Current Course Offerings

 Fall 2014 | Spring 2015

FALL 2014

Undergraduate Courses

HSHM 007a/HUMS 076a, Epidemics in Global Perspective.  William Summers
Interaction of epidemic diseases and society. The response of government, medicine, and the public to the threat or actual presence of widespread contagious diseases. The notion of major epidemics as one of the key contingencies of history, critically examined through contemporary medical, political, and literary accounts. The changing responses of societies and governments to epidemics as well as the reasons for those responses.  MW 2:30-3:45
Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required: see under Freshman Seminar Program

HSHM 202a/AMST 247a/HIST 147a/HLTH 170a, Media & Medicine in Modern America   John Warner, Gretchen Berland
Relationships between medicine, health, and the media in the United States from 1870 to the present. The changing role of the media in shaping conceptions of the body, creating new diseases, influencing health and health policy, crafting the image of the medical profession, informing expectations of medicine and constructions of citizenship, and the medicalization of American life.   TTh 10:30 - 11:20

HSHM 204a/AMST 163a/HIST 120a/EVST 120a, Introduction to Environmental History.    Paul Sabin
Ways in which people have shaped and been shaped by the changing environments of North America from precolinial times to the present. Migration of species and trade in commodities; contrasting uses of land; the impact of industry and markets; the rise of modern conservation and environmental movements; the development of public policy; the global search for resources by the United States.  TTh  11:35-12:50

HSHM 410a/HIST 149Ja, History and Politics of Pollution.  Rachel Rothschild
The history of pollution problems, from concepts of "four air" and smog to climate change and global warming. Topics include the changing definition of "pollutants" over time, the ways in which science, politics, and economics have influenced our perceptions of environmental dangers, and how various pollution problems have shaped ideas about what levels of risk, damage, and costs to the environment are acceptable.  Th 3:30 - 5:20

HSHM 411a/HIST 149Ja, Science:  Newton to Neutrons.  William Summers
A study of major themes and ideas in science from the 17th C through the 20th C with a focus on evolving descriptions and theories of matter and energy, physics and chemistry. The evolution of Newtonian ideas to the world of modern physics and the transition from alchemical thinking to the chemical revolution.  T 7:00 - 8:50

HSHM 459a/HUMS 359a/HIST 159Ja, Spies, Secrets, and Science.  Paola Bertucci
The relationship between secrecy, intellectual property, and science from the Middle Ages to the Cold War. Topics include alchemy and esoteric knowledge; the Manhattan Project and other secret scientific projects run by the state: the history of patents and copyright laws; and scientists as spies.  T 1:30 - 3:20


Undergraduate/Graduate Courses

HSHM 469a/HIST 420Ja, HSHM 656a/HIST 949a, Photography and the Sciences.  Chitra Ramalingam
Does photography belong in the history of art, or does its status as an "automatic" or "scientific" recording technique and its many uses in the sciences distinguish its history from that of earlier visual media? How does photography look when we approach it from the cultural history of science? How might role in the sciences have shaped photographic aesthetics in the arts? This course will examine the making of photography's discursive identity as an experimental and evidentiary medium in the sciences, from its announcement to the public in 1839 to the digital innovations of the present day. We take a historical and archival perspective on uses for (and debates over) photography in different fields of the natural and human sciences, grounded in visits to photographic collections at Yale.  Th 1:30 - 3:20


Graduate Courses

HSHM 701a/AMST 878a/HIST 930a,  Problems in the History of Medicine and Public Health.  John Harley Warner
An examination of the variety of approaches to the social, cultural, and intellectual history of medicine, focusing on the United States. Reading and discussion of the recent scholarly literature on medical cultures, public health, and illness experiences from the early national period through the present. Topics include the role of gender, class, ethnicity, race, relition, and region in the experience of health care and sickness and in the construction of medical knowledge; the interplay between lay and professional understandings of the body; the role of the marketplace in shaping professional identities and patient expectations; citizenship, nationalism, and imperialism; and the visual cultures of medicine.  W 1:30 - 3:20

HSHM 716a/HIST 936a, Early Modern Science and Medicine.  Paola Bertucci
The course focuses on recent works in the history of science and medicine in the early modern world. We discuss how interdisciplinary approaches--including economic and urban history, sociology and anthropology of science, gender studies, art and colonial history--have challenged the classic historiographical category of "the Scientific Revolution." We also discuss the avenues for research that new approaches to early modern science and medicine have opened up, placing special emphasis on the circulation of knowledge, practices of collecting, and visual and material culture.  Th 1:30 - 3:20

HSHM 738a/HIST 928a, Medicine and the Human Sciences.  Henry Cowles
This seminar presents an overview of the history of the human sciences--broadly defined. How have science and medicine been brought to bear on human nature in various times and places? How have scholars grappled with these efforts, especially in the last decade? And how might we build on their scholarship in our own work? We take as our starting point not the disciplines of the human sciences (e.g. psychology, anthropology, and sociology) but rather a set of practices that scientists and doctors have put to use on minds, bodies, and societies. Such practices cut across disciplinary divides--and so will we, engaging with work by anthropologists, philosophers, and literary scholars aongside that of historians of science and medicine. Students may take the course as either a reading or research seminar, meaning those taking it for credit may submit either a historiographical essay or an original research piece for their final paper.   T 3:30-5:20 

HSHM 739a/HIST 941a, Historical Perspectives on Science and Religion.  Ivano Dal Prete
The interaction between science and religion examined from a historical standpoint. The course discusses pivotal problems raised by science and religion studies, and explores the historical roots of modern issues. Topics include:   natural philosophy in medieval Islam and Christianity, the rise of Biblical literalism, heterodox cosmologies in the Renaissance, religion and the scientific revolution, the history of evolutionism vs. creationist theories.  M  1:30 - 3:20  







Spring, 2015 Undergraduate Courses



HSHM 214b/HIST 402b, Aliens: Extraterrestrial Life in History and Culture.  Ivano Dal Prete
This course explores the idea of extraterrestrials and "radical others" from a historical perspective. Topics include (but are not limited to) Greek elaborations on the cosmos and its inhabitants; medieval theological debates on the plurality of worlds; angels, freaks, native Americans and other "aliens" in the Renaissance; comet dwellers in puritan New England; Mars as a socialist utopia in the early 20th century, and the craze for visitors from space in American Popular culture..  MW 11:35 - 12:25

HSHM 235b/HIST 234b, Epidemics and Society in the West since 1600.  Frank Snowden
A study of the impact of epidemic diseases such as bubonic plague, cholera, malaria, and AIDS on society, public health, and the medical profession in comparative and international perspective. Topics include popular culture and mass hysteria, the mortality revolution, urban renewal and rebuilding, sanitation, the germ theory of disease, the emergence of scientific medicine, and debates over the biomedical model of disease.  TTh 10:30 - 11:20

HSHM 408/HUMS 306, Science and Human Sciences. Gary Tomlinson
The modern dichotomy of natural science and human science, i.e., the totality of disciplines devoted to human experience, as it has developed from the mid-seventeenth century to the present. Focus on key works by Galileo Galilei, Giambattista Vico, Charles Darwin, and Terrence Deacon. The shifting relations of Western understandings of the natural and human realms.  M 1:30-3:20

HSHM 409b/HIST 416Jb/PSYC 401b, Minds and Brains from Phrenology to fMRI.  Henry Cowles
A survey of the science and medicine of mind and brain since 1800. Topics include madness and the asylum; phrenology and psychoanalysis; psychology in politics, law, and advertising; the rise of the "neuro" disciplines; and mental health in public life. Sources from fields such as neurology, physiology, psychology, psychiatry, and philosophy. Readings from works by Darwin, James, Freud, Foucault, Chomsky, and Pinker.  W 9:25-11:15  

HSHM 412b/HIST 429Jb, History of the Laboratory.  Chitra Ramalingam
The social and cultural history of the experimental laboratory as a site for scientific activity, from early modern origins to the present day. Topics will range across the physical and life sciences and will include: the early modern origins of the laboratory; private, institutional, and state laboratories; relations between labs and field stations; the lab in the colonial and developing world; industrial and corporate labs; laboratory architecture; secrecy and openness; gender in the experimental workplace; and popular representations of the laboratory..  M 9:25 - 11:15 

HSHM 422b/HIST 440Jb, Cartography, Territory and Identity.  William Rankin
Exploration of how maps shape assumptions about territory, land, sovereignty, and identity. The relationship between scientific cartography and conquest, the geography of statecraft, religious cartographies, encounters between Western and non-Western cultures, and reactions to cartographic objectivity. Students make their own maps. No previous experience in cartography or graphic design required.  W 1:30 - 3:20

HSHM 437b/HIST 435Jb, The Global Crisis of Malaria.  Frank Snowden
The global crisis of malaria examined in comparative and historical context. The mosquito theory of transmission and other developments in scientific understanding of the disease; World Health Organization strategies to eradicate malaria since 1955; the development of tools such as insecticides, medication, and bed nets; the attempt to create an effective vaccine.  T 1:30 - 3:20

HSHM 468b/HIST 455Jb, Sex, Life, and Generation.  Ivano Dal Prete
Theories and practices of life, sex and generation in history perspective. From the social control of abortion and infanticide in early-modern societies, to the changing status of the embryo, to the lure of artificial life.   M 1:30 - 3:20 


Undergraduate/Graduate Courses 

HSHM 226b/HIST 236b/HUMS 342, HSHM 654b/HIST 947b, The Scientific Revolution.  Paola Bertucci
The changing relationship between the natural world and the arts from Leonardo to Newton. Topics include the scientific revolution, Renaissance anatomy and astronomy, and alchemy and natural history.  TTh  11:35 - 12:25


Graduate Courses

HSHM 702b/HIST 931b, Problems in the History of Science.  Paola Bertucci
Close study of recent secondary literature in the history of the physical and life sciences. An inclusive overview of the emergence and diversity of scientific ways of knowing, major scientific theories and methods, and the role of science in politics, capitalism, war, and everyday life. Discussions focus on historians' different analytic and interpretive approaches.  Th  1:30 - 3:20

HSHM 713b/HIST 913b, Geography and History.  William Rankin
A research seminar focused on methodological questions of geography and geographic analysis in historical scholarship. We consider approaches ranging from the Annales School of the early twentieth century to contemporary research in environmental history, history of science, urban history, and more. We also explore interdisciplinary work in social theory, historical geography, and anthropology and grapple with the promise (and drawbacks) of GIS. Students may write their research papers on any time period or geographic region, and no previous experience with geography or GIS is necessary. Undergraduates are admitted with permission.  W 9:25 - 11:15

HSHM 736b/HIST 943b/WGSS 736b, Health Politics, Body Politics.  Naomi Rogers
A reading seminar on struggles to control, pathologize, and normalize human bodies, with a particular focus on science, medicine, and the state, both in North America and in a broader global health context. Topics include disease, race and politics; repression and regulation of birth control; the politics of adoption; domestic and global population control; feminist health movements; and the pathologizing and identity politics of disabled people.  T 1:30 - 3:20