Spring 2022 Undergraduate English Courses

359:209 Introduction to Health, Medicine and Literature

01  MW4  2:00-3:20 PM  CAC   08290   DENNIS   HH-A6

Over the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has invoked pressing questions about how we perceive the ailing body and how we should care for one another. But, as we will see, these questions are hardly new. In this course, we will explore how authors strategically narrativize pain and reimagine care in fiction and nonfiction texts from the early nineteenth century into our contemporary moment. As a class, we will investigate changing perceptions of illness and disability and track a history of healthcare practices with particular attention to the legacies of eugenics, race science, and the pathologization of sex and sexuality. With the help of contemporary disability theory, we will explore the linkage between illness and identity, question the differential treatment of visible and invisible ailments, and examine the relationship between the ill individual and the health of the community. Over the course of the semester, we will consider how becoming more attentive readers to narratives about ill bodies might help us to envision novel caretaking practices to meet the needs of our own historical moment.