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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.


AAAD 387, HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Diaspora
Lydia Boyd | TTh 4:45–6:00pm (Remote Only – Synchronous)

This course explores the history and contemporary politics of HIV/AIDS in African communities and across the Diaspora. The differing trajectories of the epidemic on the continent, in the West, and in the Caribbean and Latin America will be explored.


American Studies

AMST 715: Community Histories and Public Humanities: Recovering and Representing the Asylum
Robert Allen | W 5:00-7:50pm (Remote Only – Mostly Asynchronous)

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 Spring 2021 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.


Asian Studies

ARAB 353: Science and Society in the Middle East
Ana Vinea | TuTh 3:30-4:45pm (Remote Only – Synchronous)

In the public imagination, as well as in scholarly work, the Middle East is a region most frequently associated with gender, politics, Islam, and their relationship. In this class, we approach the region from a different angle: that of the social scientific study of science and technology broadly understood. This allows both for a different (and wider) perspective on the region and offers an occasion to approach these classical themes (gender, politics, and religion) from unexpected angles. Drawing on works from anthropology and history, the class investigates how scientific theories and practices transform, interact with, and are shaped and shape processes of state and class formation, debates and reconfigurations in the religious field, the management of individual bodies and the population, and cultural processes in the modern Middle East (from the 19th century to the present).

The course is divided into two main units. The first unit focuses on the transformations and debates brought by the introduction and development of various scientific knowledge, practices, and technologies in the Middle East beginning with the 19th century. We will read about debates around Western science among religious scholars, the translation and reception of Darwin’s work, the role of science in social class formation, and the role of technologies such as trains, the telegraph, or the telephone in changing conceptions of time and space. The second unit of the course focuses on two main areas of contemporary theoretical and empirical innovation in the study of the Arab world: environmental anthropology and history (especially in relation to the role of resources such as water and oil) and medical anthropology.

Thematically focused on the social scientific study of science in the Middle East, the course weaves this content with an emphasis on training students to critically engage with scholarly literature, to develop their skills in academic writing and argumentation, to conduct research with secondary sources, and to present the results of research to a wider audience. All assignments and the selection of readings are geared toward cultivating research-related skills while learning about science and society in the Middle East.



ANTH 147: Comparative Healing Systems
Jocelyn Chua | MWF 1:25-2:15pm + Recitation (Remote Only – Synchronous)

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 12:30-1:45pm + Recitation (Remote Only – Synchronous)

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
Nicole Else-Quest | TuTh 2:00-3:15pm (Remote Only – Synchronous)

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 319, Global Health
Amanda Thompson | MWF 10:10–11:00am + Recitation (Remote Only – Mostly Asynchronous (Lec) & Synchronous (Rec))

This class explores some of the historical, biological, economic, medical, and social issues surrounding globalization and health consequences.

ANTH 470: Medicine and Anthropology
Martha King | MWF 12:20-1:10pm + Recitation (Remote Only – Mostly Asynchronous (Lec) & Synchronous (Rec))

This course examines cultural understandings of health, illness, and medical systems from an anthropological perspective with a special focus on Western medicine. (Crosslisted as FOLK470)

ANTH 850: Engaged Ethnography

Angela Stuesse | W 12:20-2:50PM (Remote Only – Synchronous)

What is engaged ethnography? We often speak of engaged research, but what does it look like on the ground? How is it represented through textual narrative? And what difference does it make in the “real” world? In this seminar students “engage” these questions in an examination of ethnographies produced by politically- and community-engaged researchers, exploring how methodologies, epistemologies, and the products of research are transformed by various forms of engagement.
ANTH  897: Seminar in Selected Topics: Environment, Population, and Human Well-Being
Paul Leslie | Fr 9:05-11:35AM (Remote Only – Synchronous)
ANTH 898: Anthropological Perspectives on Trauma
Jocelyn Chua | W 9:05-11:35AM (Remote Only – Synchronous)


ENGL 071H, Healers & Patients
Kym Weed | MWF 11:15am–12:05pm (Remote Only – Synchronous)

When medical anthropologist Arthur Kleinman writes that “illness has meaning,” he reminds us that the human experience of being sick involves more than bodily symptoms. Moreover, the effects of illness and debility are rarely confined to one person. In this course, we will analyze a diverse collection of writers who have taken as their topic the human struggle to make sense of suffering and debility through a range of genres including fiction, non-fiction, graphic memoir, podcasts, and oral histories.

Divided into five units, the course will allow us to explore not just the medical, but also the personal, ethical, cultural, spiritual, and political facets of illness from the perspectives of patients, healers, families, and communities. Throughout the semester, students will utilize the growing archive of oral histories from the Stories to Save Lives project to learn more about the experiences of patients, healers, and families from across North Carolina.

ENGL 269, Introduction to Disability Studies
Kym Weed | MWF 9:05–9:55am (Remote Only – Synchronous)

Disability Studies is an interdisciplinary field that, according to Simi Linton, “aims to expose the ways that disability has been made exceptional and to work to naturalize disabled people.” Almost every human will experience a significant illness or disability in their lifetime; therefore, investigating the lived experience, representations, and cultural understandings of disability give us insight into the ever-changing relationship between our bodies, selves, and worlds.

This course will introduce students to key critical concepts and debates in the field of Disability Studies by drawing on multiple disciplinary perspectives. Through readings (critical essays, fiction, memoir, poetry, and film), guest lectures, and professor and student-led discussion, students in this course will be introduced to the biomedical, social, and justice models of disability; explore the histories of disability communities and activists; examine representations of disability; and study how multiple forms of inequality and oppression intersect with disability and disability justice work.

ENGL 695: Health Humanities Research Seminar
Jane Thrailkill | Th 2:00-5:00pm (In Person + Remote)

In this project-centered course, you will learn about health humanities as an interdisciplinary field and try out different qualitative research techniques. Our class theme is Aging: what the writer Robin Morgan described as “a place of merciless poetry,” “fierce discipline,” and “quiet beauty.” Accordingly, course texts will include literary, artistic, and expressive works that address such topics as longevity, frailty, resilience, disability, community, solitude, mortality, and spirituality. We will also read more medically oriented materials drawn from anthropology, occupational therapy, geriatrics and the health sciences. Because this is a skills-based course, the reading assignments for ENGL 695 are relatively short (roughly 50 pp per week). Over the semester, students will keep a lab notebook, write short response papers, complete CITI ethics training (authorizing you to participate in human subject research), write ethnographic reflections, engage in analysis of narrative data, develop a research project (individual or team-based), write a SURF grant application, and participate in a poster presentation.

Note: ENGL 695 counts for the Med/Lit/Culture Minor and MA, the Graduate Certificate in Health Humanities, and the Dept. of ECL Concentration in Science, Medicine, & Literature.

ENGL 886: Theories of Nature and the Human (co-taught with Priscilla Wald, Duke)
Matt Taylor and Priscilla Wald | W 4:40-7:40PM (Remote Only – Synchronous)

This class will explore changing theories of nature and the human by examining three conceptual clusters in their broad historical moments: state of nature and natural rights and law (colonial encounter and the Enlightenment); evolution and ecology (mid 19th century); and eugenics, biopolitics, and biotechnology (the long twentieth century). We will start by considering how changing ideas about “nature” informed such concepts as “natural law” and “natural rights” and how they evolved through the idea and settlement of “America.” Ranging across oceans, genres, and media, the class will then focus on key developments in the sciences and political philosophy and their relationship to innovations in the literary and visual arts. Broadly speaking, we will consider the centrality of theories of nature and the human to the co-emergence of scientific and humanistic thinking—of their similarities and antagonisms. Our working premise in this class is that these conceptions underpin the broad assumptions—we might call them “cosmologies”—that we make about the world and, more specifically for our purposes, that a sense of how theories of nature change and how they shape our thinking is crucial for understanding “theory” more generally.
The wide range of works considered in this class will allow us to investigate how ideas circulate across media, genres, historical periods, and cultures. Accordingly, the course will include discussions not only of the topics covered by the readings, but also of method and approach: how we understand categories such as “theory,” “literature,” “history,” “life,” and “popular culture,” and how we might approach them in scholarship and in the classroom. There will also be an emphasis on pedagogy throughout this class.


FOLK 470: Medicine and Anthropology
Martha King | MWF 12:20-1:10pm + Recitation (Remote Only – Mostly Asynchronous (Lec) & Synchronous (Rec))

This course examines cultural understandings of health, illness, and medical systems from an anthropological perspective with a special focus on Western medicine. (Crosslisted as ANTH 470)

FOLK 860: The Art of Ethnography
Glenn Hinson | TuTH 2:00-3:15pm (Remote Only – Synchronous)

A field-based exploration of the pragmatic, ethical, and theoretical dimensions of ethnographic research, addressing issues of experience, aesthetics, authority, and worldview through the lens of cultural encounter. Field research required. (Crosslisted as ANTH 860)



HNRS 089: Medicine and Narrative: Writing COVID/Writing Us
Terry Holt | M 2:00-4:30pm (Remote Only – Synchronous)

A workshop in autobiographical and creative short story, focusing on the complex connections between story-telling, interpretive skill, and the practice of medicine. Students will write and distribute autobiographical and and creative short stories about illness and medical care; the seminar will meet weekly to discuss these stories, attempting to identify and articulate the key issues each story expresses about what it means to be sick, what it might mean to take care of others in their illness. The writing and (especially) interpretive skills acquired in this workshop are directly valuable to anyone contemplating a career in medicine, but are equally valuable to anyone who might at some point encounter (in themselves or in someone they care for) the trauma of illness. In addition to the weekly workshop, participants will have one-on-one conferences with the instructor (himself an MD with an international reputation as a writer). The capstone project will be a public reading (via webinar, allowing participants to invite an audience from anywhere on the globe) of participants’ work, which may (at student option) be in the form of a film composed under guidance of experts at the University’s Media Resources Center illustrating images and themes from the written work.



PHIL 89.002 – FYS: Ethics and the History of Human and Animal Experimentation
Rebecca Walker | TuTh 12:30-1:45 pm (Remote Only – Synchronous)

There are many historical examples of unethical uses of both human and nonhuman animals in science including the 40 year-long Tuskegee syphilis study and isolation experiments on infant monkeys in the 1950¿s. Yet whether or not a study is ethically sound is often much more complicated a matter than in these studies, and even for these studies, scientists at the time thought they were morally acceptable. This is a course about the ethics and history of animal and human subject experimentation. Issues to be addressed include: the history of the animal model in science; contentions in sorting the balance of harms and benefits of research; changing conceptions of role obligations, virtues, and identity of the `good scientist¿; the development of the vulnerable research subject; and evolving views of human and animal moral standing and rights. Students in this course will participate actively, take a leadership role in at least one session, and write on the course themes including one independent project.


Public Policy

PLCY 565: Global Health Policy
Benjamin Meier | TTh 11:00am–12:15pm (Remote Only – Synchronous)

Coursework will focus on public policy approaches to global health, employing interdisciplinary methodologies to understand selected public health policies, programs, and interventions. For students who have a basic understanding of public health.



SOCI 172: Introduction to Population Health
Robert Hummer | T/TH 11:00am-12:15pm (Remote Only – Synchronous)
Alyssa Brown | MWF 1:25-2:15pm (Remote Only – Synchronous)

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 422 Sociology of Mental Health and Illness
Taylor Hargrove | TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm (Remote Only – Synchronous)
Alexis Dennis | TuTh 3:30-4:45pm (Remote Only – Synchronous)

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 (Remote Only – Synchronous)
Liana Richardson | TuTh 12:30-1:45pm (Remote Only – Synchronous)

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 833: Socioeconomic Factors in Fertility
Yong Cai | T 11:45am-2:15pm (Remote Only – Synchronous)

Study of fertility differentials by social and economic factors, changes over time, the manner in which these factors affect fertility, and the implications thereof for fertility-control programs.