HS 399 Medieval Medicine
Despite our popular understanding of the European middle ages as a dirty, disease-ridden, hopelessly backward period, the sources show us quite a different picture. Although a lack of understanding of the means of genetic change and the cause of viral and bacterial disease caused medieval people to understand the human body very differently than we do, that system was not without its logic and efficacy. This course will explore the human body and its diseases in the middle ages through a series of connected readings that introduce the body as a conceptual system and medieval science’s attempts to understand it. We will then look at the growing field of genomic research as a way of understanding and comparing our modern systems of understanding the body.
- Students will become familiar with the major writers of medieval medicine and their understandings of the human body.
- Students will understand the systematic approach of ancient science and its connection to philosophy and theology.
- Students will explore the effect of Islamic medicine on the medical knowledge of western Europe in the middle ages.
- Students will discuss modern methods of identifying past diseases and conditions and the problems associated with such identification.
- Students will explore particular treatments and remedies for important medical conditions and their efficacy.
- By exploring the connection of genomics to older theories about the body, students will explain the place of genomics in the human effort to understand natural phenomena, including its history and social impact.
- Students will use the skills and interdisciplinary perspectives of the liberal arts in understanding trends in medicine and genomics and communicating them to academic peers and others.