Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities

WIIH's Spring 2013 courses

Posted on November 28, 2012

In conjunction with the WIIH’s exploration of the integration of the humanities in the professional fields, the 2013 co-directors are teaching two courses in Spring 2013: Art History 311 and History 401/099.

Touba Ghadessi's Art History 311 Anatomies 1400-1600: Forbidden, Sexual, and Monstrous is a class that joins discourses in the history of medicine and the visualization of the medical practice.  This course looks at the ways in which the body was understood and represented in the early modern period. Focusing mostly on France and Italy, the class addresses topics such as: the perceived imperfections of the female body; the mystery held by reproductive organs and their function; the theological and physical challenges posed by human dissections; the production of illustrated anatomical treatises; the implication of artists and anatomists in exploring monstrous bodies; and the intellectual and physical fascination with hermaphrodites.  These medical-anatomical discourses, students will better understand how categories and definitions of "human" and "other" evolved.  This humanities approach to medical knowledge will, for example, prepare students to engage with the Doctors' Roundtable on humanistic practices in what is usually conceptualized as strictly empirical, clinical treatment of patients' illnesses.

Yuen-Gen Liang offers History 401 Senior Seminar and History 099 Historical Practice and the Public as a part of the WIIH's Spring 2013 curriculum. What is the study of history? What is your philosophy of history? What is the utility of history in the contemporary world? Answering these questions will help you articulate how your undergraduate studies engage with the world, including in the workplace.  We will address these questions by reading critical texts in historiographical theory such as Hayden White's Content of the Form and Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality, as well as more popular works including Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel and Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers. Our analyses of these texts will always keep the question - what do they reveal to us about the utility of knowledge - in the back of our minds. By taking an at-times harsh look at the enterprise of history, we will be forced to articulate why we are still very invested in this very human endeavor of studying other people's lives in the past. The analysis we conduct will enable students to practice a higher level of thinking, while the awareness in-depth discussions and student presentations raises will prepare students to engage with similar questions and ideas at the WIIH's 2013 events. For information on joining the courses, please contact Professors Ghadessi and Liang


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