History and Evolution of Disease

History and Evolution of Disease                     FWS 2005-06
This summary represents the current planning and emphasis of the faculty team. (May 4, 2005)
By Kevin Francis, Janet Ott, and Nancy Cordell (James Neitzel will enter this program in the winter quarter.)

What questions will this program examine?
 How have diseases and humans coevolved?
 How have we defined “diseased” and “normal”?
 How have human actions in history influenced the course of diseases?
 How have diseases influenced human history? How have we (and do we now) react to diseases?
 What models or explanations have people used (in diverse times and places) to explain what diseases are and where they come from?
 How have diseases and our models for them been used as metaphors in creative work?

What class activities will we have?
 Seminars on readings of diverse nature.
 Lectures and workshops.
 Laboratory work.
 Student research (group and solo) and public presentations.

What skills do the faculty think are important that will be emphasized in this program?
 Close and careful reading using a variety of texts-primary sources, reviews, textbooks, short stories, novels, and research papers.
 Clear and effective writing.
 The ability to use mathematical ideas and models.
 The ability to work in the laboratory safely and efficiently.
 Informed and efficient use of the library and other information sources.
 The ability to prepare and carry out effective public presentations.
 The ability to work as an effective member of a problem solving group.
 Use ideas and models in specific disciplines such as biology, epidemiology, and philosophy of science.

What are examples of text materials that will be used?
(This list is a work in progress. We may not use all of these, and others may be added. It is an accurate representation of current faculty ideas and interests.)
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down Anne Fadiman
The Cholera Years Charles Rosenberg
The Social Transformation of American Medicine Paul Starr
Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond
Illness as Metaphor Susan Sontag
The Plague Camus
The Great Influenza John Barry
Yellow Fever, Black Goddess, Christopher Wills
Evolution of Infectious Disease
The Plague Year Daniel Defoe
Between Heaven and Earth
Endangered Lives: Public Health in Victorian England Anthony Wohl
Six Modern Plagues Mark Walters
William Styron Darkness Visible
Alfred Crosby Biological Imperialism
Thomas Mann, Walt Whitman, Chekhov, Louis Pasteur, Claude Bernard, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Hildegard of Bingen, Oliver Sacks, Ivan Illich

Course Equivalencies will likely be given in: Biology, History and Philosophy of Science, Quantitative Methods (statistics, mathematical modeling), composition.

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Last modified: 23 May 05