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History and Anthropology of Medicine and Biology

This course explores recent historical and anthropological approaches to the study of life, in both medicine and biology. After grounding our conversation in accounts of natural history and medicine that predate the rise of biology as a discipline, we explore modes of theorizing historical and contemporary bioscience. Drawing on the work of historian William Coleman, we examine the forms, functions, and transformations of biological and medical objects of study. Along the way we treat the his...

Start Date: Feb 01, 2009 Topics: Literature, Medicine, General History, Natural History, Biology, Anthropology, Humanities
Cost: Free

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Overview

Description

This course explores recent historical and anthropological approaches to the study of life, in both medicine and biology. After grounding our conversation in accounts of natural history and medicine that predate the rise of biology as a discipline, we explore modes of theorizing historical and contemporary bioscience. Drawing on the work of historian William Coleman, we examine the forms, functions, and transformations of biological and medical objects of study. Along the way we treat the history of heredity, molecular biology, race, medicine in the colonies and the metropole, and bioeconomic exchange. We read anthropological literature on old and new forms of biopower, at scales from the molecular to the organismic to the global. The course includes readings from the HASTS Common Exam List. The aim of this seminar is to train students to be participants in scholarly debates in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences about the nature of life, the body, and biomedicine.

Details

  • Dates: Feb 01, 2009 to May 25, 2009
  • Days of the Week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Level of Difficulty: Beginner
  • Size: Massive Open Online Course
  • Instructors: Prof. Stefan Helmreich, Prof. David Jones
  • Cost: Free
  • Institution: MIT OCW
  • Topics: Literature, Medicine, General History, Natural History, Biology, Anthropology, Humanities

Provider Overview

About MIT OCW: MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

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MIT OCW Offers Courses In: Social Science, Science, Health, English Language Arts, History

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