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The following courses are being offered during the Spring 2024 semester. This list does not capture all of the possible courses, but rather a selection of recommended courses for students interested in health humanities at UNC.

All of the courses listed are related to the health humanities and may qualify for health humanities related degree programs. Please note that there is a limit on the number of courses that can double-count toward two or more minors/majors. Students enrolled in multiple programs should work closely with academic advising when selecting courses. 

Are you teaching or do you know about other health humanities courses? Send your recommendations and/or corrections to

ENGL 57H: First Year Seminar: Future Perfect: Science Fictions and Social Form
Dr. Matthew Taylor | TuThu 11am-12:15pm

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 71H: First Year Seminar: Healers and Patients
Dr. Kym Weed | MoWeFri 12:20-1:10pm

In this course, we will analyze a diverse collection of writers who work to make sense of illness and disability through a range of genres including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, 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, and political facets of illness from the perspectives of patients, healthcare providers, and families. Additionally, students will explore a set of oral histories to learn more about the experiences of patients, healthcare providers, and families from across North Carolina.

ENGL 264: Healing in Ethnography and Literature (Crosslisted as ANTH 272)
Dr. Jane Thrailkill & Dr. Michele Rivkin-Fish | TuTh 3:30-4:45pm + Recitation

This course brings together literary and ethnographic methods to explore narratives of illness, suffering, and healing, and medicine’s roles in these processes. Themes include illness narratives, outbreak narratives, collective memory and healing from social trauma, and healers’ memoirs. 

ENGL 268H: Medicine, Literature, and Culture
Dr. Matthew Taylor | TuThu 2-3:15pm

“How is solving a crime like diagnosing an illness? Why do descriptions of diseases follow narrative patterns? What’s behind the rhetoric of “battling” disease, and why are social problems often characterized as “ills,” “plagues,” and “cancers”? How have notions of “health” and “normality” resulted in such things as forced sterilization and genocide? What are the cultural meanings associated with “life” and “death”? What do the stories we create—about disability and disease, about who (and what) has the power to heal, about the fear of death and desire for transcendence—tell us about our culture, our history, and the experience of being human?

This course will provide an introduction to Health Humanities, a new area of study that combines methods and topics from literary studies, medicine, cultural studies, and anthropology. We’ll read novels, screen films and television episodes, learn about illnesses and treatments, and hear expert speakers as we investigate the close affinities among literary representation, medical science, and clinical practice. We’ll also play close attention to how ideas about sickness and health have changed over time and across cultures. Topics will include the doctor-patient relationship, medical detection, the rise of psychiatry, illness and social exclusion, pandemics and the “outbreak narrative,” government eugenics programs, the quest for immortality, and end-of-life care.”

ENGL 269: Introduction to Disability Studies
Dr. Kym Weed | MoWeFri 10:10-11am

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), pre-recorded presentations, and virtual 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.

CMPL 288: Graphic Medicine: The Intersection of Health and Comics (Cross listed as GSSL 288)
Priscilla Layne | TuTh 3:30-4:45pm

We will explore the unique possibilities of comics in the form of graphic medicine: namely comics that thematize physical and mental health. How do comic artists work through issues of trauma and pain? How do artists with chronic illness and disabilities articulate their experience through comics? This course engages with the Medical Humanities, seeking to bring together students of medicine along with students of the humanities to contemplate how we communicate physical and mental illness.

ENGL 394: Misbehaving Bodies: Dis/ease, Dis/order, & Dis/topia in Latinx Fiction and Film
Dr. Ylce Irizarry | MWF 10:10-11:00am

*Note: This course is part of the LSP minor but includes topics of interest for students interested in health humanities. Students enrolled in the LSP minor may not be able to count this course toward another degree program. Please consult your academic advisor to review your minor/major requirements. 

This course explores how Latinx fiction and film portray diasporic ”misbehaving” bodies. We will explore how bodies not conforming to desired ”norms” are treated both within global society and within their own multi-ethno-racial diasporic communities.

ENGL 487: Everyday Stories: Personal Narrative and Legend (Cross listed as FOLK 487)
Dr. Jordan Lovejoy | TuTh 2:00-3:15pm

Oral storytelling may seem old-fashioned, but we tell true (or possibly true) stories every day. We will study personal narratives (about our own experiences) and legends (about improbable, intriguing events), exploring the techniques and structures that make them effective communication tools and the influence of different contexts and audiences.

ENGL 687: Queer LatinX Environmentalisms
Dr. Mariá DeGuzman | MWF 2:30-3:20pm

*Note for undergraduate students: This course is part of the LSP minor but includes topics of interest for students interested in health humanities. Students enrolled in the LSP minor may not be able to count this course toward another degree program. Please consult your academic advisor to review your minor/major requirements. 

*Note for ECL PhD students: Graduate students may receive seminar credit for this class if they complete an approximately 25-page seminar paper.

This mixed level graduate and advanced undergraduate course examines queer LatinX literature from the late 1980s to the present as it intersects with ecological and environmentalist concerns. LatinX literature is multi-ethno-racial and, even when emerging from the United Sates, is multi-national in terms of dovetailing with other national heritage cultures. We explore how these cultural productions question normative assumptions about the “order of things,” the “naturalness” of nature, and the “inevitability” of the historical exploitations of coloniality and the ongoing predations of neocolonialism. We pay close attention to LatinX cultural productions that approach cosmology, ecology, and environmental justice from queer perspectives and that queer ecological concerns from minoritized perspectives. “Queer” and “LatinX” combined with one another and modifying “Environmentalisms” signal other ways of thinking, doing, being, and becoming. These other ways entail exploring concepts of “nature” entangled with and dis-entangled from the coercive essentialisms of “natural law” and the violent settler-colonialism informing patriarchal capitalist “normalcy”; thinking beyond the blinders of heteronormative and species-hierarchical traditional humanism; perceiving and valuing multiple forms of kinship between humans and between humans and other life forms; ceasing to measure worth by a compulsory procreational model; conceiving sustainable interdependencies and thriving assemblages; and cultivating the diversity of diversity as part of salvaging what remains of biodiversity in this time of human-induced global and planetary crisis. With every text, film, and other cultural production, we will be exploring its aesthetic dimensions (hence FC-AESTH) in relation to its socio-political dimensions (FC-POWER).

ENGL 695: Research Seminar in Health Humanities
Dr. Jordynn Jack | TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm

This course focuses on research methods in the Health Humanities that can be used to develop interdisciplinary, independent or team-based projects. We will practice ethnographic, archival, and rhetorical analysis methods that can be used to contribute to current challenges in health practice and public humanities. This course is best suited for students at any level (undergraduate to graduate); undergraduates should have taken at least one other course in health humanities or a related field.

ENGL 709: Introduction to Digital Humanities
Dr. Courtney Rivard

This course provides an introduction to the landscape of digital humanities history, theories, tools, and methods with a focus on humanities data. While humanists have often distanced their work from notions of data, instead seeing their research as involving texts, objects, performance, and archives, these materials are increasingly being conceived as humanities data. Conceiving of this material as data opens new methodologies, forms of scholarship, and collaborative possibilities, though each is not without problematic aspects that demand attention. Together, we will explore the affordances and constraints of approaches to humanities data in archives and metadata, text analysis, data visualization, mapping, and game studies. Within each of these areas, students will assess leading theories and learn hands-on tools and methods in order to create a digital humanities seminar project on a topic of their choosing. This class is designed for graduate students who are tech-curious but not yet experienced with coding or working with data.

ENGL 825: Early Modern English Medical Discourse and Literature
Dr. Mary Floyd-Wilson

In this course, we will read a range of texts on early modern medicine, including plague tracts, anatomical treatises, regimens, herbals, and midwifery manuals to consider how this material may inform our understanding of the period’s beliefs about bodies, sex, gender, emotions, temperament, disease, mortality, and sin. We will also examine how this medical discourse can instruct our interpretation of more familiar literary genres of the period, including drama, poetry, and prose. We will ask a range of questions, such as: What social narratives can we discern in medical writing? Why were writers obsessed with melancholy? How did people explain the plague? What were the common methods of curing? What were the cultural assumptions about professional and lay medical practitioners? How did religion shape medicine and sickness? When and how did physic intersect with magic? Literary texts may include works by William Shakespeare, John Webster, John Donne, Ben Jonson, Thomas Dekker, Edmund Spenser, and more.

ANTH 147: Comparative Healing Systems
Dr. Jocelyn Chua | TuTh 9:30 – 10:45AM + Recitation

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
Dr. Martha King | TuThu 11am-12:15pm + Recitation

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 272: Healing in Ethnography and Literature (Crosslisted as ENGL 264)
Dr. Michele Rivkin-Fish & Dr. Jane Thrailkill | TuTh 3:30-4:45pm + Recitation

This course brings together literary and ethnographic methods to explore narratives of illness, suffering, and healing, and medicine’s roles in these processes. Themes include illness narratives, outbreak narratives, collective memory and healing from social trauma, and healers’ memoirs.

ANTH 319: Global Health
Amanda Thompson | MWF 10:10am-11:00pm + Recitation

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

ANTH 326: Practicing Medical Anthropology
Dr. Martha King | TuTh 9:30-10:45am

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 390.001: Special Topics – Anthropology of Fitness
Emily Curtin | TuTh 3:30-4:45pm

ANTH 390.002: Special Topics – Gender, Sexuality, and Health
Emily Curtin | TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm

ANTH 390.003: Special Topics – Climate Change and Health
Emily Curtin | MoWe 3:35-4:50pm

ANTH 390.004: Special Topics – Healing, Bodies, and Faith
Anusha Hariharan | TuTh 9:30-10:45am

ANTH 450: Ethnographic Research Methods
Angela Stuesse | Tu 3:30-6:30pm

This course offers an opportunity for students to learn about the methodologies of ethnographic research and put these into practice through a semester-long field research project in the Triangle. Though this project, we explore the theoretical, ethical, and practical promises and challenges of ethnography, from problem definition, research design, and entering the field to data analysis, validity, and “writing up.”  Along the way we focus on the collection and analysis of ethnographic data using participant observation, fieldnotes, interviewing, life histories, visual methods, focus groups, archival and ethnographic survey research, and various strategies for organizing and coding data.

ANTH 470: Medicine and Anthropology (Crosslisted as FOLK 470)
Dr. Martha King | MWF 1:25-2:15pm + Recitation

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

ANTH 582: Fieldwork with Social Models of Well-Being
Dr. Michele Rivkin-Fish | MWF 2:30-3:20pm

Required preparation, at least one introductory cultural medical anthropology course. This course highlights approaches and organizations that pursue well-being through social relations and social change, rather than through medical treatment and cure. Students will: 1) learn the conceptual understandings that inform social models of well-being in disability studies/disability rights, occupational science, and critical gerontology; and 2) learn and apply anthropological methods of participant-observation fieldwork and interviewing in local organizations that implement these social models.

ANTH 750: Seminar in Medical Anthropology
Dr. Jocelyn Chua | Th 11am-2:30pm

Specially designed for, but not restricted to, students who are specializing in medical anthropology. Medicine as part of culture; medicine and social structure viewed crossculturally; medicine in the perspective of anthropological theory; research methods. A special purpose is to help students plan their own research projects, theses, and dissertations.

GEOG 222: Health and Medical Geography
Dr. Michael Emch | TuTh 3:30PM – 4:45PM

Health and disease are studied by analyzing the cultural/environmental interactions that lie behind world patterns of disease distribution, diffusion, and treatment, and the ways these are being altered by development.

GEOG 435: Global Environmental Justice
TBD | TuTh 12:30-1:45pm

This advanced course brings geographical perspectives on place, space, scale, and environmental change to the study of environmental justice. In lectures, texts, and research projects, students examine environmental concerns as they intersect with racial, economic and political differences. Topics include environmental policy processes, environmental justice movements, environmental health risks, conservation, urban environments, and the role of science in environmental politics and justice.

HBEH 531: Community Engagement and Assessment to Advance Health Equity and Social Justice
Dr. Alexandra Lightfoot | TuTh 2:00-3:15pm

Engaging communities to identify their strengths, needs and priorities and determine action steps to address them is at the core of public health practice. Conducting a health assessment with communities is an essential public health function required in local and global contexts. This class will examine approaches to the assessment process, compare qualitative and quantitative data collection methods, and examine strategies for ensuring effective and equitable community engagement throughout the assessment process.

HBEH 690: Special Topics in Health Behavior
Dr. Micheal Wilson | We 9:05-10:20am

Special topics in health behavior. An experimental course designed for faculty who wish to offer a new course. Content will vary from semester to semester.

HPM 571: Health and Human Rights (Crosslisted as PLCY 570)
Dr. Benjamin Meier | TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm

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.

HPM 758: Underserved Populations and Health Reform
Dr. Brieanne Lyda-McDonald, Brandon Wilson | We 8-9:30pm, Thu 8-9:30pm

This course gives students a greater understanding of programs available to serve underserved populations, and how the ACA (or any replacement) will impact on care provided to underserved populations. The course is designed to help students think critically about the impact of policy changes on different populations.

HPM 890.012: Caregiving Research, Policy, and Practice
Erin Elizabeth Kent | MW 2:30-4:00pm

Informal or family caregivers support a family member or friend with a serious health problem, disability, or illness. Caregiving is an essential part of our society and infrastructure worldwide. Understanding informal care within the context of both healthcare delivery and the community is critical for future professionals in healthcare, social services, and health policy. This course will provide an overview of caregiving in the US and globally, models of caregiving, research methods, and caregiving policies.

HNRS 089: FYS – Medicine and Narrative
Terrance Holt | M 2:00-4:00pm

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 present 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). A semester-long journal, focusing on the reverberations of the pandemic on the writer’s daily (actual and interior) life, will form the basis for a final project, which may (at student option) be in the form of written narrative, an audio composition, or a film, composed using the tools available at the University’s Media Resources Center.

HNRS 350: Learning the Art of Medicine
Dr. Matthew Nielsen | Tu 6:00-7:00pm

This course is designed to supplement knowledge obtained through the traditional pre-medical curriculum in order to enhance students’ development as health care providers. It has the following objectives:

  1. Work in the health professions provides many different pathways for individuals to find meaning, purpose, and impact in the world.  We will explore a variety of perspectives through a series of invited speakers from our community.
  2. Broad and overlapping currents in the organization of medical care, payment for healthcare services, performance improvement, government regulation, and innovation have been shaping the environment within which care is delivered in this country for decades.  These will continue to shape the environment for the decades to come.  The seminar will provide students with an overview of changes in the delivery of medical care across several of these areas.  
  3. The course will explore dimensions of person- and family-centered care, which has led to many advances in research and clinical care delivery.  This can also include understanding the social situation of your patient, including environmental, financial and familial factors.
  4. The course will provide students with information about navigating the medical training system as well as an introduction to the interprofessional team-based nature of health care delivery.

Note: 1 credit-hour course open to Honors Carolina third and fourth year students only.

MEJO 469: Health Communication and Marketing
Dr. Peter Sherman | MoWe 11AM – 12:15PM

Forbes magazine projects a crest of increasing employment in healthcare over the next decade. This means the strategic communication skill set is in high demand by hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare advertising or PR agencies, insurance companies, non-profit organizations, and more. In this course, students will learn about the healthcare sector, explore the patient journey, map stakeholders and influencers, and get hands-on experience with marketing and communications that can help people lead healthier lives.

MEJO 560: Environmental and Science Journalism
Dr. Tom Linden | MW 2:00-3:15pm

Prepare students to work as environmental and science journalists. The course emphasizes writing skills in all delivery formats and interpreting environmental, science, and medical information for consumers. Honors version available.

MEJO 569: Behavior Science in Health Communication
Dr. Francesca Dillman Carpentier | MoWe 12:30-1:45pm

In this course, students are provided with an in-depth understanding of how people make health decisions and what motivates them to act. Then, through discussions, hands-on exercises, and case studies of health campaigns, students learn how to apply behavioral science to identify, dissect, and determine the best communication solutions for some of the most important challenges facing healthcare today.

PHIL 165: Bioethics
Dr. Samuel Dishaw | MoWeFr 1:25-2:15pm
Dr. Molly O’Rourke-Frie | TuThu 8-9:15am
Gerard Rothfus | TuThu 12:30-1:45pm

An examination of ethical issues in the life sciences and technologies, medicine, public health, and/or human interaction with nonhuman animals or the living environment.

PSYC 504: Health Psychology
Dr. Karen Gil | TuTh 11:00AM – 12:15PM
Dr. Karen Gil | TuTh 12:30PM – 1:45PM
An in-depth coverage of psychological, biological, and social factors that may be involved with health.

PUBH 610: Introductory Spanish for Health Professionals
Dr. Elizabeth Tolman | Tu 5:00PM – 6:30PM
Dr. Elizabeth Jones | We 5:45PM – 7:15PM

This course is intended for students who know no Spanish or so little they feel the need to start over. Students with more than two semesters of college Spanish are not eligible. The course covers the curriculum of first-semester Spanish taught within a health context, with a focus on speaking.

RELI 220: Religion and Medicine
Dr. Carter Kurtz | MW 3:35-4:40pm

This course will deal with global interactions of religion, health care, medical ethics, disability, and the body in the past and present. Honors version available.

SOCI 172: Introduction to Population Health in the United States
Dr. Robert Hummer | TuThu 11AM-12:15PM

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
Katrina Branecky | MoWeFr 12:20-1:10pm

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
Grace Franklyn | MoWeFr 10:10-11am
Denise Mitchell | MoWeFr 12:20-1:10pm
Micah Nelson | MoWeFr 2:30-3:20pm

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.

WGST 330: Women’s Health Activism in Twentieth Century America
Jillian Hinderliter | TuTh 8:00-9:15am

Course examines the history of women’s health activism and advocacy in the 20th century United States. Course materials and discussions will trace the development of several women’s health movements and causes, health activists’ tactics and rhetoric, and the complex dynamic between lay activists and medical professionals.