James C Whorton
Study of Western civilization's experience with epidemic disease, the growth of understanding of the causes of disease, the formation of a philosophy of prevention, and the development of programs to protect the public health. Emphasis on the last two centuries. Medical background not required.
This course will survey the history of infectious disease in Western society, from antiquity to the present, and society’s response to epidemics (including the growth of understanding of the causes of disease, the formation of a philosophy of prevention, and the development of programs to protect the public health. Emphasis will be placed on the last two centuries. Medical background is not required.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Instruction will be accomplished through informal lecture and discussion, backed by reading in the text.
Assignments will be limited to the text. Grades will be based on performance on two exams utilizing a format of short discussion questions.
Class assignments and grading
Text: On course reserve at the Health Sciences library
PART I: Infectious Disease
I. Epidemics and Public Health Before the Nineteenth Century [Rosen, ch. 1-5]
A. God, Contagion, and Miasma: The Ancient Origins of Epidemiology
B. The Black Death: Beginnings of Public Health
C. Smallpox: Variolation, Vaccination, and Changing Attitudes Toward Prevention
D. Yellow Fever: The Triumph of Miasma Theory
II. Epidemic Disease in the Nineteenth Century [Rosen, ch. 6-7]
A. Typhus and Tuberculosis: Industrialization, Urbanization, and the Deterioration of Living Conditions
B. Asiatic Cholera
C. The Sanitary Reform Movement
D. Germ Theory and the Modernization of Epidemiology
III. Infectious Disease in the Twentieth Century [Rosen, ch. 8]
A. “The New Public Health” 1. Triumphs: Yellow Fever, Plague, and Hookworm 2. Failures: Venereal Disease and Influenza
PART II: Chemical Threats to Health
I. Poisons in the Workplace: Occupational Health
II. Adulteration of Food and Drugs
PART III: Other Diseases
I. Avitaminoses: Scurvy, Rickets, Beri-Beri, Pellagra
II. Heart Disease, Cancer, and Tobaccosis
Grades will be based on performance on two exams utilizing a format of short discussion questions.