Collins Living Learning Center | Reading Medicine and Illness
L210 | 12245 | Amy Rubens


When we encounter physical disease, we usually call on science and statistics to understand
it: we identify symptoms, graph transmission rates, research and test cures.  Yet, the
humanities, too, can tell us something about physical disease.  In this course, we'll explore
the representation of medicine and illness in American literature, broadly defined.  This
means that we'll examine a variety of texts, including poetry, fiction, autobiography, drama,
and film, to discuss how medical practitioners, healthcare spaces, and chronic illnesses are
constructed in the American imagination.  By analyzing these perceptions, we'll arrive at a
broader understanding of the ways that gender, race, and sexuality -- other aspects of
embodiment -- operate in our culture.