This course is multidisciplinary, drawing on knowledge from the natural and social sciences, the humanities, the arts, and various professions including medicine, nursing, and social work. The course deals with a wide range of subjects from the biology of HIV and the medical treatment of AIDS to the politics and sociology of a world-wide epidemic, activism, artistic creation in the midst of a terrible disaster, and complex phenomena of sexuality, class, religion, global politics, and culture as they bear on HIV and AIDS. The first core idea of this course is that diseases cannot generally be understood simply as biological/medical entities. Economics, politics, culture, social patterns, law, issues of justice are all factors that affect the nature of a disease, its appearance in populations, and the health outcomes of its victims. This is especially true for HIV/AIDS. The second core idea is that individuals can make a difference. In our readings, films, and classes we will learn about people who have tried to make the world a better place even as they confronted a pandemic of an incurable, often fatal disease. Each individual in our class could, if he or she wanted to, make such a choice in the realms of personal or professional life.
Two-essays. Quizzes on every assignment (about 20 per semester).
Lecture and in-class discussion; many guest speakers