The interaction between social and scientific factors has long been acknowledged in discussions concerning the emergence and reemergence of infectious diseases. In this mini-course, we will investigate the various forces predisposing certain populations to disease epidemics. Through readings in microbiology and critical medical anthropology, we will explore the biologic, environmental, political, economic, and historic trends that have become embodied as infectious scourges past and present, including small pox, Bubonic plague, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. In doing so we will raise key questions in the fields of disease epidemiology and social medicine, and make important qualitative critiques of contemporary public health initiatives. The goal of this mini-course is to introduce students interested in medicine, microbiology, public health, anthropology, social justice, and other related subjects to the approaches taken by disease epidemiologists and medical anthropologists to solve contemporary health crises and predict future epidemics.
We will begin with a brief introduction to disease epidemiology and critical anthropology followed by a series of readings from nonfiction books, ethnographies, journals, and edited volumes centered on the concepts of structural violence and disease evolution. Class discussion will be enlivened with excerpts from documentaries and public health conferences. No previous experience in anthropology, medicine, microbiology, or public health is required. Students are expected to participate actively in discussion and will be responsible for weekly reading responses and a final project.
Sept. 21, 28, Oct. 5, 12, 26, Nov. 2, 9, 16