History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health

Director of undergraduate studies: Ivano Dal Prete, EM 310; hshm.yale.edu

History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health is an interdisciplinary program that focuses on how different forms of knowledge and technology have been created in various times, places, and cultures, and how they have shaped the modern world. The major explores a wide range of questions. For example, is science universal, or does each culture have its own approach to trustworthy knowledge? What is the relationship between medical expertise, social structure, and everyday life? What is the nature of technology and its relationship to political, economic, and military power? Why do even the best public health campaigns have unintended consequences?

Course topics include the history of American and Western medicine and public health, medicine and race in the slave trade, health and healing in Africa, scientific knowledge production in the global South, institutions of confinement, health activism, biotechnology, the history of the earth sciences, climate change and planetary catastrophe, the scientific revolution, scientific collections and material culture.

A major in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health offers excellent preparation for a wide range of careers. Premedical students and others interested in health-related fields can combine preprofessional training with a broad humanistic education. The major also provides a solid foundation for any career at the intersection of the sciences, technology, and public life, including law, business, journalism, museum work, public policy, and government.

Requirements of the Major 

The major in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health requires twelve term courses (and twelve credits), including the two-term senior requirement. Students select a concentration of seven courses that guides them through an area of specialization. The seven concentration courses must include two courses in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health; one seminar numbered 100 or above in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health or in History; one full-credit science course; and three electives chosen from relevant courses in any department.

Concentrations The five standard concentrations in the major are Medicine and Public Health; Global Health; Science, Technology, and Society; Gender, Reproduction, and the Body; and Media, Knowledge, and Visual Cultures. Students may also design customized concentrations in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies (DUS). No later than the beginning of the junior year, students in the major must select a standard concentration or indicate that they wish to design their own.

Electives Beyond the seven concentration courses, students must complete three additional electives in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health. One of the electives must be a seminar, and one must be chosen from a concentration other than the one selected for the major. All courses for the major are chosen in collaboration with the student's adviser.

Credit/D/Fail A maximum of one History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health course taken Credit/D/Fail before the fifth term of enrollment may be counted toward the requirements of the major.

Roadmap See visual roadmap of the requirements.

Senior Requirement 

By the end of reading period in the spring term of the junior year, students choose whether they will work toward a yearlong or a one-term senior project. Yearlong senior projects are completed in HSHM 490, 491; one-term projects are completed in HSHM 492. Students who choose a one-term project must take an additional HSHM-listed course to complete the major. Only students who complete a yearlong senior project are eligible for Distinction in the Major.

For both the one-term and yearlong senior projects, students select a project adviser, propose a tentative topic and title, and submit a proposal to the senior project director. The final product of the senior requirement may be a written essay or an alternative project such as a film, exhibition, catalog, atlas, or historical data reconstruction. In the case of an alternative project, the student must identify a second reader in addition to the adviser before the project is approved by the senior project director. Either the adviser or the second reader must be a member of the faculty in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health. A written component to the senior project must illustrate sources and the intellectual significance of the project. For more details about requirements and deadlines, majors should consult the HSHM Senior Project Handbook; copies are available from the senior project director and on the program website.

REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR

Prerequisites None

Number of courses 12 term courses (incl senior req)

Distribution of courses 7 courses in concentration, incl 2 HSHM courses, 1 sem in HSHM or HIST numbered 100 or above, 1 science course, and 3 electives; 3 addtl HSHM electives, incl 1 sem and 1 course outside major concentration

Senior requirement Yearlong project (HSHM 490, 491), or one-term project (HSHM 492) and 1 addtl HSHM elective

Courses in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health explore the interactions of medicine, public health, technology, science, and society from a global and historical perspective. Encompassing the Scientific Revolution through the digital revolution, topics include public health and epidemics in global perspective; the relationships of medicine and the media in modern America; the development of the earth and environmental sciences; nuclear weapons and electronic computers; museums and scientific collections; genetics and biotechnology; medical technologies and pharmaceuticals; the interplay of technology, industry, and the state; and the relationship between science, medicine, and the arts.

Majors organize their curriculum through thematic concentrations that combine courses in the sciences and humanities. Concentrations include Medicine and Public Health; Global Health; Science, Technology, and Society; Gender, Reproduction, and the Body; and Media, Knowledge, and Visual Cultures. Students may also design concentrations in their own areas of interest in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies (DUS).

FACULTY ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROGRAM OF HISTORY OF SCIENCE, MEDICINE, AND PUBLIC HEALTH

Professors Deborah Coen, Naomi Rogers, John Warner

Associate Professors Paola Bertucci, Joanna Radin, William Rankin

Assistant Professors Carolyn Roberts, Nana Quarshie

Lecturers Sakena Abedin, Ivano Dal Prete, Chitra Ramalingam, Miriam Rich

Affiliated Faculty Rene Almeling (Sociology), Toby Appel (Yale University Library), Melissa Grafe (Yale University Library), Dimitri Gutas (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations), Ann Hanson (Classics), Jessica Helfand (School of Art), Marcia Inhorn (Anthropology), Kathryn James (Yale University Library), Amy Kapczynski (Law School), Gundula Kreuzer (Music), Amy Meyers (Yale Center for British Art), Alan Mikhail (History), Ayesha Ramachandran (Comparative Literature), Paul Sabin (History), Jason Schwartz (School of Medicine), Gordon Shepherd (School of Medicine), Frank Snowden (History), Rebecca Tannenbaum (History), R. John Williams (English