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Columbia College

Medicine and Western Civilization

  Course Syllabus, Fall Semester 2006 (PDF, 84K)

Instructor: Professor David J. Rothman
Fall Semester, 2006


This seminar seeks to analyze the ways by which medicine and culture combine to shape our values and traditions.  To this end, it will examine notable literary, medical, and social texts from classical antiquity to the present. 

Requirements for the course include reading, intensive class discussions, and one seminar paper (due early December).  Students will also be responsible for making short, opening presentations. 

Readings from primary sources and articles are on reserve in the History Reading Room (4th Floor, Fayerweather) and in the college library.  Both places provide easy access to photocopy machines.

The text for the course is Medicine and Western Civilization, edited by David J. Rothman, S. Marcus, and S.A. Kiceluk.  Students will be required to read four additional books: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; William Defoe, Journal of the Plague Year; Michel Foucault, The Birth of the Clinic; and Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych.  All texts are available at the Columbia University Bookstore. 

  Course Syllabus, Fall Semester 2006 (PDF, 84K)

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