This course can be used to fulfill the HST and AHp of the Core Curriculum
This course is an offering in what is known as the “Medical Humanities”—an interdisciplinary field whose boundaries and methods are very much in formation. Broadly, it describes research that depends on the shared concerns of the humanities and the social and life sciences as they intersect with the history and culture of medicine.
We will look at how fine artists, scientific illustrators, and popular image-makers have envisioned medicine’s culture—especially its ways of knowing the body, and the implications of such knowledge for constructions of race, class, gender, and sexuality.
This can include anything from Leonardo Da Vinci’s anatomy drawings and 19th century portraits of the insane, to contemporary performance art and the imagery used by the media to dramatize epidemics. We will also consider the metaphorical uses of disease and deviance in the visual arts. For example, why does it seem as if Vincent Van Gogh’s work cannot be discussed without invoking his pathology? —the identification of which varies depending upon which neurologist, psychiatrist or art historian is writing about it.
The range of topics covered and the questions raised in the course are designed to introduce students in the humanities, fine arts and social sciences to the culture of science, while also offering life science and pre-med students an opportunity to think critically about the visual history of their own practices, and how they intersect, often in unexpected ways, with the history of art.
Syllabus: The syllabus will be available on the Learning Management Site (Sakai/Canvas) as of the first day of class