HIST 387: Topics in Global History

HIST 387-007: Global History of Disease: From the Black Death to the Walking Dead
(Fall 2023)

04:30 PM to 07:10 PM R

Horizon Hall - Hybrid

Section Information for Fall 2023

In this course, we will explore the sweeping historical changes that created today's world through one particular lens: disease and humans' responses to them. One major theme of this course will be the changing nature of diseases throughout the last seven centuries or so starting with the Black Death in Eurasia. Another major theme of the course will be the various ways human civilizations respond to diseases—both pandemic ones and more endemic versions—and how those responses have changed (and stayed the same) over time. A final major theme of the course will be scientific and medical advances over the last three-quarters of a millennium and how they have succeeded and failed to combat various diseases. We will end the course discussing current-day depictions of disease outbreaks in popular culture, including metaphorical versions like the zombie movie and TV craze of the last decade or so.

ALL parts of the world will be discussed in this course. Each geographic region became enmeshed in a global system that has had dramatic consequences for the world. We will study that process as it relates to disease—their cause, their spread, their cures, and their (occasional) eradications. By the end of the semester, students should have a grasp of the major disease trends underlying early modern and modern global history. To accomplish all of this, we will explore many primary documents, much secondary source scholarship in the form of academic journal articles and a textbook created specifically for this course, along with various videos, films, and TV. This class will consist of some lecturing but will mostly consist of interactive activities such as group work and discussion along with periodic presentations by individual and groups of students. 

This course also counts for the new minor in Health, Disease, and Culture (HDC. Prof. Harris-Scott is the director of the minor so if you are interested in the minor, this would be a great class to take. You do NOT need to do the HDC minor to take this course, however, as it also counts as a global understanding core requirement.

HIST 387 007 is a hybrid section with face-to-face meetings and asynchronous online coursework.

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Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3-6

Study of historical topics or periods of special interest in global, Latin American, African, Asian, or Middle Eastern history. Notes: Topics announced in advance. May be repeated for credit when topic is different. May be repeated within the term.
Mason Core: Global Understanding
Specialized Designation: Topic Varies, Non-Western Culture
Schedule Type: Lec/Sem #1, Lec/Sem #2, Lec/Sem #3, Lec/Sem #4, Lec/Sem #5, Lec/Sem #6, Lec/Sem #7, Lec/Sem #8, Lec/Sem #9, Lecture, Sem/Lec #10, Sem/Lec #11, Sem/Lec #12, Sem/Lec #13, Sem/Lec #14, Sem/Lec #15, Sem/Lec #16, Sem/Lec #17, Sem/Lec #18
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes.