Each year the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins sponsors the Dean’s Teaching Fellowship Program, designed to foster innovation in the undergraduate curriculum. The DTF gives advanced graduate students experience teaching their own undergraduate courses and provides them with funding for graduate research. This is one of the most important opportunities available for graduate students, who regard the DTF as a prestigious fellowship and a valuable opportunity to assert themselves academically.
Over the years, our graduate students have delivered a number of extremely successful courses under the Dean’s Teaching Fellowship program. Here you can discover more about upcoming courses and courses that our students have taught in the past.
Jungle Doctors: Medical Missions in Africa from David Livingstone to Paul Farmer
AS 140.163, Fall 2015
Expatriate doctors in Africa have often been household names, with bestselling books by authors such as Albert Schweitzer, Pascal Imperato, and Paul Farmer. The class will look at the work of these and other individuals, their motives for practicing medicine in Africa, the context in which medicine was practiced in different times and places, and the ways that it was represented for various audiences. In each case, we will be exploring the reasons that doctors from other parts of the world chose to practice in Africa.
Students will practice their critical reading and writing skills while discussing the way that medical practitioners from outside the continent interacted with Africans during these periods. Students will also discuss how those practitioners described Africa and Africans to (primarily) European and American audiences. Readings will include memoirs, diaries, newspaper articles, popular historical accounts, and scholarly historical and anthropological articles and chapters. The course will give students the opportunity to consider both ways of knowing about the past and the relationship between the past and the present of medical intervention.
Sir Albert (Ruskin) Cook with a group of native boys. Wellcome Library, London.
Health and the City: Urban Public Health in Historical Perspective
AS 140.379, Spring 2015, Tuesday, Thursday 10.30-11.45am
This course addresses the history of cities as sites of concern, action, and knowledge production in public health. Looking at a variety of cities and public health problems over the past two centuries, we will explore the history of urban public health as a local, socially embedded set of ideas and practices.
Chadwick’s Sanitary Map of Leeds, 1842. Copyright Wellcome Images, licensed under CCBY 4.0.
As rapid urbanization and industrialization swept across Europe and the United States in the nineteenth century, concerns about the healthfulness of city life took on a particularly acute form. Increasingly crowded cities confronted health threats posed by epidemic disease, poor sanitation, industrial waste and pollution, population movements, overcrowding, and poverty. The aim of the course will be to think historically about a set of core questions and themes: how various urban problems have come to be understood as the concerns of “public health,” how particular urban spaces come to be conceptualized as sites of medical concern, and how local social, political, and economic forces influence and shape public health interventions. We will adopt a historical perspective to examine the city as a site of public health concerns and interventions from the nineteenth century to the present.
Rejected Knowledge? Alchemy and Astrology in Early Modern European Science and Medicine
AS 140.344, Spring 2015, Monday, Wednesday, 4.30-5.45pm.
The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were the golden age of alchemy and astrology in Europe. The counsel of astrologers and the skills of alchemists were sought at all levels of society, high and low. And yet, by the end of the eighteenth century, following the tumult of the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment, alchemy and astrology had largely been rejected by learned culture, only to re-emerge in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century as elements of alternative spiritualities. How can we explain this profound transformation?
This course covers topics as diverse as economic and political prognostication, chemical and astrological medicine, and the elusive quest for the Philosopher’s Stone. The goal of my course is to use alchemy and astrology as windows onto early modern society more generally. Together, we will explore the technical practices of alchemy and astrology, analyze primary sources from the period, and engage with modern academic debates. Class time will be divided between lecture and discussion, and students are encouraged to form and share their own opinions on how alchemical and astrological knowledge has been applied, rejected, and appropriated over the past five centuries. Course assignments are centered upon our readings and discussion, and will include a short lecture content-based test, a primary source essay, and a historiographic position paper.
Abu Ma'shar al-Balkhi. De magnis conjunctionibus. Venice: J. Pentium de Luecho, 1515. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (131.1a)
Disability in 20th-Century America: Rights, Restrictions, Reproduction
AS 140.350, Spring 2015, Tuesday, Thursday, 10.30-11.45am.
Cross-listed with Study of Women, Gender & Sexuality
Disability—or difference in ability—is a topic that touches us all, whether in ourselves or in friends, families, and coworkers; through sickness, accident or in old age. What it meant to be disabled changed significantly throughout the 20th century in some ways, and little in others.
Disability history helps us understand what shaped US society in the 20th century. Evolving perceptions of disability mark changes in gender and family norms, reproductive choice, ideas of uniformity, diversity and citizenship. Disability activism was one of many 20th century social movements by women, African Americans or gay and lesbians that challenged professional and political power and demanded equal rights, inclusion and diversity.
This class addresses changing meanings of physical or mental difference, social worth and identity. It surveys the influence of science and medicine in shaping our perceptions of disability and compares their definitions with models from disability activists, families and disability scholars. In doing so, the course puts into context the ethical conflicts of modern biomedicine: the rights of the individual, of families and the unborn, the pressure of progress in reproductive technology, and the kind of society we want to live in.
The History of Forensic Medicine: Medicine and the Law in Western Society, 1500-2000
This course addresses a topic with a substantial presence in our culture and great importance in modern criminal justice, law, and medicine. Along the way the class will explore everything from the forensic aspects of witchcraft trials to why people love CSI so much.
The history of forensic medicine presents a powerful introduction to the study of epistemology and the cultural construction of knowledge. We will break the subject open, finding that the form of forensic medicine is neither inevitable nor preordained but is instead the historically contingent expression of relationships between states, legal systems, and medical practitioners. We will learn from course materials that different, very foreign historical forensic practices made perfect sense in the societies that used them. The course pushes students to think deeply about the social, cultural, political, legal, and medical contexts of different societies in order to make sense of how different people understood the human body and generated knowledge about it.