Teaching in the 2013-2014 Academic Year

Habibna (The Awkwardly Postured Cat Who Reads All The Books) says: it’s that time of year, again! I’ll be offering the following three courses during the coming academic year. I’m really looking forward to all of them, and you should feel free to be in touch via email if you have questions about any of them (especially if you are a UBC student interested in enrolling in any of the three). I’ll post syllabi for each of them on Syllabapalooza once they’re all designed. (Sneak peak: I’m hoping that the lectures for 259 will each be in a different narrative genre, that 104 will involve funky experimental choreography/movement-themed components, and that 379 will be arranged and lectured according to various body parts.)

Hist 259: Science, Medicine, and Technology in the Ancient and Medieval World [Term 1: Fall 2013 (Tu/Th, 11:00-12:30 + tutorials; 3 credits)] – “Stories and Storytelling: Science, Medicine, and Technology in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds.” Hippocrates! Alchemy! Islamic medicine! Chinese astronomy! Medieval dissection! Automata! There are many, many reasons to be fascinated with the science, medicine, and technology of the ancient and medieval worlds. This course serves as an introduction to that history, paying special attention to the connections and translations that not only made possible the knowledge of various kinds of bodies (human, animal, pharmaceutical, planetary, spiritual), but also enabled that knowledge to circulate and transform across European, East Asian, Islamic, and other contexts. We will meet three times per week, with lectures and whole-group discussions Tuesdays and Thursdays and small-group tutorials on Thursdays and Fridays. You will have an opportunity to explore historical writing in a genre of your own interest and passion. Evaluation will be based on three units, each involving a series of short writing and revision assignments culminating in polished essay (see the bit about “interest and passion” above), as well as regular and active participation in all aspects of the course. In the winter 2013 term, the theme that we will use to do all of this wonderful stuff is “Stories and Storytelling.”

History 104: Disease in HistoryTerm 2: Spring 2014 [(Tu/Th 9:30-11 + tutorials TBD; 3 credits)] – “Currencies of Death and Life: Disease, Health, Medicine.” This course explores the many ways that disease has shaped world history, from the bubonic plague to SARS. From horses on the Mongolian steppes, to special currency used in leper colonies in Japan, to rumors about vampires in Colonial Africa, the circulations of people, bacteria, animals, ocean currents, dead bodies, and lively ideas have defined the spaces of health and disease in the modern world. We will map those circulations over the course of the term, integrating careful attention to a wide range of primary documents with a sampling of the best of the historiography of health and disease. The course is ideal for anyone with an interest in developing a strong foundation in the history of modern medicine and the real and imagined spaces it has produced, including urban geographies of the AIDS epidemic and the post-civilizational landscapes of zombie apocalypse. We will meet three times per week, with lectures and whole-group discussions Tuesdays and Thursdays and small-group tutorials on Fridays [and another tutorial day TBD]. In the 2013 winter term, the theme for this section of History 104 is “Currencies of Death and Life: Disease, Health, Medicine.”

Hist 379: Later Imperial China [Term 2: Spring 2014 (Tu/Th 3:30-5; 3 credits)]  – “Later Imperial China: A History in Body Parts.” Late imperial China is a fascinating historical space. This course explores its history from the Tang empire through the mid-Qing dynasty, paying special attention to some of the major non-Chinese languages and peoples that have shaped that history. The assignments are intended to help students understand how to creatively and rigorously interpret the primary documents (including texts and objects) and the best of recent historical writing about Chinese history. Rather than taking the existence of a timeless and monolithic “China” for granted, we will explore the various ways in which late imperial lands and peoples have been formed and re-formed in order to situate the period within broader narratives of global history. Fun will be had. Deep thoughts will be both conceived, and put on paper, by you. Bad jokes about The Manchu Anatomy will be made. In the 2013 winter term, the theme for History 379 is “Later Imperial China: A History in Body Parts.”

Categories: Syllabus, Time

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