Faculty at BU offer a number of courses that fall under the larger umbrella of Health Humanities. This list is partial and growing. Let us know if there are others that we should include!
Courses that deal with health and medicine from humanities and social science perspectives:
AN 210 Medical Anthropology: This lecture and discussion-driven course uses ethnographic case materials and active learning strategies to introduce students to socio-cultural anthropological modes of understanding and analyzing health-related experiences and institutions, including political and ethical dimensions of illness and suffering around the globe. BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry II, Ethical Reasoning, Research and Information Literacy. With Prof. Merav Shohet.
AN211 Humans Among Animals: Examines how humans understand (other) animals and their thought, feeling, and communication, and ways we humans in varied cultures and societies use animals for interaction and self-understanding. Interdisciplinary approach that considers language, aesthetics, ideology, practice, and regulation. BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, and Critical Thinking. With Prof. Parker Shipton.
AN220 Urban Anthropology: An introduction to classic and contemporary definitions of the city and ethnographic approaches to the study of urban life. Examines urban inequalities and the stratification of space by immigration, gender, racialization, and poverty. Participants conduct mini- ethnographic projects in the city of Boston. BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, The Individual in Community, Research and Information Literacy. With Prof. Ayşe Parla.
CL228 The History of Medicine in Ancient Greece and Rome: This course surveys the history of medical thought and practice in Greece and Rome, from the archaic to the Byzantine period. It examines developments in anatomy, pharmacology, psychology and nutrition, and analyzes texts by important ancient medical thinkers. Cannot be taken for credit in addition to CAS CL 328. BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Social Inquiry I, Research and Information Literacy. With Prof. James Uden.
HI 331 Drugs and Security in the Americas: (Meets with CAS IR 290). Drug trafficking is one of the greatest threats to security and stability in the Americas. In this class, we study how drug trafficking became such an immense problem and why it has been so difficult to solve. BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Ethical Reasoning. With Prof. Rachel Nolan.
HI343 Culture, Taste, Power: A Global History of Food: An exploration of the global history of food from prehistory to the present, considering the birth of agriculture, food in nations and empires, hunger and nutrition, and the future of eating, including examples from Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Digital/Multimedia Expression, Creativity/Innovation. With Prof. Benjamin Siegel.
PH 251 Medical Ethics: This course will survey ethical issues that arise in connection with medicine and emerging biotechnologies. It will examine topics such as the right to healthcare, research on human subjects, euthanasia, abortion, cloning, genetic selection, disabilities, and the biomedical enhancement of human capacities. Students can expect to gain not only training in the concepts and methods of moral philosophy and the logic of argumentation, but also the resources needed for assessing ethically difficult questions that healthcare professionals routinely face. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.
PH 266 Mind, Brain, and Self: Undergraduate Prerequisites: First Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 100 or WR 120). This course is devoted to exploring the relationships among consciousness, the mind, and the brain, the nature of the self or person, and other related topics. This course will also examine whether and to what extent these issues can be addressed by contemporary natural science. BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Writing-Intensive Course, Critical Thinking. With Prof. Walter Hopp.
PH 270 Philosophy of Science: Uses scientific examples from the study of physics, biology, and mind. Focuses on the aims of science, the nature of scientific understanding, the structure and interpretation of scientific theories, and the development of science. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
PH 436 Gender, Race, and Sciences: Undergraduate Prerequisites: sophomore standing. An upper-level exploration of topics in the philosophy of gender and philosophy of race, informed by historical and scientific inquiry. Explores philosophical questions about the nature of race and racism, sex and sexism. BU Hub areas: Ethical Reasoning, Social Inquiry I, Critical Thinking. With Prof. Samia Hesni.
RN106 Death and Immortality: Examines death as religious traditions have attempted to accept, defeat, deny, or transcend it. Do we have souls? Do they reincarnate? What to do with a corpse? Other topics include mourning, burial, cremation, martyrdom, resurrection, near-death experiences. BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Creativity/Innovation. With Prof. Laura Harrington.
RN 209 Religion, Health and Medicine: How religious and moral narratives inform approaches to biomedicine from the nineteenth century to the present, including understandings of disease, illness, health, sexuality, and the body. Topics include medicine and prayer, alternative medicine, and boundaries between medicine and religion. BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking. With Prof. Anthony Petro.
RN 239 Religion and Science: Examines the complex relationship between science and religion, focusing on historical episodes (e.g., the “Galileo Affair”) and current controversies (e.g., “Intelligent Design” movement’s influence on school curricula, “Spirituality and Health” research, and “Ecology and Religion.”)
RN 242/HI 203 Magic, Science, and Religion from Plato to Voltaire: Boundaries and relationships between magic, science, and religion in Europe from antiquity through the Enlightenment. Explores global cultural exchange, distinctions across social, educational, gender, and religious lines, the rise of modern science, and changing assumptions about God, Nature, and humanity. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Critical Thinking. With Prof. Deeana Klepper.
RN 246 Sex, Death, and the Buddha: An exploration of various Buddhist understandings of the ideal human life. Topics examined include: karma and rebirth, nonviolence and war, human and animal rights, suicide and euthanasia, as well as abortion and contraception. BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Critical Thinking, Ethical Reasoning. With Prof. April Hughes.
RN 248 Food and Religion: Explores the intersection of religion and food, using food to learn about religion and religion to study the role of food in human societies. Topics include feasting; fasting; feeding God(s), spirits, ancestors; eating/not eating animals; ingesting alcohol and psychoactive plants. BU Hub areas: The Individual in Community, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Teamwork/Collaboration. With Prof. Deeana Klepper.
SO 323 Markets in Biomedicine and Healthcare: Undergraduate Prerequisites: at least one previous Sociology course or consent of instructor. Complex ways in which market exchange impacts the practice of medicine, the delivery of patient care, and the medical profession; commodification of bodies and emotions; theoretical discussion of the market and overview of US health care system. BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry II, Ethical Reasoning, Teamwork/Collaboration. With Prof. Alya Guseva.
SO 334/434 Sociology of Mental Illness: Undergraduate Prerequisites: at least one previous Sociology course or consent of instructor. An evaluation of current theories and research on the social sources and consequences of mental illness. Featured topics for discussion include social-psychological perspectives on the definition, diagnosis, etiology, and treatment of mental disorders.
SO 418 Sociology of Medicine: Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous sociology courses; or consent of instructor. First Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 100 or WR 120). Focuses on the medical profession, sources of its power and authority, the effects of recent changes in financing and delivery of healthcare. Medical training and decision-making analyzed. Doctor-patient interaction and the use of alternative treatments. BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry II, Writing- Intensive Course, Research and Information Literacy. With Prof. Deborah Carr.
WS 101 Gender and Sexuality I: This course is the first semester of a two-semester introduction to women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, that considers the origins, diversity, and expression of gendered and sexed individuals. Topics include the evolutionary origin of sexes; evolution, development, and social construction of sex, gender, and sexuality; sexual difference, similarities and diversity in bodies, brains, and behavior. This interdisciplinary introduction is the required year-long gateway sequence for the minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Students who complete both halves of the two-semester sequence WS 101/102 receive divisional studies credit for two courses, from two different divisions: Natural Science (without lab), Social Science, and/or Humanities. Neither WS 101 nor WS 102 alone carries divisional studies credit. BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Scientific Inquiry I, Critical Thinking. With Prof. Karen Warkentin.
WS 102 Gender and Sexuality II: This course is the second semester of a two-semester introduction to women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, integrating approaches from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, with a focus on society and social relationships. We examine questions relating to violence, inequality, and family formation through an interdisciplinary gender lens. Students who complete both halves of the two-semester sequence WS 101/102 receive divisional studies credit for two courses, from two different divisions: Natural Science (without lab), Social Science, and/or Humanities. Neither WS 101 nor WS 102 alone carries divisional studies credit. BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.
WS 430 Global Maternal & Child Health: Provides a global perspective on maternal and child health. Major topics include early life influences on later life health, maternity care practices worldwide, and the role of both human evolutionary history and sociopolitical structures in shaping health outcomes for women and children. With Prof. Bria Dunham.