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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Linda L Nash
HSTAA 590
Seattle Campus

Topics in American History

Seminar on selected topics in American history, with special emphasis on preparation for field examinations. Topics vary according to interests of students and instructor.

Class description

This seminar will bring together literature on the cultural construction of nature with literature on the history of the body and the history of medicine, with attention to current issues in cultural theory, history, and contemporary politics. We will consider the relationship between perceptions of "nature" and understandings of bodies that are marked by race, class, and gender in different places and periods. How have discourses of colonialism, capitalism, and medicine framed (or ignored) the relationship between human bodies and their environments, and what difference has it made? How and when did certain bodies and places come to be represented as healthy while others were labeled as diseased? How have concerns over health underwritten the transformation of local environments? How have recent changes in the technological and natural environment (the onset of radioactive fallout, the recognition of global warming, the development of new biotechnologies) influenced understandings of human bodies and human health? How can we understand the significance of the struggle between popular concerns over environmental health and environmental justice and professional discourses of medicine, epidemiology, and risk? And to what extent have changing constructions of nature and health created new kinds of subjectivity? Though the emphasis will be on the modern U.S., the course will also consider the transnational effects of particular modernizing strategies. Readings will be drawn from the fields of history and the history of medicine, anthropology, geography, sociology, and contemporary literature. Among the authors we will read are Warwick Anderson, Mark Harrison, Alan Bewell, Joyce Chaplin, Gyan Prakash, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Nayan Shah, Emily Martin, Don DeLillo, Robert Bullard, and Ulrich Beck.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

This course is intended for graduate students.

Class assignments and grading

Class assignments and grading will be outlined in the course syllabus.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Moran Tompkins
Date: 02/04/2003