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Fall 2017 Undergraduate English Courses: Theories and Methods

359:209 Introduction to Literature and Medicine

H1  TTH6  CAC  21172  SAMYN  HC-E128

In this course we will explore narratives of physical and mental illness, infestation, contagion, immunity, fitness, and embodiment to ask: what does it mean to be ill or healthy? How do we convey health or illness to others? What language do we use? What stories do we tell? How do things like language and culture structure the ways in which we perceive health, alter our bodies, or treat illness? To answer these questions, we will study a wide range of materials including contemporary films about mystery epidemics, novellas that explore the limitations of language and narrative form, scientific articles about evolution and symbiosis, and physician and patient memoirs.  Some of these texts will consider pathology; others will think through changing understandings of embodiment. But in everything we read or watch, we will pay particular attention to the ways in which language and literary form shape our understandings of the human body and its capacities and limitations.