evidence-based practice guidelines, reimbursement, and clinical practice.

Instructor(s): Greg Ruhnke     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): BIOS 29329, CCTS 43007, CCTS 21007, PBPL 23007

HLTH 21008. Health Systems in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. 100 Units.

Strengthening health systems is imperative to achieving lasting improvements in health. This course provides students with a comprehensive overview of health systems in low- and middle-income countries. We will learn key frameworks and tools to analyze, assess and influence health systems in these contexts. The course is organized around core components of health systems, including service delivery, human resources for health, health financing, supply chain systems, governance, community engagement and information systems. Each class draws upon contemporary case studies from a variety of low- and middle-income countries to illustrate challenges, controversies and opportunities in these contexts. We will examine historical, social and political contexts, and key international, national and local stakeholders that influence health systems presently. We will consider the impact of external shocks, such as conflict, natural disasters, and economic and political crises, on the structure and functioning of health systems. Finally, recognizing the convergence between global and local, we will situate current challenges in the U.S. health system in a global context.

Instructor(s): Veena Sriram     Terms Offered: Autumn. Not offered every year.
Prerequisite(s): Open to graduate students and third- and fourth-year undergraduate students. First- and second-year undergraduates interested in taking the course may write to the course instructor for permission.
Equivalent Course(s): CCTS 21008, CCTS 41008

HLTH 21335. Living with Toxins: Anthropology of Environmental Health. 100 Units.

The ongoing saturation of our bodies and environments with chemicals, pesticides, radiation, mercury, and microplastics has made environmental health a central issue of our time. This course explores how anthropologists have engaged environmental pollution, disaster, and climate change by tracing the historical and conceptual development of an anthropology of environmental health as an emerging field of inquiry. It will draw on works in medical anthropology, environmental anthropology, political ecology, environmental history, and science and technology studies, paying close attention to the concerns, questions, and analytic perspectives they raise in engaging with issues of environment and health. The goal of this course is to develop analytic tools to critically assess responses to environmental health issues and examine the stakes and experiences surrounding toxic worlds across space, time, and disciplines. Students will have the opportunity to apply their insights by working closely on an environmental health issue of their own choosing throughout the course.

Instructor(s): Hiroko Kumaki     Terms Offered: Spring. Spring 2020
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 21345

HLTH 21500. Darwinian Health. 100 Units.

This course will use an evolutionary, rather than clinical, approach to understanding why we get sick. In particular, we will consider how health issues such as menstruation, senescence, pregnancy sickness, menopause, and diseases can be considered adaptations rather than pathologies. We will also discuss how our rapidly changing environments can reduce the benefits of these adaptations.

Instructor(s): J. Mateo     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Prerequisite(s): For BIOS Majors: Three quarters of a Biological Sciences Fundamentals sequence or consent of instructor.
Note(s): CHDV Distribution: A
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 21500, HIPS 22401, CHDV 21500, BIOS 23405

HLTH 21609. Medical Ethics: Central Topics. 100 Units.

Decisions about medical treatment, medical research, and medical policy often have profound moral implications. Taught by a philosopher, two physicians, and a medical lawyer, this course will examine such issues as paternalism, autonomy, assisted suicide, kidney markets, abortion, and research ethics. (A)

Instructor(s): D. Brudney; Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Third or fourth year standing. This course does not meet requirements for the Biological Sciences major.
Note(s): Philosophy majors: this course fulfills the practical philosophy (A) requirement.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 31609, HIPS 21609, BPRO 22612, PHIL 21609, BIOS 29314

HLTH 21750. Biological Clocks and Behavior. 100 Units.

This course will address physiological and molecular biological aspects of circadian and seasonal rhythms in biology and behavior. The course will primarily emphasize biological and molecular mechanisms of CNS function, and will be taught at a molecular level of analysis from the beginning of the quarter. Those students without a strong biology background are unlikely to resonate with the course material.

Instructor(s): B. Prendergast     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): A quality grade in PSYC 20300 Introduction to Biological Psychology. Additional biology courses are desirable. Completion of Core biology will not suffice as a prerequisite.
Equivalent Course(s): PSYC 21750, BIOS 24248, NSCI 21400

HLTH 22350. Social Neuroscience. 100 Units.

Social species, by definition, create emergent organizations beyond the individual - structures ranging from dyads and families to groups and cultures. Social neuroscience is the interdisciplinary field devoted to the study of neural, hormonal, cellular, and genetic mechanisms, and to the study of the associations and influences between social and biological levels of organization. The course provides a valuable interdisciplinary framework for students in psychology, neuroscience, behavioral economics, and comparative human development. Many aspects of social cognition will be examined, including but not limited to attachment, attraction, altruism, contagion, cooperation, competition, dominance, empathy, isolation, morality, and social decision-making.

Instructor(s): J. Decety     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): NSCI 21000, CHDV 22350, PSYC 22350, BIOS 24137, ECON 21830

HLTH 22580. Child Development in the Classroom. 100 Units.

This discussion-based, advanced seminar is designed to investigate how preschool and elementary students think, act, and learn, as well as examine developmentally appropriate practices and culturally responsive teaching in the classroom. This course emphasizes the application of theory and research from the field of psychology to the realm of teaching and learning in contemporary classrooms. Course concepts will be grounded in empirical research and activities geared towards understanding the nuances and complexities of topics such as cognitive development (memory, attention, language), early assessment systems, standardized testing, "mindset", "grit", exercise/nutrition, emotion regulation, and more.

Instructor(s): Kate O'Doherty     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 22580, PSYC 22580, EDSO 22580

HLTH 23305. Critical Studies of Mental Health in Higher Education. 100 Units.

This course draws on a range of perspectives from across the interpretive, critical, and humanistic social sciences to examine the issues of mental health, illness, and distress in higher education.

Instructor(s): E. Raikhel     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Registration by instructor consent only
Note(s): CHDV Course Distribution Areas: D; 4
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 24333, CHDV 23305, ANTH 35133, CHDV 33305

HLTH 23406. Migration Trajectories: Ethnographies of Place and the Production of Diasporas. 100 Units.

Global movements of people have resulted in a substantial number of immigrant communities whose navigation of various facets of everyday life has been complicated by restrictive citizenship regimes and immigration policies, as well as linguistic and cultural differences. The experiences of a wide range of individuals involved in migration raise the following questions: what strategies do immigrants use to negotiate transnational identities and what are the implications of these strategies? How do future generations manage simultaneous and intersectional forms of belonging? To address these questions, we will draw on ethnographic texts that explore various facets of transnational migration, such as diasporas, place, citizenship, mobility, and identities. The term "trajectories," reflects different situations of migration that are not necessarily linear or complete. Moreover, term "place" is meant to capture the continuity between displacement and emplacement, and to critically analyze the durability associated with notions of 'sending' and 'receiving' countries. Lastly, rather than take diasporas as a given, we will explore the ways that they are produced and enacted in a variety of geographic contexts.

Instructor(s): D. Ansari     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): CHDV Distribution Areas: B, C
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 23406, CHDV 23406, GLST 23406, ANTH 22835

HLTH 23440. Health, Medicine, and Human Rights. 100 Units.

The World Health Organization, United Nations and other international bodies consider health a fundamental human right. At the same time, most countries around the world are characterized by profound inequalities in health and wellbeing. In this course, we leverage sociological and social scientific concepts through a human rights framework to understand how these inequalities in mental and physical health are perpetuated by the structure and culture of society, with an emphasis on U.S. society. We will also examine medicine as an institution with a problematic history of repeated human rights violations (in the U.S. and around the world) and explore how that history shapes the current practice of medicine, medical research, and relations between doctors and patients. Finally, we will explore how institutions provide (or fail to provide) equal access to healthcare, and how state understandings of the right to health influence the lives of individuals and communities.

Instructor(s): Mueller, Anna; Offidani-Bertrand, Carly     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): CHDV Distribution: B, C, D
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 23440, HMRT 23440, SOCI 20268

HLTH 23800. Introduction to Learning and Memory. 100 Units.

This course examines basic questions in learning and memory. We discuss the historical separation and division of these two areas as well as the paradigmatic differences in studying learning and memory. We also discuss basic research methods for investigating learning and memory and survey established and recent research findings, as well as consider several different kinds of models and theories of learning and memory. Topics include skill acquisition, perceptual learning, statistical learning, working memory, implicit memory, semantic vs. episodic memory, and memory disorders.

Instructor(s): D. Gallo     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PSYC 23800, EDSO 23800

HLTH 24103. Bioethics. 100 Units.

This lecture course will introduce you to the field of Bioethics. We will use a case-based method to study how different philosophical and theological traditions describe and defend differences in moral choices in contemporary bioethics. This class is based on the understanding that case narratives serve as the motivation for the discipline of bioethics and that complex ethical issues are best considered by a careful examination of the competing theories as they work themselves out in specific cases. We will examine both classic cases that have shaped our understanding of the field of bioethics and cases that are newly emerging, including the case of research done at Northwestern University. Through these cases, we will ask how religious traditions both collide and cohere over such topics as embryo research, health care reform, terminal illness, issues in epidemics and public health, and our central research question, synthetic biology research. This class will also explore how the discipline of bioethics has emerged to reflect upon such dilemmas, with particular attention to the role that theology philosophy, law, public health, and religious studies have played in such reflection. We will look at both how the practice of different disciplines has shaped the field of bioethics and in particular at how different theological and philosophical claims, methodology, and praxis have continued to shape and inflect bioethics.

Instructor(s): Laurie Zoloth     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): RETH 30600, SIGN 26069, RLST 24103

HLTH 24302. Disability in Local and Global Contexts. 100 Units.

This is a course about intersections. Disability cuts across age, gender, class, caste, occupation, and religion- or does it? By some measures, people with disabilities are the largest minority group in the world today. In this course, we critically examine both the experiences of people with disabilities in a global context as well as the politics and processes of writing about such experiences. Indeed, questions of representation are perhaps at the core of this course. What role have the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and other non-governmental social and human service agencies played in the creation of specific understandings of disability experience? We will ask whether disability is a universal category and we will consider how experiences of health, illness, disability, and debility vary. We will engage in "concept work" by analyzing the relationships between disability and impairment and we will critically evaluate the different conceptual and analytical models employed to think about disability. In doing so, we will engage with broader questions about international development, human rights, the boundaries of the nation, the family and other kinship affiliations, and identity and community formation. How is disability both a productive analytic and a lens for thinking about pressing questions and concerns in today's world?

Instructor(s): M. Friedner     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): MAPS 46460, CHDV 25250, ANTH 24302

HLTH 24312. Body & Soul: The Anthropology of Religion, Health, & Healing. 100 Units.

In this course, we will explore how people experience religion across social and historical contexts with a focus on how religion shapes ideas of what it means to be mentally healthy and how to treat illness. In the first half, we will focus especially on the role of the body in religious experiences: how people comport, discipline, and alter their bodies in attempts to create religious experiences. In the second half, we will turn to the mind: how religion mediates cultural understandings of mental health, well-being, and illness and the experience of a normatively healthy mind and body.

Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 24312, CHDV 20805

HLTH 24335. Introduction to Medical Anthropology and Critical Studies of Global Health. 100 Units.

Ideas about health and the experience and interpretation of distress and illness are products of specific historical, social, economic, and cultural contexts. The physical body, however, constrains the shaping of these ideas. The aim of this course is to examine the way in which concepts about the body in health and in illness in any given society are reflections of specific kinds of social organization and political relations together with shared cultural values. The first module of the course will outline the major theoretical models for approaching the study of illness, health, and medicine, as objects of anthropological analysis. The second, third, and fourth modules of this course will variously examine historical, cultural, environmental, economic, and political considerations to provide a comprehensive global overview of the many factors that influence the health of individuals and populations. In each module we will explore specific themes, buttressed by ethnographic case studies: for example, medicine as a cultural system; different medical traditions; cross-cultural medicine; medicalization of the life-cycle; anthropology of the body; the social lives of medicines, reemerging infections, biomedical technologies; social suffering; and, finally, the political dimensions of health policy in the US and abroad.

Instructor(s): S. Brotherton     Terms Offered: Winter. Winter 2020
Prerequisite(s): This course qualifies as a "Discovering Anthropology" selection for Anthropology Majors.
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 24335, CHDV 24335, HIPS 24335

HLTH 24352. Health, Value, Politics. 100 Units.


Instructor(s): Kaushik Sunder Rajan     Terms Offered: TBD
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 24352, HIPS 24352

HLTH 25500. Introduction to U.S. Health Policy and Politics. 100 Units.

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the concepts needed to critically evaluate U.S. health policy issues. The course will 1) provide an overview of the U.S. health system including its institutions, stakeholders, and financing mechanisms, 2) describe the politics of health and illuminate how the structure of our political system shapes health policy outcomes, and 3) offer a framework for assessing the critical features central to health policy debates. Building upon this knowledge, the course will conclude with a discussion of strategies for influencing the health policy process and how they might be employed in future leadership roles within the health sector.

Instructor(s): Loren Saulsberry     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): None
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 37720, SSAD 45011, PBHS 28500, PBHS 35500

HLTH 27450. Social Inequalities in Health: Race/Ethnicity & Class. 100 Units.

This course examines how social stratification and social inequality shape racial/ethnic and socioeconomic inequalities in health. In particular, we will explore the production of race and class inequality in the US and draw on the extant theoretical and empirical literature to understand how these social factors influence health behaviors and health outcomes. Finally, we will review both the classic and emerging methodological approaches used by public health and social scientists to measure and test how these features of society get "under the skin" to shape a variety of health outcomes.

Instructor(s): Aresha Martinez-Cardoso and Diane Lauderdale     Terms Offered: Spring. New course Spring 2020
Equivalent Course(s): PBHS 31450, PBHS 27450

HLTH 28010. Introduction to Health Economics. 100 Units.

This course covers the foundations of the economics of health care. Content includes demand for health, medical care, and insurance; supply of medical care and behavior of health care practitioners; and economic perspectives on measurement in health care research. Using a combination of lectures, readings, and problem sets, the goal is for students to acquire a basic understanding of economic knowledge and thinking that can be applied to current challenges in health care policy and practice. The course is open to undergraduate and graduate students with at least one prior course in microeconomics.

Instructor(s): T. Konetzka     Terms Offered: Winter 2019-20
Prerequisite(s): Microeconomics course
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 38290, PBHS 28010, PBHS 38010

HLTH 29100. Health Services Research Methods. 100 Units.

The purpose of this course is to better acquaint students with the methodological issues of research design and data analysis widely used in empirical health services research. To deal with these methods, the course will use a combination of readings, lectures, problem sets (using STATA), and discussion of applications. The course assumes that students have had a prior course in statistics, including the use of linear regression methods.

Instructor(s): P. Sanghavi     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): At least one course in linear regression and basic familiarity with STATA; or consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 38010, SSAD 46300, PBHS 35100

HLTH 29635. Tutorial: Power and Medicine. 100 Units.

The marvel of modern medicine has been lauded as a great leveler of the human condition. From sanitary regimes, to the discovery of antibiotics, to anaesthesia and the development of successful surgery and lifestyle intervention, medicine has improved the lives of all humankind. However, research shows that this improvement is not uniform - that some benefit more from medicine than others. This disparity, which public health scientists and medical researchers have followed for decades, is borne of a complex set of societal factors - including socioeconomic status, race, genetic background, environment, and lifestyle. These studies show us a key feature of medicine: it does not exist in a vacuum, and one's lifespan and quality of life are as tethered to social factors as they are to scientific innovation. This class will explore the effects of uneven power systems on health and human medicine in modern history. We will explore how different peoples - of diverse racial, socioeconomic and historical backgrounds - experienced medical and sanitary regimes, and how they navigated disparities in access. Every week we will examine a particular theme in the history of medicine and explore its effects first on a regional scale in the U.S., and the following meeting in the global context. The goal in this structure is to demonstrate the diversity of experience and the complex systems that influence medical regimes.

Instructor(s): Webster, E., and Jordan, C.     Terms Offered: Spring. Spring 2020
Equivalent Course(s): KNOW 28002, HIST 25020, HIPS 29635

HLTH 29901. XCAP: The Experimental Capstone - The Art of Healing: Medical Aesthetics in Russia and the U.S. 100 Units.

What makes a medical treatment look like it will work? What makes us feel that we are receiving good care, or that we can be cured? Why does the color of a pill influence its effectiveness, and how do placebos sometimes achieve what less inert medication cannot? In this course we will consider these problems from the vantage points of a physician and a cultural historian. Our methodology will combine techniques of aesthetic analysis with those of medical anthropology, history and practice. We will consider the narratology of medicine as we examine the way that patients tell their stories-and the way that doctors, nurses, buildings, wards, and machines enter those narratives. The latter agents derive their meaning from medical outcomes, but are also embedded in a field of aesthetic values that shape their apperception. We will look closely at a realm of medical experience that continues to evade the grasp of instruments: how the aesthetic experience shapes the phenomenon of medical treatment.

Instructor(s): William Nickell; Brian Callender; Elizabeth Murphy     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): for BIOS 29209: This course does not meet the requirements for the Biological Sciences major.
Note(s): This course is one of three offered in The Experimental Capstone (XCAP) in the 2019-20 academic year. Enrollment in this course is restricted to 3rd and 4th year undergraduates in the College. For more information about XCAP, visit
Equivalent Course(s): KNOW 29901, HIPS 28350, ARTV 20014, BIOS 29209, ANTH 24360

HLTH 29971. XCAP: The Experimental Capstone - What is an Intervention (for Mental Health)? 100 Units.

What does it mean for a practice to be understood as an intervention in the domain of mental health? Interventions in mental health can be carried out with tools ranging from chemicals and electrical impulses, to words, affects, and social relationships, to organizations. They can involve acting on a range of distinct targets -- from brains and bodies to psyches and emotional conflicts to housing and employment. This course will use a focus on mental health interventions to introduce students to a range of conceptual and practical issues surrounding mental health and illness, as well as to raise a set of broader questions about the relationships between knowledge formation, practice, ethics, and politics. The questions we will ask throughout the course will include: What does it mean for an intervention to be successful? How is effectiveness understood and measured? Are mental health interventions ethically-neutral or do they contain embedded within them assumptions about the normal, the pathological, and the good life? We will think through these questions vis-a-vis readings drawn from psychiatry, psychology, and the social sciences -- but more importantly, through weekly practical and experiential activities. Each week will focus on one kind of mental health intervention, and will involve a particular kind of practical learning activity.

Instructor(s): Michael Marcangelo and Eugene Raikhel     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): This course is one of three offered in The Experimental Capstone (XCAP) in the 2019-20 academic year. Enrollment in this course is restriced to 3rd and 4th year undergraduates in the College. For more information about XCAP, visit
Equivalent Course(s): KNOW 29971, CHDV 20971



Associate Professor, Comparative Human Development
Eugene Raikhel