HISTORY 196 - First-Year Seminar
Section: 001 Epidemics: Mass Disease in US Culture
Term: WN 2010
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
Course Note:
A basic introduction to historical thinking and method through small-course seminar experience. Topics vary from term to term; however, no matter what the topic, students can expect to spend a great deal of time learning to think critically about historical questions and to write well. As such, the First-Year seminar should serve as an introduction to upper-level course work in history and related fields of study.
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

From smallpox to AIDS, dramatic disease outbreaks both shaped and were shaped by American culture. This course explores how medicine and culture intersected to influence the causes, experiences of, and responses to epidemics in America; and it uses epidemics to illuminate the history of American society from colonization to the present. Lectures introduce new topics and summarize discussions. Discussions will explore past perceptions and compare past and present; we will not discuss the present apart from the past. Readings (four to five hours weekly) include modern histories, plus old newspapers, films, and medical journals. Written assignments are two five-page book review papers, a short weekly journal, and an individual research project with parts due throughout the term. They will introduce you to the medical, graduate, and undergraduate libraries. Readings available only for purchase cost about $30; other required readings available on reserve or for purchase cost about $160 more. Course Pack available at Dollar Bill.

Assigned Books:

  • Crosby, Columbian Exchange (Greenwood)
  • Rosenberg, Cholera Years (Chicago)
  • De Kruif, Microbe Hunters
  • Barry, The Great Influenza (Viking)
  • Oshinsky, Polio(Oxford)
  • Garrett, The Coming Plague (Penguin)

HISTORY 196 - First-Year Seminar
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
WF 1:00PM - 2:30PM
002 (SEM)
Tu 7:00PM - 10:00PM
003 (SEM)
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
Note: Section 003: Meets with WS 151.001
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

Coursepack Location:
Dollar Bill
ISBN: 0275980928
The Columbian exchange : biological and cultural consequences of 1492, Author: Alfred W. Crosby, Jr. ; forewords by J.R. McNeill and Otto von Mering., Publisher: Praeger 30th anniv 2003
ISBN: 0226726770
The cholera years : the United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866, Author: Charles E. Rosenberg ; with a new afterword., Publisher: University of Chicago Press 1987
ISBN: 0156027771
Microbe hunters, Author: Paul De Kruif ; introduction by F. Gonzalez-Crussi., Publisher: Harcourt Brace 1996
ISBN: 0140250913
The coming plague : newly emerging diseases in a world out of balance, Author: Laurie Garrett., Publisher: Penguin Books 1995
ISBN: 0143036491
The great influenza : the story of the deadliest pandemic in history, Author: John M. Barry., Publisher: Penguin Books 1. publ. 2005
ISBN: 0195307143
Polio : an American story ; [the crusade that mobilized the nation against the 20th century's most feared disease], Author: David M. Oshinsky., Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press 2006
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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