Course Descriptions

Webinar: What Next for US?, an interesting discussion on the European reaction to Biden's inauguration, featuring Professor Pease!

All courses that are team-taught meet the interdisciplinary core requirement.

MALS 120

Summer Symposium

Credit/No Credit Degree Requirement for all Concentrations
Moderator: Don Pease

MALS 130

Cultural Studies Research Methods

Research Methods
Instructor: Klaus Milich, MALS

Writing a research paper requires the knowledge of the scope, the genesis, and the methods of the discipline one is engaged in. The goal of this workshop is to make students aware of their own approaches to help them develop their own research projects. It will cover methods of practical implementation, skills and strategies to obtain better results in research and class performance. Apart from learning how to apply and integrate different genre such as excerpts, protocols, reports, summaries, or charts that help preparing a presentation, writing a paper, or finishing a thesis, discussions will address the following questions:

  • What distinguishes scholarship from other forms of knowledge production (media, encyclopedias)
  • What research means in the sciences and in the humanities, and how individual disciplines produce knowledge
  • What it means to read and write "critically"
  • How to distinguish "scientific facts" from "producing meaning"
  • How to turn individual observations and experiences into viable scholarly projects and why framing the right question might be more important than the answer
  • How research strategies and different forms of systematic thinking might be helpful at working places outside the university and beyond scholarly projects

In order to practice how to plan or carry out research and how to build an argument, students will be asked to bring in their own work in progress, be it an initial idea for a final paper, a proposal for an independent study, or a chapter of their thesis.

MALS 131

Social Science Research Methods

Research Methods
Instructor: Eric Ramsey, Office of Student Life 

Qualitative and quantitative data provide different kinds of information to the researcher. Quantitative research measures the reactions of large numbers of people and provides generalizable data. Qualitative research produces detailed data on a small number of cases for an increased depth of understanding. Conducting research in the social sciences requires knowledge of both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Numerous qualitative methods exist with a great diversity of theoretical models. This workshop will focus on ethnographic research, often used by sociologists, anthropologists, and educators to look at the culture of groups and settings. The primary focus of this workshop will be on qualitative methods with discussion on survey methods.

Students will design their own research projects based on their scholarly interests (generated by previous classes) that they would like to further pursue for the basis of their thesis research.


Students will investigate a social phenomenon that interests them. They will create their own projects and actively engage in the necessary components of conducting research in the social sciences. This requires students to develop fieldwork plans, identify interviewees, write interview questions, conduct numerous interviews, take observation notes, and learn survey skills.


Students will need to purchase a tape recorder for interviews or plan on borrowing one from the Jones Media Library. In addition, students should come to class with a three ring binder with page dividers. 

MALS 132

Writing Methodologies: Strategies for Creative Writers

Research Methods
Instructor: Anna Minardi, MALS

This is a discussion based course focused on the preparation and discipline writers need to develop as they progress in their chosen genres. The text selected as the basis for class conversations offers a discussion of various writing concerns that all writers face as they consider such questions as audience, goal, use of language, placement of oneself. The text will be supplemented by short student pieces that may reflect the issues raised by Todd and Kidder in the book.

The course goal is create a sense of familiarity with the writing process for students who are starting to write. For students with more experience, the goal is to articulate the questions related to the areas they want to develop. The exchange between beginning and more advanced writers will be valuable in creating an awareness of the questions that propel writers at all levels and in all genres.

The class will be enhanced by visits from MALS writing professors and creative writing thesis students.

MALS 140

Writing Workshop: Fiction

Creative Writing
Instructor: Saul Lelchuk, MALS

This writing course uses a discussion-based, workshop-centered approach to allow both novice and experienced writers to develop their abilities in fiction and particularly the form of the short story. Weekly reading assignments will draw from both past and contemporary writers across numerous genres, with an effort being made to expose students to a wide variety of voices and styles. We will approach these stories with an eye towards not only their literary weight but also will examine the internal elements that make them succeed. Students are expected to both read and actively critique peer work that will be selected in advance of each class by the instructor. Weekly writing assignments will involve both new work and revision of this work, and students will complete several stories of varying length throughout the term. The course’s reading will include authors such as: Borges, Carver, Egan, Gogol, Greene, Hammett, Kundera, Lardner, Le Guin, Maupassant, O’Connor, Oates, Salter.     

A formal background in writing is not required but students should have a strong interest in creative writing and a willingness to share, and accept critique on, their work.  

MALS 206


Single-taught Interdisciplinary, Creative Writing, Globalization Studies

Instructor: David Van Wie

Environmental journalism encompasses a wide range of topics at different scales, from the global impacts of climate change and ocean acidification to regional impacts from drought or invasive species to local issues like odor complaints about a dairy farm. Environmental issues comprise a confounding mix of science, ecology, politics, business, human health, and culture. The tools and methods of environmental journalism begin with factual reporting of events and the results of research. They also include interviews and investigations to uncover information hidden from public view. They create narratives to portray human interest stories and reveal insightful profiles of key people and affected communities. Beyond the written and spoken word, environmental journalists use photos, video, and multi-media animation to tell a compelling story.

The very definition of journalism is evolving rapidly, as are the norms, ethics, and roles of the journalist. Traditional print media, television news, and documentaries are now competing with digital media, computer-generated graphics, and citizen reporting on social networks.

This course will explore the importance of environmental journalism in global society, tracing topics, trends, and key voices from the past to the present. Through readings, class discussion and practical projects to develop their journalistic skills, students will together define the principles and practices that produce effective journalism, regardless of media, and consider how those principles will carry into the future.

MALS 207


Creative Writing or Single-taught Interdisciplinary
Instructor: Tom Zoellner

This course is aimed at those who want to develop their skills in the practice of writing longform stories for magazines or literary journals. Crafting these narratives for magazines involves elements of storytelling similar to that used by a novelist or cinematographer: characters, setting, plot development and mood. The writer continually asks tough questions and tests artistic approaches as she pursues a story to its end.

Classroom instruction will include the fundamentals of longform journalism, including the mechanics of pitching an idea and working with an editor. A third of the class time will be devoted to the examination of previously published works. The balance of the time will be spent in an instructor-led workshop in which each student's work is critiqued by the group in a constructive fashion, with the goal of rewriting and improvement.

Each student will write a substantial magazine piece of cover-story length demonstrating the basics of story-finding, reporting, interviewing, narrative architecture and revision. The finished project should be considered "ready for publication" by a quality outlet.

MALS 208

Writers' Room

Creative Writing
Instructor: Eugenie Carabatsos, MALS  

This course is modeled after a professional TV writers' room. At the start of the course, the class will come up with a concept for a five episode television show. Then, each student will take turns fulfilling the various roles: showrunner, staff writer, and writer's assistant. The course focuses on the art of co-writing, the technique of writing for someone else's idea and in someone else's voice, and the tools to be an effective leader and delegator.

Throughout the course, the students will collaborate on five short episodes, as well as an individual final portfolio. Readings will include episodic scripts from successful television shows. Feel free to reach out to me for more reading recommendations at any time.

MALS 209

Writing the Other: Narrative and Intersections

Creative Writing
Instructor: Barbara Kreiger, MALS

In the last years we've seen that constructing a personal narrative has become an essential part of locating oneself on a confusing map. Narrative is about giving form to what had been invisible, and personal narrative places one on the inside. Rather than looking in, one is in, and looks out. Writing the "other" is a way of avoiding self-absorption; at the same time, one could say that it's eventually about writing oneself, perhaps the ultimate "other."

In this nonfiction creative writing course, students will be asked to avoid any "others" that the culture imposes and ask who really are the ones we don't know and maybe can never know. There's no end to the list we could make, and what we think we know may be vastly different from what we really do. Attentiveness is central to the process, and students will begin an investigation that may yield unexpected insights. As we engage in this process, our understanding is enlarged, and this, we could say, is the essence of empathy: we read, we listen, we write, and we come away more educated. The window we create is also a mirror, and the images we see are larger than the frames.

MALS 210

International Politics in Contemporary Asia

Globalization Studies, Cultural Studies or Single-taught Interdisciplinary
Instructors: David Rezvani, 
Inst for Writing Rhetoric

This course will focus on the dynamics of international politics in modern Asia.  The course will include research, writing, and debates on the relations between Asian powers and the status of sub-state zones of conflict. It will critically examine the interplay of Asian powers, including China, the US, India, Japan, and North and South Korea.  It will also evaluate a number of key zones of sub-state conflict in territories such as Kashmir, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Taiwan, the South China Sea, and Mindanao. 

MALS 212

Capitalism: New Approaches in Theory and History

Cultural Studies, Globalization Studies, or Single-taught Interdisciplinary
Instructor: Nancy Fraser – Philosophy

After a period of relative neglect, scholars and activists are again taking up the study of capitalism. Returning to the concerns of Marx, they are seeking the roots our present crises and injustices in the social system he theorized and criticized. But today's studies of capitalism do not simply repeat earlier critiques of political economy. At their best, they incorporate the fruits of recent intellectual-political developments, including ecology, feminism, anti-racism, and anti-imperialism, as well as democracy, law and the digital. In this seminar, we survey some of the most important efforts to integrate such concerns with the enduring insights of the Marxian tradition. Readings by Moishe Postone, Nancy Fraser, David Harvey, Jason W. Moore, Friedrich Engels, Maria Mies, Vandana Shiva, Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor, Shoshanna Zuboff, and Katharina Pistor, among others.

MALS 214

Transcultural Itineraries of American Studies in the 21st Century"

Cultural Studies
Instructor: Gunter Leypoldt, Visiting Harris Professor

Course description coming soon! 

MALS 215

Power and Politics in Greater China

Globalization Studies
Instructor: David Rezvani

This course will examine the structure, patterns, and practices of politics in greater China. It will examine explanations for China's economic assent as well as the resiliency of its authoritarian institutions. It will critically examine issues such as leadership selection, decentralized governance, economic development, mainland institutions, and fiscal control. The course will also examine the mainland's relations with Hong Kong and Taiwan on issues such as economic dependency, corruption, identity politics, and regional peace. The course will include independent research, writing, and debates on the conditions within greater China.

MALS 226


Creative Writing
Instructor: Bill Phillips, Film and Media Studies

One should emerge from this course with:

  1. the first draft of a professional-quality feature length screenplay and
  2. the knowledge of how to do subsequent revisions.

No previous creative writing experience is necessary. 

Whether your idea is “commercial,” “artistic,” or “personal” will not matter in terms of the focus of this course, but we will be concerned with your producing something that will hold up to professional scrutiny. We will emphasize the following:

  1. a comprehensible story with a beginning, middle and end
  2. a sympathetic protagonist
  3. a worthy antagonist
  4. an appropriate “love-interest” (if any),
  5. how to keep your story a “page turner,” so the reader will want to keep going;
  6. proper format and length (100-120 pages) and absence of typos, and
  7. originality of premise and dialogue.

Since you will be expected to write an entire first draft of a feature script within this course, it behooves you to be somewhat prepared. It would help if you have a story in mind, a protagonist, a worthy antagonist, a love-interest (if appropriate), and at least an idea of your beginning, middle and end.  It also really helps to have at least 30-40 situations (scenes) to string together to support a feature-length film. We will go over all of this in class, but if you get a head start on your thinking, it will be a tremendous help to you. I can also make available some handouts ahead of time that might assist you in this work.

MALS 236


Creative Writing
Instructor: Eugenie Carabatsos, MALS

This workshop course introduces students to the art and craft of playwriting. Throughout the course, each student will workshop and develop two plays—a ten minute and a one act—as well as read and analyze contemporary and classic plays.

MALS 239

Poetry Workshop

Creative Writing
Instructor: Rena Mosteirin, MALS

In this workshop we will read each other's poetry and discuss potential revision strategies. The goal is to develop our own distinctive, poetic voice by experimenting with metaphor and lyricism. Craft essays and prompts will be available as part of the materials for the course as well as new poetry from current literary magazines so as to situate ourselves in the present literary moment. All of the assignments for this class are creative.

Student poems will be submitted to the class each week and revised for the final portfolio. We will discuss revision strategies as the class goes forward, working toward three successive revisions of each poem for the final portfolio. This portfolio of revised poems will be in place of a final paper or exam. Writers at all levels are welcome.

MALS 246

Fiction Writing - Novella

Creative Writing
Instructor: Alan Lelchuk, MALS

This writing workshop focuses primarily on the longer fictional forms (the novella and the long story). Writing experience is preferred, but is not a prerequisite. Emphasis is placed on student work, but a good number of published stories and novellas are looked at as well. Classes consist of discussions, analyses, and readings. The aims of the course are to help the young writer understand and practice the longer forms of fiction, to read those forms more jurisdiciously and from a writer's point of view, and to raise his or her own levels of prose to a high literary standard.

MALS 290

Borders & Boundaries: Race, Gender, and the Human

Cultural Studies or Single-taught Interdisciplinary
Instructor: Regine Rosenthal, MALS

As a primary line of inquiry, this course will focus on the question of erecting, crossing and/or transcending borders and boundaries in relation to race, gender, and the human. To that purpose it will critically address and theorize the more recent tendency to cross borders in a way that runs counter to the constraints implied in traditional models of race and gender. More specifically, in terms of gender, it will emphasize the contemporary fluidity of concepts of masculinity and femininity, deconstruction of hierarchical gender models, as well as the growing debate around transgender issues in texts, among others, by Judith Butler. In terms of race, it will address the paradigm’s contested definitions, boundaries, and contemporary social implications as well as the issues of exclusion and inclusion, the third space, post-colonialism and the ideology & policy of race/racism in texts by Frantz Fanon, minority literature, W.E. DuBois and gendered slave and lynching narratives. As a third aspect of questioning borders, it will explore the aspect of the human - both in and beyond its relation to race and gender, and the concurrent dehumanizing effect of racism - in texts by Hannah Arendt on human rights vs civil rights and crimes against humanity as well as Jacques Derrida and Giorgio Agamben on man vs. animal, sovereign power and bare life.

MALS 294

Post-Cold War Globalization

Globalization Studies or Single-taught Interdisciplinary
Instructor: Peter DeShazo, LALACS/MALS

The course will provide students with the opportunity to think critically about the variables that propelled the United States to unipolar power status as a result of the Cold War, the nature of how U.S. foreign policy is formulated, and the challenges to the power status of the United States in an increasingly globalized world. Students will examine in greater detail the history of the Cold War, the transformation of the global power dynamic following the collapse of the Soviet Union, growing expectations for the spread of capitalism and democracy in the post-Cold War, the key challenges to liberal democracy and security today, the rise of China, and prospects for the future global leadership of the United States. The course will underscore the value of historical analysis to the interpretation of current events and demonstrate the confluence of forces that influence the making of foreign policy. The course will also encourage students to think like policy-makers, in part by drafting a series of short "policy memos" on specific recommended policy decisions and to advocate for these decisions in oral presentations.

Following an introductory class discussing prospects for future U.S. global leadership, the course will examine the conduct of the Cold War, the transition from a bipolar power dynamic to a unipolar world led by the United States following the end of the Soviet Union, and then trace key themes and developments in U.S. foreign policy from the administrations of George H.W. Bush through Obama. Subsequent classes will examine the spread of market-based capitalist development and liberal democracy in the post Cold War, the ideology and driving forces of these movements, and the reactions to them. Global issues challenging both security and development, such as international terrorism and crime will be examined in detail. One class will be specifically dedicated to China's potential as a power rival to the United States. The final two classes will look ahead to future prospects for democracy, capitalist-led growth and the growing transition away from uni-polarity to a new multi-polar global order. Readings for the course will cover a variety of currents and viewpoints, with special focus on materials prepared for the consideration of policy-makers rather than academicians.

MALS 298

The Sacred Reign of Vladimir Putin: Religion, and the Politics of Memory

Globalization Studies, Cultural Studies or Single-taught Interdisciplinary

Instructor: Sean Griffin, Russian Dept.

In 2020, a cathedral was built in Moscow that scandalized many Russians. For on its walls were mosaics of Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Putin, who were pictured receiving blessings from the Virgin Mary. Thirty years ago, it was unthinkable that Stalin, a man who murdered millions of Christians, would someday be depicted alongside the saints. How could the public memory of the twentieth century be reconstructed so dramatically, so quickly? In this interdisciplinary course, we shall learn that Russia is a country with an unpredictable past: one that is currently being exploited in order to sacralize the reign of Vladimir Putin.

MALS 299

Versions: Telling Stories in Texts and Image

Cultural Studies or Single-taught Interdisciplinary
Instructor: Kristin O'Rourke, Art History 

What are the differences between telling a story in written form vs. in visual? This course would examine translations between the visual and the literary, using the concept of translation and reinvention to look at written texts and their visual versions, particularly in film, and think about how stories are told and what gets lost or changed through translation and over time. We will examine theories of the sister arts (ut pictura poesis) and the paragone controversy in the early modern period. Additionally, we will utilize film theory, literary theory, theories of translation and adaptation, and narrative.

MALS 318

Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies or Team-taught Interdisciplinary
Instructors: Don Pease and guest lecturers

Perhaps because of its capacity to cut across social and political interests and transgress disciplinary boundaries, Cultural Studies has provoked highly contradictory descriptions of its politics and academic location. Cultural Studies has been described as the academic location where the politics of difference—racial, sexual, economic, transnational—can combine and be articulated in all of their theoretical complexity. It has also been depicted as an academic containment strategy designed to tame cultural otherness through the universalization of the "idea" of culture and the resistance to theory. In this course we shall analyze the work of scholars—bell hooks, Douglas Crimp, Janice Radway, Paul Gilroy, Stuart Hall, Homi Bhabha, Andrew Ross, Meaghan Morris, Elsbeth Probyn, Michael Warner, Rey Chow, Cornel west, Kobena Mercer, Judith Butler, among others—who explicitly reflect upon the importance of conceptualizing and defining this diverse and often contentious enterprise. In addition to examining the social and institutional genealogy of the field, we shall deploy disparate methodological practices developed within the field of Cultural Studies to analyze a range of cultural artifices, including film noir, television soap operas, rap music, Hollywood blockbusters, borderlands discourse, whiteness studies and postcolonial theory.

MALS 337

The New Global Order: Tyrannies, Democracy, & Revolutions

Globalization Studies or Team-taught Interdisciplinary
Instructors: Evelyn Lechner, MALS and Peter DeShazo, LALACS

Globalization and the pursuit of market-led development have become two crucial concepts that re-emerged full-blown in the wake of the Cold War, as the West triumphed over the Soviet Union and the Marxist model. With the United States as the sole remaining superpower, liberal democracy and market-led economies were widely considered by policy makers in the West to be the inevitable cornerstone of a new global order. Yet, the process of globalization since the early 1990s has produced unpredicted results. The end of the Cold War has not generated a prolonged "Pax Americana" marked by an end to intra-state warfare, insurgencies, or violence, nor has economic development resulted in the consolidation of democracy. The strongest economic performer in the post-Cold War period has been China, still an authoritarian Marxist regime, and the Russian Federation that emerged from the former USSR is evolving in a decidedly anti-democratic direction.

The end of the Cold War in the Americas appeared to usher in the potential for greater hemispheric unity, the strengthening or representative democracy and sustained economic growth. While economic development has been historically strong, it remains uneven and the fruits of economic success often distributed in a skewed pattern favoring elite groups. In several countries in the region, a strong reaction to liberal democracy and market-led economic growth gave rise to the consolidation of proto-authoritarian regimes such as that of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela promoting a 21st century brand of revolution and a revival of anti-U.S. sentiment. Countries in the region still contend with problems such as insurgency, organized crime, and high levels of violence.

This course will examine the links between democracy, market-led development, and globalization in greater theoretical depth as well as in practice since the end of the Cold War. It will use Latin America as a particular point of focus in highlighting macro trends in politics and economic policy-making since the 1990s as well as case studies digging deeper into these variables.

The first part of the course focuses on globalization in general, its impact on the world economy and the economies of specific countries and on international business. The tension between globalization and moral questions will be elaborated on. Intellectual/ideological responses to globalization will also be discussed.

The second part of the course will trace trends in Latin America's links to the global economy and the relationship between paths of economic development and political structures. Specific attention will be paid to the transition from military dictatorships to civilian democracies, the challenge of illegally armed groups and criminal organizations to stability in the region, and the current bifurcated development path between countries pursuing market-oriented growth policies and those engaged in inward-led growth and resource nationalism.

MALS 346

Diasporas and Migrations

Cultural Studies or Team-taught Interdisciplinary
Instructor: Klaus Milich, MALS and Regine Rosenthal, MALS

Over the past two decades, the term diaspora has gained wide currency and intense scrutiny in scholarly work. Originating in the Hebrew Bible as prophesy of the Jewish "dispersion in all kingdoms of the earth," contemporary uses of the term have accrued meaning in a variety of contexts and disciplines to designate "the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland." Considering mass-migration, exile, and expulsion in all sectors of the world, this seminar will focus on a variety of concepts and theories related to diaspora. Studying a range of ethnographic, historical, theoretical, and literary texts, we will compare Jewish, African, and Asian diasporas in the context of historical, cultural and territorial characteristics. We will also discuss questions such as "the power of diaspora" vs. homeland, the role of the nation state vs. transnational or post-national aspects of culture, cultural identity, and hybridity.

MALS 369

Writing Nature: Stories and Reflection, Inside and Out

Creative Writing or Team-taught Interdisciplinary
Instructors: Barbara Kreiger, MALS and Anna Minardi, MALS

This course is aimed at those with a special interest in exploring their relationship with the natural world through short pieces or longer narratives. Why do we say we “go into” nature when we’re leaving our urban, suburban, or interior spaces? How far do we have to go before we’ve “arrived”? Can we stay where we are, gaze out the window, remember, imagine, wonder? What happens when we look down at stones or up at stars? What is the difference between grand vistas and commonplace ones? Or those that are new and those that are familiar? In other words, what does our relationship rely on, how does it shift, and what does it tell us. And because this is a creative writing course, the question of how we make our experience accessible to others is crucial, so we’ll address the story itself, style, voice, and the use of reflection as we consider what is probably an evolving or shifting relationship with previously unarticulated aspects of experience. The course is called “Writing Nature,” not “Nature Writing,” to remove the implicit hyphen that suggests a genre and emphasizes the inquiry that writing offers us. A broad selection of readings will include works of well known writers and others less well known but no less intuitively linked to the world we inhabit.

MALS 370

Practical Wisdom: Learning the moral skills to make tough decisions in uncertain times

Globalization Studies, Cultural Studies, Single-taught Interdisciplinary
Instructor: Ken Sharpe, MALS

The subject of this course is practical wisdom, the capacity to make difficult ethical choices. Aristotle called this human capacity phronesis and saw it as essential for doing the right thing in the right way at the right time. Throughout the course, we will be investigating five questions:

  1. What is practical wisdom?
  2. When and why do we need it?
  3. How do we learn practical wisdom?
  4. What institutional forces threaten practical wisdom?
  5. How can institutions be designed to encourage and nurture practical wisdom?

We will investigate these questions in several important domains in life - friendship, education, work, medicine, and family. Because practical wisdom is learned by reflecting on our own practices and experiences, we will rely heavily on stories about your own experiences that you will write and present in light of the theory and cases we read. Improving our own skills in reflective practice will also be encouraged by the format of the class which will rely on well-informed and thoughtful discussion in a seminar format.

We will also investigate these questions more theoretically in an effort to develop a solid understanding of what makes wisdom or judgment a crucial component of our lives. Throughout the course, we will be contrasting decision-making that depends on practical wisdom with decision making that depends on following various kind of rules or responding to external rewards and punishments.

This will be an interdisciplinary course with readings drawn from philosophy, ethics, literature, psychology, education, and sociology. Prior knowledge of these fields is not a prerequisite. We will frequently be joined by guests from other departments and from the Medical School.

MALS 372

Humanistic Medicine: Cultivating Compassion in Healers, Patients, and Cultures of Care

Cultural Studies or Team-taught Interdisciplinary
Instructors: Elizabeth Carpenter-Song, Anthropology and Manish Mishra, The Dartmouth Institute 

This course uses experiences of illness and efforts to heal as windows into what it means to be human. Grounded in an interdisciplinary, holistic approach, it aims to build connections between humanistic inquiry, medicine, and diverse forms of care. It is organized around three main themes: (1) Becoming a Doctor and the Culture of Biomedicine, (2) Exploring Disease and Illness, and (3) Building a Future of Compassionate Care.

This course aims to plunge students into the complex lived realities of experiences of illness, loss, and vulnerability and the experiences of healthcare providers in responding to diverse forms of human suffering. Readings have been selected to immerse students in rich experiential accounts, drawing on memoir, creative non-fiction, and short stories as well as carefully chosen readings to introduce relevant theoretical and scientific understandings to augment sensemaking.

  1. To use experiential accounts to introduce students to the 'worlds' of illness and healing and to build students' attunement to suffering and efforts to ameliorate distress. We view experiential accounts as forms of witnessing and students will be encouraged to attend to the subtle sensorial, embodied, and intersubjective realities shaped by, and through, illness and encounters in medicine.
  2. To enhance students' capacities to make meaning of complex lived realities. We will build on the experiential accounts with relevant theoretical and scientific constructs intended to offer multiple 'frames' of understanding.
  3. To apply interdisciplinary approaches to introduce students to strategies and capacities to enhance compassion in medicine. Oriented by the public humanities, the course will apply humanistic inquiry to enhance students' abilities to be responsive to urgent forms of suffering and demoralization in medicine as scholars, clinicians, and writers.

This course is designed for students who have some background in the humanities and social sciences and is also highly relevant for those pursuing careers in health sciences.

MALS 373

Epidemics: Vortex of Fear and Wisdom

Globalization Studies, Cultural Studies or Team-taught Interdisciplinary
Instructors: Daniel R. Lucey '77, MED '81 and Joseph O'Donnell MED '71 

In these times of the COVID-19 pandemic our course will focus on what epidemics can teach us, from on-the-ground experience and from literature, about fear and experiential wisdom. For each of the nine evening classes we will also discuss updates on COVID-19. We will read from Albert Camus, Albert Schweitzer, Gabrielle Brooks, Robert Coles, Parker Palmer, David Brooks, and more. Documentaries, slides, and lessons from working on-the-ground overseas with international colleagues during epidemics e.g., HIV, SARS, MERS, Influenza, Ebola, Zika, Plague, and COVID-10 will be presented. The Smithsonian Museum Exhibition on Epidemics 2018-2022 will be discussed by the originator.

Insights on relevance to non-infectious disease epidemics, and to the lives of each student, will also be welcomed. Maximum enrollment is 25 students. The course is open to Undergraduates and Geisel students.