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Race and Medicine in America

AMST 256
Fall 2015
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: SISP 256
Course Cluster: Disability Studies, Health Studies, Queer Studies

This course will trace ideas of race in American medical science and its cultural contexts, 1840s-present. We will explore how configurations of racial difference have changed over time and how medical knowledge about the body has both influenced, and helped to shape, social, political, and popular cultural forces. We will interrogate the idea of medical knowledge as a "naturalizing" discourse that produces racial classifications as essential, and biologically based.

We will treat medical sources as primary documents, imagining them as but one interpretation of the meaning of racial difference, alongside alternate sources that will include political tracts, advertisements, photographs, newspaper articles, and so on. In doing so, we will make use of the archival materials at Wesleyan's library, and students will be responsible for collecting and displaying their own primary document evidence to contribute to the course.

Key concepts explored will include medicine under slavery, theories of racial hierarchy and evolution, the eugenics movement, "race-specific" medications and diseases, public health politics and movements, genetics and modern "roots" projects, transracial adoption and surrogacy, intersections of race and disability.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS AMST
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)(HRAD-MN)(IDEA-MN)(IDEA)(STS)
Past Enrollment Probability: 50% - 74%

Last Updated on MAY-24-2024
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