Epidemics in Western Society Since 1600

About the Course

This course consists of an international analysis of the impact of epidemic diseases on western society and culture from the bubonic plague to HIV/AIDS and the recent experience of SARS and swine flu. Leading themes include: infectious disease and its impact on society; the development of public health measures; the role of medical ethics; the genre of plague literature; the social reactions of mass hysteria and violence; the rise of the germ theory of disease; the development of tropical medicine; a comparison of the social, cultural, and historical impact of major infectious diseases; and the issue of emerging and re-emerging diseases.

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Course Structure

This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 50 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Spring 2010.

Course Materials

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About Professor Frank Snowden

Frank Snowden is Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of History at Yale University. He received his Ph.D. from Oxford University in 1975. His books include Violence and Great Estates in the South of Italy: Apulia, 1900-1922 (1984); The Fascist Revolution in Tuscany, 1919-1922 (1989); Naples in the Times of Cholera (1995) and The Conquest of Malaria: Italy, 1900-1962 (2006). Conquest was awarded the Gustav Ranis Prize from the MacMillan Center at Yale in 2007, the Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize by the American Historical Association, and the 2008 Welch Medal from the American Association for the History of Medicine.

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Syllabus

Professor

Frank Snowden, Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of History

Description

This course consists of an international analysis of the impact of epidemic diseases on western society and culture from the bubonic plague to HIV/AIDS and the recent experience of SARS and swine flu. Leading themes include: infectious disease and its impact on society; the development of public health measures; the role of medical ethics; the genre of plague literature; the social reactions of mass hysteria and violence; the rise of the germ theory of disease; the development of tropical medicine; a comparison of the social, cultural, and historical impact of major infectious diseases; and the issue of emerging and re-emerging diseases.

Texts

Brandt, Allan. No Magic Bullet. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987.

Barnes, David. The Making of a Social Disease: Tuberculosis in Nineteenth-Century France. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

Chase, Marilyn. The Barbary Plague. New York: Random House, 2004.

Defoe, Daniel. Journal of the Plague Year. New York: Penguin, 2003.

Fenn, Elizabeth. Pox Americana. New York: Hill and Wang, 2001.

Snow, John. Snow on Cholera, New York: The Commonwealth Fund: Oxford University Press, 1936.

Snowden, Frank. The Conquest of Malaria. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006.

Snowden, Frank. "Emerging and Re-emerging Diseases: A Historical Perspective," Immunological Reviews. Vol. 225, Issue 1, pages 9-26, October 2008.

Snowden, Frank. Naples in the Time of Cholera. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Verghese, Abraham. My Own Country. New York: Vintage Books, 1995.

Requirements

Midterm and final examinations, a course paper of six to eight pages, and weekly reading responses.

Grading

Midterm exam: 20%
Final exam: 40%
Course paper paper: 20%
Reading responses and class participation: 20%

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Course Books and Other Related Titles

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