Medicine, Science, and the Humanities

http://krieger.jhu.edu/msh

This is an interdisciplinary, humanities-based major using a cultural and historical context to explore scientific inquiry and the roots of medicine. The medicine, science, and the humanities major is ideal for students who plan to pursue careers in the health professions as well as those interested in issues of importance to science and medicine, and students who plan to pursue graduate work in a range of humanities, social science, or professional disciplines.

MSH Major Goals and Objectives

Goal

Medicine, science, and humanities majors will develop an interdisciplinary understanding of the cultural and historical roots of scientific inquiry and medicine, with the ability to apply these precepts to contemporary life.

Objectives

MSH majors will:

  • Gain an introductory awareness of theory, interpretation, and methods in a specific humanistic topic related to science and medicine
  • Acquire and develop skills of interpretation and analysis in a specific humanities discipline by focusing on primary and secondary sources such as literature, imagery, film, artifacts, and commentary
  • Acquire fundamental skills of writing and oral presentation, emphasizing clear and logical exposition to enhance student readiness for subsequent graduate school, professional school, or the workforce
  • Acquire knowledge and experience in the natural sciences
  • Understand the advantages of multiculturalism through intermediate mastery of a language beyond English.
Affiliated Humanities Departments

Major Requirements

Introductory Level

  • An introduction to the medical humanities course (usually AS.145.101)
  • One course focusing on classic scientific and medical texts
    • Examples: History of Medicine, History of Modern Medicine, or Great Books at Hopkins II: The Sciences
    • Other courses may apply with approval from the director of undergraduate studies

Required Core Humanities Courses

  • At least 4 courses totaling at least 12 credits in one, pre-approved humanities department
  • 6 credits must be at the 300-level or higher
  • Approved humanities departments: Anthropology, Classics, English, German and Romance Languages and Literatures, History, History of Art, History of Science and Technology, Humanities Center, Near Eastern Studies, Philosophy, and the Writing Seminars

Foreign Language

  • Through the intermediate level (second year at the college-level)

Additional Courses in the Sciences and the Humanities

  • At least 6 courses totaling 18 credits in sciences and humanities; at least 2 of these courses must be in the humanities and at least 2 must be science courses. Of the 6 courses, 4 must be at the 200-level or higher
AS.145.101Death and Dying in Art, Literature, and Philosophy: Introduction to Medical Humanities3
or AS.145.103 Men, Women, and Melancholy: Premodern Physiologies of Madness
or AS.145.104 Science, Medicine, Media
One course focusing on classic scientific and medical texts3
Four courses in one pre-approved humanities department *12
Foreign language through the intermediate level12-18
Six additional courses in the humanities and sciences **18+
Two must be in the humanities with POS-Tag MSCH-HUM
Two must be in the sciences

Sample Program

A typical program might include the following sequence of courses (note, this example plan emphasizes science):

Freshman
FallCreditsSpringCredits
AS.145.101Death and Dying in Art, Literature, and Philosophy: Introduction to Medical Humanities (Or other approved 100 level course.)3Foreign language 4
Foreign language4Natural science course at the 100 level3
Natural science course at the 100 level3Humanities elective in one pre-approved department at any level3
  10  10
Sophomore
FallCreditsSpringCredits
One course focusing on classic scientific and medical texts*3Foreign language3
Foreign language3Natural science elective at the 200 level3
Natural science course at the 200 level3Humanities elective in one pre-approved department at any level3
  9  9
Junior
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Humanities elective in one pre-approved department at the 300-400 level3Humanities elective in one pre-approved department at the 300-400 level3
  3  3
Senior
FallCreditsSpringCredits
200+ level Humanities elective with POS-Tag MSCH-HUM3200+ level Humanities elective with POS-Tag MSCH-HUM3
  3  3
Total Credits: 50

Honors in the Major

Honors will be offered as an option to juniors with a minimum GPA of 3.50 in major requirements.  Honors projects will be a one-semester endeavor, typically aiming toward an original thesis paper (or equivalent scholarly or creative work) approximately 20-25 pages in length, whose topic is closely related to the student’s humanities core area. Thesis projects may be supervised by a faculty member in the student’s core area, or by another faculty member with expertise relevant to the topic. In either case the supervisory/mentoring role will be by arrangement between the student, MSH advisors, and the faculty member being solicited. All topics and supervisors are to be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Juniors interested in the pursing honors option must apply with the Director of Undergraduate Studies before Fall of the senior year.  The application requires development of an approved research proposal with an accompanying mentorship plan.

While writing the thesis, students may enroll in the Independent Research course (AS 145.511, 1-3 credits). These credits are taken in addition to the 12 credits of the normal major requirements and do not count as an elective or advanced course.

Additional Course Information

Study Abroad

Courses taken abroad count toward the major only if approved by the director of undergraduate studies in consultation with your adviser. This should be arranged prior to travel.

Thinking About Pre-Med?

Johns Hopkins offers an undergraduate pre-med program, but it is not a major. It is an advising track program through the Office of Pre-Professional Advising. Any Johns Hopkins undergraduate student pursuing any major may also pursue the pre-med advising track.

The pre-professional advisers work with the students, providing them with academic advising, assistance in selecting the proper courses, and help with the medical school application process. Please note that the MSH major does not fulfill all of the requirements for a pre-med course of study. Speak with your adviser for more information.

For current course information and registration go to https://sis.jhu.edu/classes/

Courses

AS.145.101. Death and Dying in Art, Literature, and Philosophy: Introduction to Medical Humanities. 3.0 Credits.

This team-taught course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to the university's new concentration in "Medicine, Science, and Humanities." The themes of death, dying, and the treatment of the dead are explored in their changing historical, anthropological, philosophical, literary, art historical and medical dimensions. Open to freshmen, sophomores, and upperclass Medicine, Science, and Humanities majors.
Instructor(s): E. Ender; M. Merback; W. Stephens
Area: Humanities
Writing Intensive.

AS.145.102. The Cosmic Imagination: How Literature Changes Our Understanding of the Universe. 3.0 Credits.

Since time immemorial humankind has looked to the skies for clues as to our origins, our destiny, and the nature of existence itself. In some ways, one of the hallmarks of western science has been a story of viewing the cosmos in ever-greater clarity and detail. Yet the very nature of the universe—its massive size, the distance and obscurity of its farthest reaches—requires the active intervention of our imaginations to picture it, no matter how powerful the technologies we use. In this course we will look at how western cultures from the middle ages to the present have deployed the literary and philosophical imagination to try to grasp the ungraspable, and how those attempts in some cases helped prepare intellectuals and scientists to make very real advances in understanding the universe.
Prerequisites: Students may not take and receive credit for AS.145.102 and AS.211.102.
Instructor(s): W. Egginton
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

AS.145.103. Men, Women, and Melancholy: Premodern Physiologies of Madness. 3.0 Credits.

Definitions of madness change over time. From Antiquity through the Early Modern period, Melancholia was the predominant form of mental illness, thought to be caused by an imbalance in the bodily humors, resulting in an excess of black bile. The disturbed physiology adversely affected the imagination, which, with memory and intellect, was one of the three functions of the soul. Only gradually did imagination come to be identified with deliberate creativity: from about 1400 to 1800, there were two stereotypical victims of melancholia: male intellectuals and female witches. The disruption of society by witch-hunting was even more radical than the rise of the "man of genius." At stake were definitions of psychology ("science of the soul") and reality (whether witches and demons interacted "in the body" or only "in the imagination"). Readings from Plato to Freud.
Instructor(s): W. Stephens
Area: Humanities
Writing Intensive.

AS.145.104. Science, Medicine, Media. 3.0 Credits.

Much of our understanding of science and medicine is filtered through what we casually refer to as “the media”: newspapers, magazines, television shows, films, and electronic social media. But the scientific world relies on its own media to produce and circulate knowledge: from scientific journals and conferences, to agar plates and petri dishes, cloud chambers and electrophoresis gels. Medical technologies from the stethoscope to the echocardiogram likewise mediate the perception of the body in health and disease, and increasingly our own understanding and perception of our bodies and our health is mediated via screens, scans, images — without which we cannot “imagine” our selves anymore. Students will learn several tools to critically assess the technologies that mediate our knowledge of our own bodies and the broader world.
Instructor(s): B. Wegenstein; J. Greene
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

AS.145.110. Discover Hopkins: Exploring Medical Careers. 1.0 Credit.

Many people are unaware of the diversity of medical and health careers. This program introduces scientific knowledge and promotes awareness of a variety of medical and health careers, for example, multiple specialties of physicians, physician assistant, nurse careers, professional therapists (physical, occupational, respiratory, radiation), clinical nutritionist, pharmacist, genetic counselor, medical laboratory scientist, veterinarian, clinical trial professionals, clinical social worker, and public health related careers. Taught by diverse healthcare professionals currently working at Johns Hopkins Hospital System, students will gain meaningful scientific knowledge and practical career knowledge by participating in lectures, labs, hands-on/simulation activities, interviews, and workshops.
Instructor(s): Y. Li
Area: Natural Sciences.

AS.145.201. Clues: Unreasoning the Medical Mystery. 3.0 Credits.

Pioneering authors of detective fiction, including Edgar Allen Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Pauline Hopkins, often used medical doctors and themes in their mystery plots. It's no coincidence that medicine and crime fiction share a vocabulary of clues, evidence, and diagnosis. The mystery genre was integrally tied to the rise of scientific medicine as a respected profession. Indeed, classic detective stories are practically propaganda for the scientific method, showing readers how the powerful tools of observation and inference can solve any problem. Over the course of the 20th century, not only doctors, but also psychologists, social scientists and historians adopted the authoritative stance of the detective in constructing or reconstructing facts. However, as we study Sherlock Holmes and his modern proteges, such as TV doctor Gregory House, we will analyze how "medical mystery" narratives can limit our thinking about problems and solutions in medicine. We will consider post-modern detective stories that offer alternatives to the "Holmsian" model for understanding the complex clinical realities of today.
Instructor(s): A. Puglionesi
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

AS.145.301. Naturalizing the Human Body in Early Modern France: the Confrontation of Literature, Science and Politics. 3.0 Credits.

Literature in early modern Europe was essential to the naturalizing of the human body, a partner in the reshaping of the cultures and disciplines around it. This course looks at several shifts within major literary works of the 17th and 18th centuries, a time of great intellectual upheaval, a moment when the interpenetration of the literary, scientific and political cultures was such that “art for art’s sake” would have been considered irresponsible. The primary goals of the course are to allow students to understand the intrinsic literary value of the texts, but equally to show how that literary activity, both of writing and of reading, was the vehicle for the elaboration of the modern mind set. We will focus on three cases: vision, the body’s “economy” and Body of the State, and the “scandal” of smallpox vaccination. Texts will include, for example, extracts from: Newton’s Opticks, Cyrano de Bergerac’s The States and Empires of the Sun, Montesquieu’s Persian Letters and Spirit of the Laws, Voltaire’s English Letters, Rousseau’s The New Eloise, Laclos’ Dangerous Liaisons, Guillotine’s text inventing the guillotine. For more information, please see the full course description at http://www.wilda.org/Courses/CourseVault/Undergrad/Naturalizing/Description.html. This course and texts will be in English, but readings will also be available in French.
Instructor(s): W. Anderson
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

AS.145.330. Insomnia in Modern Literature, Philosophy, and Film. 3.0 Credits.

Insomnia, while being defined and treated as a sleep disorder in the field of medical discourse, has attracted other kinds of interest, too. Philosophers and writers have been intrigued by insomnia since antiquity. From their perspectives, the capability of being sleepless not only distinguishes humankind from animals but testifies to human awareness in its ceaseless striving for wisdom and truth. Insomnia appears as vigilance, an exalted state of mind well suited for philosophic reflection, intense scrutiny of the world, and sudden inspiration. Yet these moments of sustained productivity are inextricably bound to insomnia’s “dark” side, the fact that sleeplessness tortures the body and exhausts the mind, haunts the weary wakeful and makes him meditate on insomnia. Thus sleeplessness turns into an obsession with the potential to transform thinking into endless introspection, self-absorbed melancholy, if not misanthropic sarcasm. This course will examine representations of insomnia in modern philosophy, literature and film. We will analyze to what extent interpretations of sleeplessness in the humanities differ from those in medical and scientific discourse. Particular emphasis will be placed on the relationship between insomnia, subjectivity, thinking, and writing. Authors and films to be considered will include among others Emanuel Lévinas, Emil Cioran, Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Djuna Barnes, Gabriel García Márquez and Insomnia (2002; Christopher Nolan).
Instructor(s): A. Krauss
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

AS.145.401. In Search of the Human: Ways of Remembering. 3.0 Credits.

Studying narrative as a way of understanding the complex emotions associated with illness and the lifecycle has long been recognized as an important part of clinical training. This course focuses on autobiographical memory as a particularly important part of forming a personal narrative. These memories can offer foundations on which to build an approach to life and its challenges, and they can also be constraining. The course readings will illustrate how authors of fiction and scientists have grappled with the task of remembering and studied the configurations of autobiographical recollection.
Instructor(s): E. Ender; L. Wissow
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

AS.145.502. Medicine, Science & the Humanities Internship. 3.0 Credits.

An internship in Medicine, Science & the Humanities approved by the director of the program.
Instructor(s): C. Wiener
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

AS.145.510. Medicine, Science & the Humanities Independent Research. 1.0 Credit.

This course is for students in the Medicine, Science & the Humanities doing independent research.
Instructor(s): A. Motion; C. Wiener
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

AS.145.511. Medicine, Science & the Humanities Independent Research. 1.0 - 3.0 Credits.

This class is for the MSH majors completing their research project. Instructor approval required.
Instructor(s): C. Wiener
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Cross Listed Courses

History of Art

AS.010.403. Art and Science in the Middle Ages. 3.0 Credits.

This course investigates the intersections of art and science from the Carolingian period through the fourteenth century and the historical role images played in the pursuit of epistemic truths. Science – from the Latin scientia, or knowledge – in the Middle Ages included a broad range of intellectual pursuits into both the supernatural and natural worlds, and scholars have classified these pursuits in various ways (i.e. experimental or theoretical science, practical science, magic, and natural philosophy). A particular focus of this seminar will be placed on the assimilation of Greek and Islamic scientific advances in cartography, cosmology, and optical theory into the Latin theological tradition.
Instructor(s): C. Lakey
Area: Humanities
Writing Intensive.

Classics

AS.040.152. Medical Terminology. 3.0 Credits.

This course investigates the Greek and Latin roots of modern medical terminology, with additional focus on the history of ancient medicine and its role in the development of that terminology.
Instructor(s): J. Smith
Area: Humanities.

AS.040.238. Freshman Seminar: Magic and Miracles from Antiquity to the Renaissance. 3.0 Credits.

This freshman seminar will explore concepts of magic and miracles and their different forms from ancient Greece and Rome and early Christianity through the Middle Ages up to the Renaissance. Dean's Prize Teaching Fellowship Course.
Instructor(s): M. Mueller
Area: Humanities
Writing Intensive.

AS.040.241. The Greeks and Their Emotions. 3.0 Credits.

This seminar is meant as an introduction to the study of ancient emotions, with a particular emphasis on how the Greeks of the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods conceptualized, portrayed and lived their emotions through linguistic, literary and artistic expression. After an analysis of how the ancient Greek terminology for the emotions differs from our own, we shall focus on the phenomenon of emotion as deeply rooted in the physical body, and in light of this we will contemplate (and question) its universality. Texts will be read in translation. No knowledge of ancient Greek required.
Instructor(s): M. Asuni
Area: Humanities
Writing Intensive.

English

AS.060.108. Time Travel. 3.0 Credits.

Why is time travel such a consistent and perplexing theme in literature and film over the last 150 years? Why is modernity so concerned with peeking backwards or forwards? This course will examine the history of time-travel fiction, from its beginning in utopian fiction through its box-office dominance in the 1980s, and into today. Writers will likely include Mark Twain, Edward Bellamy, Harold Steele Mackay, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, and Philip K. Dick. Movies will include *The Terminator*, *Back to the Future*, and *Primer*.
Instructor(s): J. Rosenthal
Area: Humanities
Writing Intensive.

AS.060.123. Freshman Seminar: Prophecy After Science. 3.0 Credits.

This course explores the history of prophecy from ancient Greek and Judaic sources to current intimations of technological singularity and ecological doom. We will focus on the influence of prophecy on the rise of science (and vice-versa). Readings will include texts by William Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, Mary Shelley, and Philip K. Dick.
Instructor(s): W. Miller
Area: Humanities
Writing Intensive.

AS.060.127. Muslim Science Fiction. 3.0 Credits.

This course will explore the wondrous and mysterious world of Islamic Sci-Fi. Writers of Muslim Sci-Fi have asserted a long tradition of speculative fiction and fantasy dating back to the 13th century. We will look into this literary history, beginning with earlier texts like The Arabian Nights, al-Qizwini’s alien story Awaj bin Anfaq and Roquia Hussain’s Sultana's Dream all the way through to modern texts like G. Willow Wilson’s Alif the Unseen and Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon. We will ask how this genre, as opposed to realism, might enable these writers to productively tackle themes of history, science, belief, and the politics of belonging and difference. We will pair our Muslim readings with more canonical science fiction works, such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, and more recently, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, to think through the relationship of the SF writer to a particular cultural moment. We will also look at writers of afrofuturism and magical realism, like Octavia Butler and Gabriel García Márquez, to think about how other writers of color have employed fantasy and the fantastical, and to what ends.
Instructor(s): N. Hashem
Area: Humanities
Writing Intensive.

History

AS.100.205. Freshman Seminar: Health, Healing, and Medicine in Africa. 3.0 Credits.

A freshman seminar introducing students to the history of health, healing, and forms of medical practice in Africa over the last two centuries.
Instructor(s): P. Larson
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

AS.100.291. Medicine in an Age of Empires, 1500-1800. 3.0 Credits.

How did medicine emerge as a distinctive body of knowledge and a profession in the early modern period? The answers lie in the histories of disease, empire, and global commerce.
Instructor(s): Z. Dorner
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

AS.100.381. Religion, Medicine, and the Mind in Japan. 3.0 Credits.

This seminar explores the relationship between religion and medicine in treating disorders of the mind and soul throughout Japanese history. We will consider such topics as animal spirit possession, Buddhism, family-based care, psychotherapy, gender, and social withdrawal.
Instructor(s): H. Kim
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

Near Eastern Studies

AS.130.259. Ancient Science. 3.0 Credits.

A survey of scientific practices and technological innovations in the ancient world, including astronomy, medicine, law, and divination. Special attention will be devoted to the relationship between magic and science during the periods covered.
Instructor(s): P. Delnero
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

History of Science & Technology

AS.140.105. History of Medicine. 3.0 Credits.

Course provides an overview of the medical traditions of six ancient cultures; the development of Greek and Islamic traditions in Europe; and the reform and displacement of the Classical traditions during the Scientific Revolution.
Instructor(s): G. Pomata
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

AS.140.115. Freshman Seminar: Artificial Humans. 3.0 Credits.

Looking at the history of attempts to augment or construct human beings, the course will explore the role of technology in molding human existence and shaping the defination of humanity.
Instructor(s): Y. Frumer
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

AS.140.146. History of Public Health in East Asia. 3.0 Credits.

This course examines the history of disease, epidemics, and public health responses in East Asia from the 17th-20th centuries. This public health history emphasizes the interactions, connections, and comparisons among China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.
Instructor(s): M. Hanson
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

AS.140.163. Jungle Doctors: Medical Missions in Africa from David Livingstone to Paul Farmer. 3.0 Credits.

Freshman seminar using a variety of primary and secondary sources, students will explore the motivations and activities of expatriates practicing medicine in Africa from the 19th century to the present.
Instructor(s): J. Cummiskey
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

AS.140.165. Enlightenment Science Through Brilliant Books. 3.0 Credits.

Course explores the brilliant scientific and philosophic achievements of the 18th-century intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment through the reading of a selection of key authors (Voltaire, Franklin, the great Encyclopedists...). Includes introduction to research method and writing in the humanities.
Instructor(s): J. Richard
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

AS.140.176. Public Health in East Asia Through Films & Documentaries. 1.0 Credit.

This course uses contemporary films and documentaries to address issues in public health in East Asia, past & present. Topics covered include medicine in turn-of-the-twentieth century Japan and China, revolutionary medicine, STDS, mental illness, HIV/AIDs in China, industrial pollution, the politics of universal health care insurance, and pandemics in East Asia.
Instructor(s): M. Hanson
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

AS.140.302. Rise Of Modern Science. 3.0 Credits.

Survey of important achievements in modern science from Newton to the Hubble Space Telescope, with topics drawn from physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, and geology. Examines how science has shaped the modern world.
Instructor(s): J. Mercelis; S. Kingsland
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

AS.140.313. Psychopolitics: Science, Mind, and Society. 3.0 Credits.

This course explores the history of psychiatry and the mind sciences as social and political institutions in the United States, from the country's founding to the present. Each class meeting will explore a set of "alternative facts" emerging in the setting of a landmark political dispute in US history. Students will read, discuss, and research claims made by competing scientific experts about who should participate in American society and to what extent. Overall, the course is geared toward students interested in making sense of the exchange between scientific knowledge and social politics.
Instructor(s): S. Scharff
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

AS.140.321. Scientific Revolution. 3.0 Credits.

Explore how the Western understanding of nature changed between 1500 and 1720 through the works of astronomers and astrologers, naturalists and magi, natural philosophers and experimentalists, doctors and alchemists & others.
Instructor(s): M. Portuondo
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

AS.140.343. What it Means to be Human: Perspectives in the History of Anthropology, 1860-1995. 3.0 Credits.

This course explores the changing scientific, social, and cultural ideas that shaped how anthropologists and other scholars approached the study of human beings from the mid-nineteenth through the twentieth centuries.
Instructor(s): A. Link
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

AS.140.345. Animal Minds: Beyond the Black Box. 3.0 Credits.

How do migratory birds and fish find their way home? Do honeybees communicate using a “dance language”? Do chimpanzees have mental lives akin to those of human beings? How do scientists attempt to answer such questions, and why was the “animal mind” a taboo for over 50 years in American science? Focusing on ethology and psychology from Darwin to the present, this course examines the history of the study of animal cognition and behavior. A major emphasis throughout the course will be on the question of animal consciousness from the late-19th through the 20th century.
Instructor(s): R. Nash
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

AS.140.346. History of Chinese Medicine. 3.0 Credits.

Students will study the most recent anthropological, philosophical, and historical scholarship on medicine in traditional and modern Chinese society. They will approach the topic from several angles including medical pluralism, the range of healers, domestic and literate medicine, gender, emergence of new disciplines, public health and the history of disease. The course relies on secondary sources and primary sources in English translation. Cross-listed with East Asian Studies.
Instructor(s): M. Hanson
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

AS.140.357. Science Fiction Movies in the East and West. 3.0 Credits.

What is a science fiction (SF) movie? How did SF movies and developments in science and technology influence each other during the twentieth century? What is the use of SF movies for societies? And why are SF movies much more popular in some countries than in others? By watching and analyzing classic and contemporary SF movies from the US, the Soviet Union, Japan, China, and other countries, we will search for answers to these questions. Special emphasis will be given to analyzing how historical, political, and cultural environments in different countries have influenced the production and acceptance of SF movies.
Instructor(s): D. Kim
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

AS.140.370. History of Mental Illness and Psychiatry in Modern West. 3.0 Credits.

This course will be an introduction to the history of "madness" in modern Europe and America. In particular, it will examine the ideas that have shaped perceptions of madness, insanity, and mental illness; the changing experiences of those afflicted; the development of those professions designed to look after those deemed mad, insane, and mentally ill; and the social and cultural assumptions behind treatments, policies, and public opinions.
Instructor(s): J. Ballenger
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

AS.140.382. Plagues and Societies in World History. 3.0 Credits.

This course examines some of the most notable epidemics in world history from the Black Death to Ebola in 2014. Topics include the origins of epidemic diseases; the relations between epidemics and warfare, empires, and trade; and the sociocultural underpinnings of disease response.
Instructor(s): K. Arner
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

AS.140.390. Science and Technology in Latin America. 3.0 Credits.

The course surveys the development of western science and technology in Hispanic America (1492 to the present). We begin studying the hybridization of scientific practices between European and Native American cultures during the early colonial era and end with the transfer of technologies and industrialization of the 20th century. We emphasize the role on science and technology in state formation, the acculturation of foreign ideas in colonial and postcolonial societies, and the role of intellectual elites in modernization programs.
Instructor(s): M. Portuondo
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

AS.140.398. Godzilla and Fukushima: Japanese Environment in History and Films. 3.0 Credits.

Juxtaposing Japanese environmental history and its reflection in popular media, the course will explore the intersection between technology, environment, and culture. The course will be accompanied by relevant movie screenings.
Instructor(s): Y. Frumer
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

AS.140.411. Senior Research Seminar. 2.0 Credits.

Instructor(s): J. Mercelis; M. Portuondo
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

AS.140.447. Science and the City. 3.0 Credits.

This seminar explores the nature and growth of urban scientific communities from Victorian Manchester, through geographic growth clusters such as Silicon Valley and Route 128, to new eco-cities in China and Abu Dhabi.
Instructor(s): J. Mercelis; R. Kargon; S. Leslie
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Philosophy

AS.150.136. Philosophy & Science: An Introduction to Both. 3.0 Credits.

Philosophers and scientists raise important questions about the nature of the physical world, the mental world, the relationship between them, and the right methods to use in their investigations of these worlds. The answers they present are very different. Scientists are usually empiricists, and want to answer questions by experiment and observation. Philosophers don’t want to do this, but defend their views a priori. Why? Can both be right? Readings will present philosophical and scientific views about the world and our knowledge of it. They will include selections from major historical and contemporary figures in philosophy and science. This course has no prerequisites in philosophy or science.
Instructor(s): P. Achinstein
Area: Humanities, Natural Sciences.

AS.150.182. What is Science?. 3.0 Credits.

A philosophical introduction to very basic questions about scientific reasoning, its scope and limits. Is there a universal scientific method? Can science really explain everything, anything? Must everything be proved in science? Is science incompatible with religion? Readings will be from scientists and philosophers who have thought about these issues from Descartes and Newton to the present. No prerequisites either in philosophy or science.
Instructor(s): P. Achinstein
Area: Humanities, Natural Sciences.

AS.150.219. Introduction to Bioethics. 3.0 Credits.

Introduction to a wide range of moral issues arising in the biomedical fields, e.g. physician-assisted suicide, human cloning, abortion, surrogacy, and human subjects research. Cross-listed with Public Health Studies.
Instructor(s): H. Bok
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

AS.150.245. Introduction to Philosophy of Mind. 3.0 Credits.

This is an introduction to the central problems of philosophy of mind: the mind-body problem and the problem of self-knowledge. Of particular interest in contemporary work is the relation of mind and brain and whether, or how, we acquire self-knowledge.
Instructor(s): E. Taylor
Area: Humanities.

AS.150.431. Introduction to Philosophy of Science. 3.0 Credits.

Scientific knowledge plays an important role in human understanding. What makes something scientific? For that matter, what is a scientific explanation? Philosophers have long reflected on the nature of science and the way it shapes our conception of the universe. In this course, we will explore topics at the intersection of philosophy and science, including scientific explanation, laws of nature, the problem of induction, and reductionism. This course presupposes no philosophical or scientific background.
Instructor(s): P. Achinstein; R. Bett
Area: Humanities.

AS.150.454. The Value of Humanity. 3.0 Credits.

Are human beings distinctively valuable? What makes us valuable? And how should we respond to the value of human beings? The course is divided into four parts. The first part takes up questions about the basis of human value. We consider various proposals, including Kant's, about the valuable feature or capacity of human beings. Are we valuable in virtue of having a good will, in virtue of being agents, in virtue of being valuers, or something further? The second part takes up questions about the explanation of the value of human beings. Does the proposed feature make us valuable because it instantiates a simple value property, making us valuable in ourselves, or simpliciter? We consider whether the notion of value simpliciter is a notion we fully understand, or need. Does the proposed feature make us valuable because it makes us good-for something or someone? Who or what does it make us good-for? Or again, does the proposed feature make us such that we are objects of an appropriate attitude or practical stance? If so, what is the attitude or stance? The third part of the course takes up normative questions about the appropriate mode of responding to human beings. We consider whether it makes sense to say that human beings are "ends-in-themselves," and what it would mean to treat a person as an end-in-itself. We also consider various accounts of respect. A guiding question is whether human beings are the only appropriate objects of respect, or whether we can respect other beings, and even artifacts. The fourth part of the class applies what we have learned so far to related topics: to the question of whether human life or existence is valuable, and conversely, whether death is disvaluable. We consider, albeit briefly, the value of human beings in relation to the value of animals. And we ask about the role of Kantian notions like dignity in applied contexts, so that highly philosophical considerations about value are shown to have real-world bearing.
Instructor(s): L. Theunissen
Area: Humanities.

AS.150.474. Justice and Health. 3.0 Credits.

Course will consider the bearing of theories of justice on health care. Topics will include national health insurance, rationing and cost containment, and what justice requires of researchers in developing countries.
Instructor(s): H. Bok
Area: Humanities.

AS.150.476. Philosophy and Cognitive Science. 3.0 Credits.

This term's topic will be "cognitive penetration". Can what you believe change how things look and sound? For example, do paintings look different to someone who knows a lot about art history and aesthetics? Can racial prejudice cause someone to see a cellphone as a gun? If your beliefs can alter your perceptions, how can perceptions provide neutral justification for beliefs? And how does one draw a distinction between perception and thought in the first place? Readings will be drawn both from philosophy (e.g., Fodor, Block, Siegel) and psychology (e.g., Pylyshyn, Firestone, Lupyan). Recommended Course Background: Some previous exposure to philosophy, the mind-brain sciences, or other relevant background.
Instructor(s): S. Gross
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Writing Intensive.

German & Romance Languages & Literatures

AS.210.313. Medical Spanish. 3.0 Credits.

Medical Spanish is a comprehensive examination of vocabulary and grammar for students who either work or intend to work in medicine and health-related fields in Spanish-speaking environments. The student will be able to participate in conversations on topics such as contrasting health systems, body structures, disorders and conditions, consulting your doctor, physical and mental health, first-aid, hospitalization and surgery on completion of this course. In completing the course’s final project students will apply, synthesize, and reflect on what has been learned in the class by creating a professional dossier individualized to their professional interests. There is no final exam. May not be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory. Not open to native speakers of Spanish. No new enrollments permitted after the third class session.
Prerequisites: AS.210.311 OR AS.210.312 or appropriate Spanish placement exam score.
Instructor(s): J. López Raja
Area: Humanities.

AS.212.469. Limit-Experience, Limit-Texts. 3.0 Credits.

Why tell stories? What power do writers wield against the disorder of life? How do literary narratives measure up to experiences that usher us beyond the limits of the imaginable? In this course we will examine modern and contemporary works in French that engage with such limit states and situations as combat, imprisonment, madness, terminal illness, and corporeal transformation. Authors to be considered include Carrère, Chevillard, Darrieussecq, Delbo, Duras, Guibert, and Volodine.
Instructor(s): D. Schilling
Area: Humanities.

AS.212.696. Literature Confronts Science: Zola.

Zola worked with the theories of heredity of his time in the Rougon-Macquart novels. But he also attempted to use his understanding of biology and thermodynamics to reform the theory of the novel in general. This course will examine these two different effects of science on literature and try to see what leads an author to undertake such a project. For a more extended description, please see http://www.wilda.org/Courses/CourseVault/Grad/Zola/Syllabus.html. Advanced undergraduates with sufficient background may register for this course with permission of the instructor.
Instructor(s): W. Anderson.

AS.213.345. Healing and Health Beyond Theology. 3.0 Credits.

Nietzsche argues in The Gay Science that to bring about a new day we need a new health—“great health,” as he calls it, that enables us to surmount the sickness of our age and transcend ourselves. However much of an iconoclast Nietzsche considered himself to be, his idea of “great health” fits squarely within a theological tradition that claims that the condition for becoming a member of the ecclesia is faith, which cleanses the individual of sin and restores him to his original state. This course will examine the theological inheritance that has and continues to shape the notion of sickness and health dominant even in secular contexts, where well-being would seem to be regarded as a condition of the body rather than of the spirit. Reading to include works by Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Augustine, Tillich, Heidegger, Scholem, Tolstoy, Büchner, Flaubert, and Kafka. Taught in English.
Instructor(s): R. Tobias
Area: Humanities
Writing Intensive.

AS.214.477. Magic, Marvel, and Monstrosity in the Renaissance. 3.0 Credits.

Magic, Monstrosity,and Marvels or Wonders call into question what we see and experience: what is reality, what is illusion; what’s natural and what’s supernatural? What’s human and what’s more, or less, than human? During the Renaissance, ideas about the nature of reality were bound up with questions and issues very different from those of our time. With the exact sciences still being invented, the nature of the world was much less hard and fast for Renaissance people than it is for the modern educated person. The literary masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance provide vivid illustrations of the early modern sense of wonder. Foremost among these are the theatrical comedies which Italian authors revived in imitation of the ancients, and the romances, especially Ariosto’s Orlando furioso (1532) and Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata (1581). These and other works influenced ideas about magical and marvelous phenomena across Europe for centuries to come. Works will be read and discussed in English. Italian majors and graduate students (who should enroll in section 2) will attend a weekly supplemental discussion in Italian and compose their written work in Italian.
Instructor(s): W. Stephens
Area: Humanities
Writing Intensive.

Writing Seminars

AS.220.206. Writing about Science I: Daily News Journalism. 3.0 Credits.

This course is designed to teach students the skills of daily news reporting, with a focus on covering science news. Students will learn how turn scientific discoveries into lively and engaging prose for the general public, interview sources, and pitch stories to news organizations. The skills taught are applicable to all areas of journalism, not just science journalism.
Instructor(s): D. Grimm
Area: Humanities
Writing Intensive.

AS.220.210. Introduction to Non-Fiction: Science as a Social Activity. 3.0 Credits.

Using the political and economic milieu of science and technology as a context for our writing, we will study how social factors such as government, money, secrecy, and ethics affect the conduct and public presentation of scientific and medical research. Controversies from 20th century history as well as current events will be discussed. Writing assignments to satisfy the W requirement will consist of short papers derived from classroom topics.
Instructor(s): W. Biddle
Area: Humanities
Writing Intensive.

AS.220.309. Writing Healthy Baltimore. 3.0 Credits.

Students will explore public health issues in Baltimore and then write about them first in short pieces, and then in longer, polished works. The framework will be the mayor’s Healthy Baltimore 2015 initiative – launched in 2011 to address the city’s top-10 public health problems, including obesity, smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, STDs, cancer, and environmental health hazards. Students will study the initiative and its historical context; examine data sets; explore where and how the initiative intersects with public health practitioners and advocacy groups at the neighborhood level; and write what they learn in different formats, including essays, breaking news, and substance analysis. Students will then “workshop” each other’s papers.
Instructor(s): K. Masterson
Area: Humanities
Writing Intensive.

AS.220.317. Writing about Science II: Feature Writing Journalism. 3.0 Credits.

This course is designed to teach students the skills of long-form narrative journalism, with a focus on covering science news. Skills taught apply to all areas of journalism, not just science journalism, and include how to compose scenes, create three-dimensional characters, create narrative tension, and conduct on-site reporting. The primary writing assignment will be a 3,000-word feature piece that is pitched, reported, and workshopped throughout the course of the class. "Writing About Science I"(formerly Becoming a Science Journalist) is recommended as a prerequisite for this course. Students who have not taken this course will need to complete a short writing test (may be waived for Writing Seminars students) and obtain the permission of the instructor to enroll. To schedule this test, please contact the instructor at dgrimm5@jhu.edu
Instructor(s): D. Grimm
Area: Humanities
Writing Intensive.

AS.220.424. Science as Narrative. 3.0 Credits.

Class reads the writings of scientists to explore what their words would have meant to them and their readers. Discussion will focus on the shifting scientific/cultural context throughout history. Authors include Aristotle, Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Darwin, Freud, Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, Crick and Watson.
Instructor(s): R. Panek
Area: Humanities
Writing Intensive.

Sociology

AS.230.341. Sociology of Health and Illness. 3.0 Credits.

This course introduces students to core concepts that define the sociological approach to health, illness and health care. Topics include: health disparities, social context of health and illness, and the Sociology of Medicine.
Instructor(s): E. Agree
Area: Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Comparative Thought and Literature

AS.300.139. Introduction to Intellectual History. 3.0 Credits.

This course offers a conceptual and historical introduction to Intellectual History. What makes the “history of ideas” different from the history of other objects? What, if anything, distinguishes the history of ideas from the history of philosophy? What is it exactly that we call “ideas”? In what sense do they have a history? These are examples of the kind of questions addressed in the course.
Instructor(s): P. Marrati
Area: Humanities.

Humanities Center

AS.300.143. Introduction to Comparative Literature. 3.0 Credits.

This course offers an introduction to the history, theory, and praxis of comparative literature. We will read texts from some of the founding figures of the discipline and look at the most recent debates in the field, including translation studies, literary theory, and world literature, among others. Particular attention will be given to the methodologies and problems of studying literatures in different linguistic traditions and the relation between literature and other areas of thought and culture, such as philosophy, art history, and psychoanalysis. Case studies in comparative approaches to literature will provide concrete examples to our discussions.
Instructor(s): L. Lisi
Area: Humanities.

AS.300.325. American Madness – History of the Treatment of the Mentally Ill. 3.0 Credits.

As mental illnesses became a social issue during the 18th century, community institutions were created in order to handle the needs of individuals with such illnesses collectively. This course will investigate the history of these institutions in the USA from the seemingly quiet, secluded, and peaceful private asylums in country settings, at the beginning of the 19th century, through the notorious crowded public, so-called “psychopathic hospitals” in mid-20th century, to the crisis-services, short-term acute psychiatric units, and out-patient services that followed the “death of the asylum” at the end of the 20th century. The history of the institutional care of the mentally ill in America is also the story of American psychiatry changing attitudes towards these individuals. Reading will include selections from 200 years of writings of asylum superintendents, psychiatrists, patients, and historians of psychiatry such as Foucault, Goffman, Grob, Scull, Lunbeck, Micale, and Mora.
Instructor(s): O. Ophir
Area: Humanities.

AS.300.333. Melancholy in Science, Literature, and Film. 3.0 Credits.

This course explores the manifold nature of melancholy from an interdisciplinary perspective that combines sciences, history of medicine, and the arts. Defined by Greek medicine as the excess of black bile, melancholy, in its long history, has been seen as disease of the soul, state of intellectual grace, or psychological condition. The course will examine chronologically the development and variety of the meanings of melancholy between medical texts, visual representations, poetry, psychoanalytic theory, and films. The works analyzed will include, among others, those by Galen, Robert Burton, Albrecht Dürer, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Baudelaire, Freud, Lars von Trier.
Instructor(s): E. Fabietti
Area: Humanities.

AS.300.345. Madness Interpreted – A Case Study in Medical Humanities. 3.0 Credits.

Too often conventional medical education teaches the student to translate a rich and complex narrative of illness into a minimalistic account, stripped of its ambiguities. Case presentations, too, are highly formalized reports lacking the historical, cultural, and social context. Although medicine since antiquity relies on the interpretation of observations, “evidence-based medicine,” when reductively used, tends to ignore the basic fact that we are “self-interpreting animals.” Patients and doctors alike try to make sense of their experiences as they recount them and, hence, case narratives teach us not only about disease and medical practice but also what it means to be human. This course will concentrate on the “case” of what is arguably the most famous psychiatric patient in the world, Daniel Paul Schreber, the German fin-de- siècle Senatspräsident of the Saxon Supreme Court. Beginning with Freud, the first doctor who turned Schreber’s rich psychotic delusional world, as expressed in his bizarre, at times comic and then again painful, Memoir, into a “case of paranoia,” we will follow the many interpretations that this narrative of illness with its unique cosmology, private theology, extraordinary creatures, transgressed sexuality, and cataclysmic vision of the universe, inspired in generations of psychoanalysts, historians, philosophers, theologians, literary critics, essayists, and scholars in political science as well as queer studies. Whether he was a paranoid schizophrenic, victim of traumatic abuse, a solipsistic philosopher, proto-fascist, or cultural hero, Schreber’s memoir offers a paradigmatic case in the study of the field of medical humanities. Readings will include: Schreber, Freud, Benjamin, Canetti, Klein, Lacan, Deleuze and Guattari, de Certeau, Lingis, Lyotard, and Santner. Cross-listed with GRLL and History.
Instructor(s): O. Ophir
Area: Humanities.

AS.300.371. The Modernist Novel: James, Woolf, and Joyce. 3.0 Credits.

The purpose of this course is to survey works by three of the greatest, most relentless innovators of the twentieth century – Henry James, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce -- who explored and exploded narrative techniques for depicting what Woolf called the “luminous halo” of life. Selected works include: "The Beast in the Jungle," The Portrait of a Lady, Jacob’s Room, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses.
Instructor(s): Y. Ong
Area: Humanities.

AS.300.383. History of Madness from the Bible to DSM-V. 3.0 Credits.

Madmen, lunatics or the insane, have seen an extraordinary variety of responses and attitudes across the centuries. Whether seen as a “true” phenomenon or as socially constructed “madness” was defined and treated, examined and controlled, diagnosed and “cured” according to the spirit of the time. This course will follow the varied social imageries of “madness” throughout Western history, from the Bible to the contemporary and controversial Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) in its most recent 5th edition. Alongside primary texts by Hippocrates, Avicenna, Pinel, and Freud and secondary texts by Michel Foucault, Ian Hacking, Edward Shorter, and Elaine Showalter, among others, we will acquaint ourselves with first-person accounts of “madness” and its different forms of treatment, ranging from lunatic asylum, through electric-shock treatments and lobotomies to psychoanalysis. The course will explore the interaction between the historical and social, scientific and political as well as economical factors that have shaped the views of “madness” and its treatment.
Instructor(s): O. Ophir
Area: Humanities.

AS.300.427. Reading Freud. 3.0 Credits.

Sigmund Freud was one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. Psychoanalysis, which was his theory of mind, a research method, and a therapeutic technique, offered concepts that pervade Western culture and the humanities. In this seminar which is designed for students from all fields of knowledge, we will closely and chronologically read Freud’s major works, follow his developing theories, and become familiar with psychoanalytic concepts such as the unconscious, the uncanny, instincts, sexuality and aggression, which illuminated mysteries in other fields, from literature to anthropology, from political science to religious studies, and from philosophy to the arts.
Instructor(s): O. Ophir
Area: Humanities.

Study of Women, Gender, & Sexuality

AS.363.420. Stories of Hysteria. 3.0 Credits.

Hysteria, an elusive and polymorphous disease associated with the female body, was first diagnosed in Greek Antiquity. When, in the late nineteenth-century, Sigmund Freud decided to study it, he made discoveries that shaped in a decisive way the new science of psychoanalysis and offered new foundations for discussions of what we might now call “psychosomatic illness.” Though rarely diagnosed nowadays, hysteria provides a fascinating introduction to medical, clinical, social, and ethical questions connected to gender that have lost none of their relevance. We will study fictional narratives from the 18th century to the present as if they were case-studies -- as a way of appraising hysteria’s changing and provocatively volatile definitions across time and in different cultural frameworks. Among our topics: trauma and PTSD, the concept of repression, masculinities, women and madness, and, above all, transformations in gender roles and identities in the modern era. In addition to selected readings of medical and historical materials available on Blackboard, texts for study are: The Nun (Diderot), Trilby (du Maurier), Fragment of a Case of Hysteria (Freud), Regeneration (Barker), The Icarus Girl (Oyeyemi), Redeployment (Klay).
Instructor(s): E. Ender
Area: Humanities.

Program in Museums and Society

AS.389.201. Introduction to the Museum: Past and Present. 3.0 Credits.

This course surveys museums, from their origins to their most contemporary forms, in the context of broader historical, intellectual, and cultural trends including the social movements of the 20th century. Anthropology, art, history, and science museums are considered. Cross-listed with History and History of Art.
Instructor(s): J. Kingsley
Area: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

AS.389.353. Revolutions of the Book: Material Culture & the Transformation of Knowledge from Antiquity to the Renaissance. 3.0 Credits.

Explores the material culture of knowledge through transformations in the technologies and arts of communication, taught entirely from rare books, manuscripts, and artifacts in JHU libraries and museum collections.
Instructor(s): E. Havens
Area: Humanities
Writing Intensive.

Faculty

Directors

Charles Wiener
Professor of Medicine and Physiology; Director, Medicine, Science, and the Humanities

Mitchell Merback
Professor, History of Art; Director, Medicine, Science and the Humanities

Professor

Bernadette Wegenstein
Professor of Media Studies, Department of German and Romance Languages and Literatures

Assistant Professor

Joshua Smith
Assistant Professor, Classics

Visiting Professor

Eveylne Ender
Visiting Professor, Department of German and Romance Languages and Literatures