This course is an introduction to Health Humanities, a new interdisciplinary field of study that explores the relationship between the arts and humanities and human health and illness. The course will explore two primary questions: How can the humanities be applied for the pursuit of health and flourishing in medical treatments and beyond? How can the humanities productively critique and enhance the practice of contemporary medicine towards a more holistic and fair health practices? The course will connect key health-related topics to central discussions in the humanities surrounding the notions of gender, race, sexuality, class, and identity, among others. It will use a range of materials from humanistic disciplines including philosophy, critical theory, cultural/media studies and creative writing and draw examples from various creative practices – e.g. literature, film, music, visual and performing arts, etc. – to a) encourage students to discover and analyze the multiple ways in which the humanities have increasingly been recognized and used as a tool towards better holistic healthcare; b) explore issues related to empathy, power and fairness in contemporary medicine to better understand and enhance the pursuit of health.


Health and the Humanities