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MSci Biology / Course details
Year of entry: 2021
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Course unit details:
From Cholera to COVID-19: A Global History of Epidemics
|Unit level||Level 2|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 1|
|Offered by||Centre for History of Science, Technology & Medicine (L5)|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
With the recent experiences of the Coronavirus outbreak, students will learn how historically infectious diseases have spread across the world, how people, health systems and governments have reacted to these and what lessons can be learnt from global pandemics in the past.
This unit covers the global history of epidemics, starting from the global pandemic of Cholera in the nineteenth century across Asia, Africa, Europe and America to the contemporary experiences of COVID-19 and Ebola. It brings together insights from history, medicine, public health, bacteriology, and quarantine.
Drawing from the contemporary experiences of COVID-19 this unit looks back into the history of global pandemics and enables you to understand how and why different countries have responded to infectious disease outbreaks in different ways.
It also helps students to understand the wider and deeper social, economic, political and cultural histories that lead to disease and mortalities.
You will also analyse the experiences of communities and individuals living in the time of pandemics.
This unit can also be taken as a 20 credit version.
Analyse the history of epidemics within a global context of movements of people, ideas and commerce
Understand the complex historical relations between epidemic disease outbreaks and the particular cultural, social and political context
Understand the everyday experiences of those living in the time of epidemics
Teaching and learning methods
11 x 2 hour lectures/seminars
Knowledge and understanding
Verbal communication skills are developed in seminars and writing skills in assignments; preparing for seminars and essays uses qualitative research skills and answering questions; initiative is developed through the learning demands of the course; the course requires organisation skills to meet deadlines and to coordinate the different learning resources used; seminars require working as part of group, adapting to different demands and negotiating with other students.
- Analytical skills
- Students critically examine case studies using primary and secondary literature and analyse the topics covered using both quantitative and qualitative materials
- Students have the opportunity to be innovative in terms of how they address their essay topic
- Oral communication
- Students encouraged to take part in discussion of the lecture material during seminar sessions
- Research required for essay and project
|Written assignment (inc essay)||50%|
Students may ask questions at any time during lectures and seminars. Teaching staff will answer specific queries by email and during office hours, and will provide contact details in the course handbook or at lectures. All submitted coursework will be returned with annotations and an assessment sheet explaining the mark awarded.
- Hamlin, Christopher, Cholera: The Biography, Oxford 2009 (compulsory)
- Farmer, Paul, Infections and Inequalities. The Modern Plagues, London 1999 (background)
- Chakrabarti, Pratik, Medicine and Empire: 1600-1960, Palgrave, 2014
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Assessment written exam||2|
|Independent study hours|
|Pratik Chakrabarti||Unit coordinator|