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The following courses are being offered during the Fall 2020 semester. All of the courses listed are related to the health humanities and qualify for the undergraduate Literature, Medicine, and Culture minor and/or MA concentration in Literature, Medicine, and Culture. This is list is not yet complete and will be regularly updated.

African, African American, and Diaspora Studies

AAAD 300: Cultures of Heath and Healing in Africa
Lydia Boyd | TuTh 3:30-4:45

This course explores contemporary economic, political, and social factors influencing the health and welfare of African peoples. Emphasis is placed on understanding the cultural perspectives that shape non-Western experiences of health, disease, and notions of spiritual and physical well-being. Readings draw from the fields of anthropology, history, and public health.

American Studies

AMST 055: FYS: Birth and Death in the United States
Timothy Marr | TuTh 12:30-1:45

This course explores birth and death as common human rites of passage impacted by changing American historical and cultural contexts. Since both are defining life events that remain beyond experiential recall, studying them in interdisciplinary ways opens powerful insights into how culture mediates the construction of bodies, social identities, and philosophical meanings. Readings and assignments are designed to examine changing anthropological rituals, medical procedures, scientific technologies, and ethical quandaries. We will also explore a variety of representations of birth and death in literary expression, film, and material culture as well as in hospitals, funeral homes, and cemeteries.

AMST 715: Community Histories and Public Humanities 
Robert Allen | W 5:00-7:50PM

Community Histories and Public Humanities explores how communities have been, are, and might be preserved, documented, represented, and remembered. Focuses on the use of digitized primary sources and tools to engage communities in public history/humanities initiatives using interdisciplinary approaches informed by American Studies and Folklore. Participants have opportunity to work on ongoing community history/archiving projects. Project-based work is supported by reading in memory studies, representation, sites of trauma, community archiving, and oral history.

PLEASE NOTE: The Fall 2020 offering of AMST 715 will build on and advance work on the history of the insane asylum in the U.S., focusing on historical records of the Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh, NC.  The Community Histories Workshop has collected more than 10,000 publicly accessible records from the period 1856-1920, and from them created the first comprehensive, searchable database of a 19th century U.S. insane asylum.  The records and data are now hosted and managed by the Odum Institute for Social Science Research. The course will be organized around the production of coordinated individual case studies (extended blog posts) that can inform teaching/learning about the history of mental health in North Carolina across a range of disciplinary and professional areas at UNC and among interested community groups.

The course will be conducted entirely online and can accommodate participants who live/work outside the Chapel Hill area as well as those with full-time work commitments. Graduate and professional students from all disciplines, clinical professionals, and University staff are welcome. Those interested should contact Professor Robert Allen (  Enrollment is limited and is by instructor’s permission.


ANTH 053H: Darwin’s Dangerous Idea
Paul Leslie | TuTh 9:30-10:45

Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is central to one of the most profound revolutions in the history of thought, generating stunning insights but also some misunderstanding and tragic abuse. This seminar aims to provide a clear understanding of how natural selection works, and how it doesn’t. We will examine objections to the theory; how the environmental and health problems we face today reflect processes of natural selection; and recent attempts to understand why we get sick, how we respond to disease, why we get old, why we choose mates the way we do, and more. Class sessions will feature a mix of lecture and discussion of concepts and issues. Students will also engage in small group projects and cooperative explorations of problems raised in class or in the readings and/or designing mini research projects.

ANTH 147: Comparative Healing Systems 
Michele Rivkin-Fish | TuTh 2:00-3:15PM

In this course we compare a variety of healing beliefs and practices so that students may gain a better understanding of their own society, culture, and medical system.

ANTH 270: Living Medicine
Martha King | TuTh 1:25-2:15PM

This course examines the social and cultural experience of medicine, the interpersonal and personal aspects of healing and being healed. It explores how medicine shapes and is shaped by those who inhabit this vital arena of human interaction: physicians, nurses, other professionals and administrators; patients; families; friends and advocates.

ANTH 278: Women in Science (WGST 287)
Nicole Else-Quest | TuTh 9:30-10:45AM

The role of women in scientific domains throughout history and a consideration of the status of women and men as scientists. The development of science as a cultural practice.

ANTH 326: Practicing Medical Anthropology
Martha King | Th 9:30AM-12:15PM

A workshop on careers in medical anthropology and the kinds of contributions that medical anthropologists make to health care professions. Students will learn skills including interviewing methods, writing for diverse audiences, blogging. Intended for medical anthropology minors and students interested in bringing anthropological perspectives to a range of practical contexts.

ANTH 437: Evolutionary Medicine
Charles Hilton | TuTh 9:30-10:45AM

This course explores evolutionary dimensions of variation in health and disease in human populations. Topics include biocultural and evolutionary models for the emergence of infectious and chronic diseases and cancers.

ANTH 442: Health and Gender After Socialism
Michele Rivkin-Fish | TuTh 5:00-6:15PM

This course examines postsocialist experiences of the relationship between political, economic, social, and cultural transitions, and challenges in public health and gender relations.

ANTH 448: Health and Gender in the American South
Martha King | MWF 11:15AM-12:05PM

This course examines ways we can understand the history and culture of a region through the experience of health and healthcare among its people. With an anthropological approach, this course considers the individual, social, and political dimensions of medicalized bodies in the American South from the 18th century through the current day.

ANTH 471: Biocultural Perspectives on Maternal and Child Health
Staff | TuTh 3:30-4:45PM

This course explores maternal and child health from an evolutionary, biocultural, and global health perspective. It focuses on the physiological, ecological, and cultural factors shaping health and takes a life course perspective to examine childhood development, reproductive processes such as pregnancy, birth and lactation, and menopause and aging

Asian Studies

ARAB 214: Medicine and Modernity in the Arab World
Ana Viena | TuTh 3:30-4:45pm

The course introduces students to questions of medicine and modernity in the Arab world from the 19th century to the present. It takes medicine as a lens for understanding the formation of the modern Arab world, connecting medical practices, institutions, and understandings of the body, on one hand, with wider formation like colonialism, nationalism, gender norms, state power, violence, technology, or religion, on the other hand. The course approaches medicine from an anthropological perspective and provides in this way an introduction to the field of medical anthropology, a domain of inquiry that approaches health and disease not simply as biological states, but also as cultural and historical processes.

English & Comparative Literature

ENGL 057H: Future Perfect: Science Fictions and Social Form
Matthew Taylor | ThTu 2:00-3:15PM

What will our world look like in ten years? Fifty? One hundred? Will the future be a utopian paradise or a dystopian wasteland? Through a wide-ranging survey of popular science writing, novels, and films, this first year seminar will examine fictional and nonfictional attempts to imagine the future from the nineteenth century to the present. We will explore everything from futurology and transhumanism to warnings of imminent environmental collapse. Our focus will be less on assessing the accuracy of these predictions and more on determining what they tell us about the hopes and fears of the times in which they were made. The course will culminate in a short research paper on a future-oriented topic of your choosing.

ENGL 266: Science and Literature (Into the Woods: Literature and Nature)
Margaret O’Shaughnessey | MWF 1:25-2:15PM

This course will focus on the role of trees in the landscape and the ecosystem of the North Carolina Piedmont.  Readings, mainly contemporary nonfiction, will explore issues connected with forestry, ecology, urban development, sustainability, and human health.  The service component of the course will involve a partnership with the North Carolina Botanical Garden.  Students will conduct individual and group projects which serve the conservation mission of the Botanical Garden.  The course is especially suitable for students who enjoy the outdoors, who want deeper knowledge of the ecosystem around them, and/or enjoy reading literature about the interaction of humans with the natural world.

ENGL 268: Medicine, Literature and Culture
Jane Thrailkill | Tu 8:00-8:50AM

An introduction to key topics that focus on questions of representation at the intersections of medicine, literature, and culture.

ENGL 610: Practicum in Health Humanities
Jane Thrailkill | Th 2:00-5:00PM

This course introduces advanced undergraduates and graduates students to topics, methods, and concepts in health humanities through practical learning experiences. Hands-on activities include writing workshops, bi-weekly lab meetings in HHIVE Lab, Health Humanities Grand Rounds, visits to UNC libraries, expert speakers presenting on their current research projects, and outside lectures and art experiences at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke Universities. By following their interests and exploring UNC-CH’s extraordinary resources, students will develop a particular area of inquiry and pursue opportunities for further learning through research, engagement, collaboration and service.

ENGL 763: Introduction to Health Humanities Methods
Kym Weed | Tu 2:00-4:50PM

This interdisciplinary graduate seminar will introduce students to topics and methods in health humanities. In recent years, scholars have sought to define the field of health humanities as a broader and more inclusive set of research practices and objects of study than related fields like medical humanities. Therefore, this course will sample critical and creative texts that represent this field-expanding trend. Students will read foundational critical texts in health humanities and related fields including medical humanities, narrative medicine, disability studies, medical anthropology, graphic medicine, and rhetoric of health and medicine along with a series of primary texts. Together, we will define the scope, methods, and values that constitute the field of health humanities.


GEOG 052: FYS: Political Ecology of Health and Disease
Michael Emch | TuTh 12:30-1:45PM

This course examines the ecology of infectious diseases including environmental and anthropogenic drivers of those diseases. During the semester we will focus on several case studies of diseases including COVID-19, malaria, cholera, and HIV/AIDS. The biophysical and evolutionary drivers of diseases will be examined as well as the political, economic, social, and environmental systems that shape health and disease across spatial and temporal scales. A political ecological framework is used to examine such topics as how political forces and economic interests helped shape the HIV/AIDS and malaria pandemics in Africa and beyond. We will also examine how emerging infectious diseases such as COVID-19 diffuse through populations and how public health efforts and geographical and epidemiological modelling and analyses can be used to predict and limit their spread.

Health Behavior 

HBEH 700: Foundations of Health Equality, Social Justice, and Human Rights
Alexandra Lightfoot and Deborah Stroman | 2:00-4:30PM

The course will expose students to the broad context through which public health practitioners and researchers understand and address public health issues in regards to health equity, social justice and human rights. This course will provide students with an overview of the field, as well as an introduction to concepts and topics that are relevant across the MPH curriculum

Health Policy and Management

HPM 330: Introduction to Health Organization Leadership, Management, and Behavior
Jackie Siler, Morris Weinberger | We 3:35-6:35PM

Team-based service learning in a hospital, health center, or other organization to facilitate learning about leading teams, organizations, partnerships, and global initiatives. Change, conflict, human resources, and other topics are addressed through readings, cases, reflections, and guest practitioners.

HPM BSPH Majors Only

Information and Library Sciences 

INLS 690: Disability Information and Informatics
Amelia Gibson | Th 2:00-4:45PM

This course introduces students to a range of issues related to disability, information, technology, and information systems as social infrastructure. The course will comprise three main components: reading and participation (25%), contribution to a CEDI digital/data defense project (30%), and a panel presentation in the Symposium on Information for Social Good (35%). Students in the course will read, watch, and discuss a mix of personal accounts, empirical research, commentary, and theory related to information, technology, place, communities, and disability. The course is designed to allow students to gain broad exposure, while choosing an area of focus that aligns with your interests and/or career goals.

Media and Journalism

MEJO 562: Environmental and Science Documentary Television
Instructor TBD | Th 4:00-6:45PM

Students work in teams to conceive, produce, and script mini-documentaries on environmental and science topics for broadcast on North Carolina Public Television.


PHIL 154: Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Michael Prinzing | MWF 9:05-9:55AM

How do social sciences explain human actions? Are there social facts over and above facts about various individuals? Do values enter into social science?

PHIL 211: Perspectives on Gender, Race, and Marginality in Ancient Greek Philosophy, Science, and Medicine
Mariska Leunissen | Tu 2:00-4:30PM

This course studies through the examination of several infamous, ignored, or otherwise uncharted Ancient Greek texts the views about gender and race as presented in ancient Greek philosophy, medicine, and science. Our aims are to generate a new understanding of how the male elite used such views to further promote or justify (or perhaps challenge) the existing marginalization and silencing of women, foreigners, and less privileged men.

Public Policy

PLCY 76H: Global Health Policy
Benjamin Meier | TuTh 11:00AM-12:15PM

This course provides students with a variety of opportunities to understand the epidemiologic trends in world health, the institutions of global health governance, and the effects of globalization on global and national health policy.

PLCY 570: Health and Human Rights
Benjamin Meier | TuTh 3:30-4:45PM

Course focuses on rights-based approaches to health, applying a human rights perspective to selected public health policies, programs, and interventions. Students will apply a formalistic human rights framework to critical public health issues, exploring human rights as both a safeguard against harm and a catalyst for health promotion.

PLCY 575: Innovation, Science, and Public Policy
Maryann Feldman | MW 9:05-10:20AM

Introduction to analysis of science policy. Course explores how events transformed science’s role in American life and how science relates to industry and economic development. Topics include the mechanisms of allocating scientific resources, the commercialization of academic discoveries, regulating emerging technology, and achieving consensus on controversial scientific issues.

Public Health

PUBH 711: Critical Issues in Global Health
Karine Dube | TuTh 5:00-6:15PM

Explores contemporary issues/controversies in global health through an interdisciplinary perspective; examines complexity of social, economic, political, and environmental factors affecting global health; analyzes global health disparities through a social justice lens; and exposes students to opportunities in global health work and research.


SOCY 172: Introduction to Population Health in the United States
Alyssa Browne | MWF 2:30-3:20PM

This course aims to provide an introduction to the study of population health in the United States. Key goals include understanding the measurement and theoretical frameworks underlying the study of population health, understanding trends and disparities in U.S. population health, and understanding policy options to improve population health.

SOCI 442: Sociology of Mental Health and Illness
Alexis Dennis | MWF 2:30-3:20PM
Katrina Branecky | MWF 1:25-2:15PM

Examines the uniqueness of the sociological perspective in understanding mental health and illness. Draws upon various theoretical perspectives to best understand patterns, trends, and definitions of mental health and illness in social context. Focuses on how social factors influence definitions, perceptions, patterns, and trends of mental health and illness.

SOCI 469: Health and Society
Liana Richardson | TuTh 11:00AM-12:15PM

The primary objective of the course is to explain how and why particular social arrangements affect the types and distribution of diseases, as well as the types of health promotion and disease prevention practices that societies promote.

SOCI 863: Sociology of Health, Illness, and Healing
Liana Richardson | Th 12:30-3:00PM

The primary objective of the course is to explain how and why particular social arrangements affect the types and distribution of diseases, as well as the types of health promotion and disease prevention practices that societies promote.


SPAN 321: Spanish for the Medical Professions I
Elena Pena Argueso | MWF 9:05-9:55AM or 10:10-111:00AM
Staff | TuTh 12:30-1:45PM

All-skills course with review of grammar, extensive writing and speaking practice. Vocabulary, readings, and activities geared toward the language of health care professions in the context of the United States Hispanic community.

Prerequisite, SPAN 261.

Open only to students in the minor in Spanish for the professions. Students may receive credit for only one of SPAN 320, 321, or 323.

SPAN 373: Studies in Latin American Literature: Contagion, Disease and Literature in Spanish America
Juan Carlos Gonzálex Espitia | TuTh 11:00AM-12:15PM

The fear of communicable disease is way older than our present COVID-19 fright. This course seeks to study the literature of Spanish America from pre-Columbian times to the present from the perspective of contagion and disease. We will examine the work of representative authors (both canonical and less-studied) from various literary movements in their sociohistorical contexts. Contagion is linked to literature because it is usually presented as a narrative (crisis in medias res, search for cause, characters, setting, plot, conflict, desired resolution). Contagion and disease are also a rich source of knowledge from a literary perspective because of their high allusive power. We will examine texts that present disease as theme, as aesthetic approach, as self-representation, or as metaphor. Disease and illness, or the sick and diseased as represented in literature will serve as vehicles to assess cultural tensions (e.g. coloniality, politics, artistic pursuit, gender, economics, aesthetics). Class discussion and dynamic and continuous engagement is absolutely expected of all participants.

Women’s and Gender Studies

WGST  278: Women in Science
Nicole Else-Quest | TuTh 9:30-10:45AM

The role of women in scientific domains throughout history and a consideration of the status of women and men as scientists. The development of science as a cultural practice.