Courses

College Registration Dates Autumn 2024

  • July 22: Schedule of classes published for Autumn 2024
  • July 29: College pre-registration opens at 9 AM
  • Aug. 2: College pre-registration closes at 5 PM
  • Sept. 9: College Add/Drop/Consent opens at 9 AM
  • Sept. 15: College Add/Drop/Consent temporary closure at 5 PM
  • Sept. 30: Autumn Quarter Begins
  • Oct. 18: Consent add/drop period closes at 5 PM

Courses 2024–25

  • Each of these courses is approved for students in the Health and Society minor. All courses are subject to change.
  • Complete course listings (including day, time, and location) can be found at coursesearch.uchicago.edu
  • HLTH 17000 Introduction to Health and Society will be offered in Autumn-Winter-Spring in AY 2024–25
  • An asterisk * denotes a methodology course

Autumn 2024

HLTH 17000
Introduction to Health and Society
Eugene Raikhel / M W 1:30–2:50PM
Disability, experiences of illness, categories of disorder, ideals of well-being, and models of medical intervention can all vary between cultural settings and across history. Rapid changes in medicine and biotechnology create new understandings and expectations about illness, health, and well-being. At the same time, inequalities in access to care and in health outcomes across populations, in the United States and globally, have become important to conversations in policy and practice alike. This course introduces students introduces students to the social, political, and economic processes that shape individual and population health, as well as to a range of concepts and methods which social scientists use to study these processes. A requirement for students undertaking the “Health and Society” minor, the class will also serve as an introduction to the faculty researching and teaching on issues of health and society in the Social Sciences Division and beyond.

*CHDV 20000 (HLTH 20000, PSYC 20850)
Introduction to Human Development
Sevda Numanbayraktaroglu / M W 1:30–2:50PM (Friday Sections)
This course introduces the study of lives in context. The nature of human development from infancy through old age is explored through theory and empirical findings from various disciplines. Readings and discussions emphasize the interrelations of biological, psychological, and sociocultural forces at different points of the life cycle.

CHDV 24599 (HLTH 24599, CRES 24599, PBPL 24599)
Historical and Contemporary Issues in US Racial Health Inequality
Micere Keels / M 9:30–12:20PM
This course explores persistent health inequality in the U.S. from the 1900s to the present day. The focus will be on racial gaps in urban health inequality with some discussion of rural communities. Readings will largely cover the research on Black and White gaps in health inequality, with the understanding that most of the issues discussed extend to health inequalities across many racial and ethnic groups. Readings cover the broad range of social determinants of health (socioeconomic status, education, access to health care, homelessness) and how these social determinants are rooted in longstanding legacies of American inequality. A major component of class assignments will be identifying emerging research and innovative policies and programs that point to promising pathways to eliminating health disparities.

PBHS 23700 (HLTH 23700, PBHS 33700, GNSE 23702/33702)
Sexual Health: Identity, Behavior, and Outcomes
David Moskowitz / T Th 11–12:20PM
Sexual health is a growing component of public health outreach. The goal of this course is to provide students with a foundational understanding of sexual health from a public health perspective. Through participation in this course, students will increase their knowledge about the history of sexual health promotion in the public health sphere. They will delve into sexual and gender identity construction and explore identity-behavioral expressions. They will critically examine and discuss common sexual health issues addressed by public health practitioners, their epidemiology, and their underlying social determinants; a global health lens will be applied to such examinations. Additionally, recognition of the key methodological considerations in the measurement of sexual behavior and sexual health outcomes will be elucidated (including strengths and limitations of various methodological approaches –quantitative, qualitative, clinical, and biomedical). By the completion of the course, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and application of key
theoretical foundations of sexual health promotion and sexual health behavior change and be able to promote sexual health messages through marketing and dissemination. From a policy perspective, student can expect an increased knowledge about issues related to social and legislative policy analyses, their applications, and implications.

PBHS 30910 (HLTH 20910, PPHA 36410, ENST 27400, STAT 22810)
Epidemiology and Population Health
Diane Lauderdale / T Th 3:30–4:50PM (Friday Sections)
Epidemiology is the basic science of public health. It is the study of how diseases are distributed across populations and how one designs population-based studies to learn about disease causes, with the object of identifying preventive strategies. Epidemiology is a quantitative field and draws on biostatistical methods. Historically, epidemiology’s roots were in the investigation of infectious disease outbreaks and epidemics. Since the mid-twentieth century, the scope of epidemiologic investigations has expanded to a fuller range non-infectious diseases and health problems. This course will introduce classic studies, study designs and analytic methods, with a focus on global health problems. PQ: STAT 22000 or other introductory statistics highly desirable. For BIOS students-completion of the first three quarters of a Biological Sciences Fundamentals sequence.

PBHS 31450 (HTLH  27450, CRES 27450)
Social Inequalities in Health: Race/Ethnicity & Class
Aresha Martinez-Cardoso / M 1:30–4:20PM
This course examines how social stratification and social inequality shape racial/ethnic and socioeconomic inequalities in health. In particular, we will explore the production of race and class inequality in the US and draw on the extant theoretical and empirical literature to understand how these social factors influence health behaviors and health outcomes. Finally, we will review both the classic and emerging methodological approaches used by public health and social scientists to measure and test how these features of society get “under the skin” to shape a variety of health outcomes.

PBHS 31702 (HLTH 21720; CEGU 21720)
Climate Change and Human Health
Kate Burrows / T Th 2–3:20PM
Climate change is one of the greatest global health threats facing the world in the 21st century. Through this course, students will gain foundational knowledge in the health effects of climate change. We will begin with several lectures on climate science as it related to the patterns of weather extremes experienced by populations. We will then identify the varying health outcomes linked to different climate-related exposures, emphasizing the specific impacts in vulnerable and high-risk populations. Specific topics include the effects of air pollution, extreme heat and heat waves, droughts, tropical cyclones, changes in vector habitats, and sea-level rise. Finally, we will discuss strategies for public health practitioners to aid communities in preventing or alleviating these adverse effects. PQ: PBHS 32100 or STAT 22000 or introductory statistics course.

PBHS 33800 (HLTH 23810)
Global Maternal and Child Health
Erick Amick / M W 4:30–5:50PM
This course provides a foundation in global perspectives on maternal and child health research, practice, and policy. The course will cover a range of maternal and child health topics to examine critical challenges facing women, children, providers, and policymakers in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. Students in this course will: 1) understand the status of maternal and child health in a variety of communities and contexts, using key health and development indicators; 2) critically analyze past and present public health programs and policies utilized to address maternal and child health needs in diverse communities; 3) assess the economic, political, social, and cultural factors that affect maternal and child health programs and outcomes.

*PBHS 24900 (HLTH 24900)
GIS and Spatial Analysis for Public Health
Seleeke Flingai / M W 3–4:20 PM
This course serves as an introduction to the core concepts and tools for applying spatial analytic methods to public health questions. Using a combination of lectures, case studies, and in-class training in ArcGIS software, students will learn fundamental spatial concepts, as well as how to make sense of and prepare spatial health data for mapping and statistical analyses (including georeferencing, geocoding, merging data sources, and describing and analyzing spatial health patterns and relationships). Throughout the course, we will draw from writings and examples in public health, urban planning, sociology, and critical geography studies to gain an understanding not only of the use of mapping in understanding the spatial nature of health and disease, but also the power dynamics of map-making as a practice. By the end of the course, students will become familiar with a breadth of foundational concepts, technical skills, and critical perspectives to produce and interpret maps and spatial health analyses at an introductory level.
This course counts as a methods course for the Health and Society Minor.

PBHS 35500 (HLTH 25500, PBPL 25500, SSAD 45011, PPHA 37720)
Introduction to US Health Policy and Politics
Loren Saulsberry / T Th 12:30–1:50PM
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the concepts needed to critically evaluate U.S. health policy issues. The course will 1) provide an overview of the U.S. health system including its institutions, stakeholders, and financing mechanisms, 2) describe the politics of health and illuminate how the structure of our political system shapes health policy outcomes, and 3) offer a framework for assessing the critical features central to health policy debates. Building upon this knowledge, the course will conclude with a discussion of strategies for influencing the health policy process and how they might be employed in future leadership roles within the health sector.

PBHS 35600 (HLTH 25600)
Money, Medicine, and Markets: The Financialization of the US Health System
Joe Bruch / T Th 3:30–4:50PM
This class tracks the complex ways capital influences health and health care delivery in the United States, with extensions to other national contexts. Broadly, this course is designed to provide students with the tools to identify and examine the nature of capital in shaping the health of Americans and is divided into 3 Parts. In Part 1, we will review the macro changes in health care delivery in the US over the past century, with readings focusing on financialization and its application to health care privatization and consolidation. In Part 2, the course visits different topics of health care where tensions between profit maximization, health care quality, and health equity are most visible. These topics include nonprofit vs. for-profit actors, private-public partnerships, the pharmaceutical industry, private equity activity, the insurance industry, physician entrepreneurs, management consultants, and the women’s health industry. In Part 3, using concepts from political economy and epidemiology, we will grapple with embodiment and the link between capitalism and population health through financial lending, macroeconomic conditions, economic inequality, and the commercial determinants of health. This course will introduce students to cutting-edge scholarship across a range of fields, including health economics, public health, sociology, and political science.

PSYC 22350 (HLTH 22350)
Social Neuroscience
Jean Decety / T Th 9:30–10:50AM
Social species, by definition, create emergent organizations beyond the individual—structures ranging from dyads and families to groups and cultures. Social neuroscience is the interdisciplinary field devoted to the study of neural, hormonal, cellular, and genetic mechanisms, and to the study of the associations and influences between social and biological levels of organization. The course provides a valuable interdisciplinary framework for students in psychology, neuroscience, behavioral economics, and comparative human development. Many aspects of social cognition will be examined, including but not limited to attachment, attraction, altruism, contagion, cooperation, competition, dominance, empathy, isolation, morality, and social decision-making.

RLST 26304 (HLTH 26034; AMER 26304; CCTS 21015; GNSE 12115; HIPS 26304; HIST 28008; HMRT 26304; PBPL 25304; SOCI 20564)
Religion and Abortion in American Culture 
Emily Crews / T 12:30–3:20PM
I
n American public discourse, it is common to hear abortion referred to as a “religious issue.” But is abortion a religious issue? If so, in what ways, to whom, and why?
In this course we will answer these questions by tracing the relationship between religion and abortion in American history. We will examine the kinds of claims religious groups have made about abortion; how religion has shaped the development of medical, legal, economic, and cultural perspectives on the topic; how debates over abortion have led to the rise of a certain kind of religious politics in the United States; and how issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, and the body are implicated in this conversation. Although the course will cover a range of time periods, religious traditions, and types of data (abortion records from Puritan New England, enslaved people’s use of herbal medicine to induce miscarriage, and Jewish considerations of the personhood of the fetus, among others), we will give particular attention to the significance of Christianity in legal and political debates about abortion in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. There are no prerequisites for this course and no background in Religious Studies is required. However, this course may be particularly well-suited to students interested in thinking about how certain themes or areas of study—medicine and medical sciences, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, political science—converge with religion and Religious Studies.

Winter 2025

HLTH 17000
Introduction to Health and Society
Paula Martin / T Th 11–12:20
Disability, experiences of illness, categories of disorder, ideals of well-being, and models of medical intervention can all vary between cultural settings and across history. Rapid changes in medicine and biotechnology create new understandings and expectations about illness, health, and well-being. At the same time, inequalities in access to care and in health outcomes across populations, in the United States and globally, have become important to conversations in policy and practice alike. This course introduces students introduces students to the social, political, and economic processes that shape individual and population health, as well as to a range of concepts and methods which social scientists use to study these processes. A requirement for students undertaking the “Health and Society” minor, the class will also serve as an introduction to the faculty researching and teaching on issues of health and society in the Social Sciences Division and beyond.

CHDV 20100 (HLTH 20100)
Human Development Research Design
Chiara Galli / W F 1:30–2:50 (sections vary)
The purpose of this course is to expose CHD majors in college to a broad range of methods in social sciences with a focus on human development research. The faculty in Comparative Human Development is engaged in interdisciplinary research encompassing anthropology, biology, psychology, sociology, and applied statistics. The types of data and methods used by faculty span the gamut of possible methodologies for addressing novel and important research questions. In this course, students will study how appropriate research methods are chosen and employed in influential research and will gain hands-on experience with data collection and data analysis. In general, the class will meet as a whole on Mondays and will have lab/discussion sections on Wednesdays. The lab/discussion sections are designed to review the key concepts, practice through applying some of the methods, and prepare students for the assignments. Students in each section will be assigned to small groups. Some of the assignments are group-based while others are individual-based.

HLTH 12103 (CHDV 12103, GNSE 12103 ANTH 25212, CHDV 12103, HIPS 12103)
Treating Trans-: Practices of Medicine, Practices of Theory
Paula Martin /
Medical disciplines from psychiatry to surgery have all attempted to identify and to treat gendered misalignment, while queer theory and feminisms have simultaneously tried to understand if and how trans- theories should be integrated into their respective intellectual projects. This course looks at the logics of the medical treatment of transgender (and trans- more broadly) in order to consider the mutual entanglement of clinical processes with theoretical ones. Over the quarter we will read ethnographic accounts and theoretical essays, listen to oral histories, discuss the intersections of race and ability with gender, and interrogate concepts like “material bodies” and “objective science”. Primary course questions include: (1) How is “trans-” conceptualized, experienced, and lived? How has trans-studies distinguished itself from feminisms and queer theories? (2) What are the objects, processes, and problematics trans-medicine identifies and treats? How is “trans-” understood and operationalized through medical practices? (3) What meanings of health, power, knowledge, gender, and the body are utilized or defined by our authors? What relations can we draw between them?

HLTH 24003 (HIPS 24003; RLST 24003; SOCI 20582)
Death and Dying
Alex Tate / T Th 9:30–10:50

Death happens to everyone. However, dying is as much a social process as an individual one. The factors that impact how, when and where people die, and how societies handle death and dying, are shaped by the structural and cultural forces in our world. These range from economic, geographic, and religious forces to the institutional politics of health care systems. The sociology of death and dying is the systematic study of the structure of the human response to death, dying, and bereavement in their socio-cultural, interpersonal, and individual contexts. Often conceptualized as a discrete event, death is a process that is shaped over the life course. In this course, we will analyze the socio-demographic patterns of death, the factors that shape the process of dying, the economics of dying, and the ways that individuals and groups respond to death. We will also consider the social factors that shape a “good death” and discuss current policies and debates surrounding end-of-life care and aid-in-dying.

 

Spring 2025

HLTH 17000
Introduction to Health and Society
Paula Martin / M W 1:30–2:50 PM
Disability, experiences of illness, categories of disorder, ideals of well-being, and models of medical intervention can all vary between cultural settings and across history. Rapid changes in medicine and biotechnology create new understandings and expectations about illness, health, and well-being. At the same time, inequalities in access to care and in health outcomes across populations, in the United States and globally, have become important to conversations in policy and practice alike. This course introduces students introduces students to the social, political, and economic processes that shape individual and population health, as well as to a range of concepts and methods which social scientists use to study these processes. A requirement for students undertaking the “Health and Society” minor, the class will also serve as an introduction to the faculty researching and teaching on issues of health and society in the Social Sciences Division and beyond.

HLTH 24299 (CHDV 24299, GNSE 24299)
Troubling Adolescence
Paula Martin / M W 10:30–11:20 AM
Many theories of “adolescence” have often emphasized it as a development period of rapid change, risk taking, and experimentation. This course will take on some of key health-related concerns of adolescence, such as mental health (eg. depression, anxiety) and risk behaviors (eg. substance use, sexuality) asking after the phenomenological experience of such concerns as well as exploring their cultural specify. Furthermore, this course will review key historical and development frameworks for understanding “adolescence,” reading them alongside anthropological and queer theories of temporality. Ultimately, the course asks, how do the troubles of adolescence play out in different contexts? And what happens if we trouble the concept of adolescence itself?

PBPL 28925 (HLTH 28925; ARCH 29825; ENST 28925)
Health Impacts of Transportation Policies
Kavi Bhalla
Governments invest in transport infrastructure because it encourages economic growth and mobility of people and goods, which have direct and indirect benefits to health. Yet, an excessive reliance on motorized modes of transport harms population health, the environment, and social well-being. The impact on population health is substantial: Globally, road traffic crashes kill over 1.3 million annually. Air pollution, to which transport is an important contributor, kills another 3.2 million people. Motorized modes of transport are also an important contributor to sedentary lifestyles. Physical inactivity is estimated to cause 3.2 million deaths every year, globally. This course will introduce students to thinking about transportation as a technological system that affects human health and well-being through intended and unintended mechanisms. The course will examine the complex relationship between transportation, land use, urban form, and geography, and explore how decisions in other sectors affect transportation systems, and how these in turn affect human health. Students will learn to recognize how the system level properties of a range of transportation systems (such as limited-access highways, urban mass transit, inter-city rail) affect human health.

RLST 23300 (HLTH 23300)
Religion and Psychiatry
Owen Joyce-Coughlin
This course will investigate the many theoretical and practical problems which emerge where the domains of psychiatry and religion overlap. We will explore questions such as: What are the common realities that religious and psychiatric frameworks seek to explain? Are being “divinely inspired” and being “mad” mutually exclusive? How do religious and other cultural categories shape the development of what are called “mental disorders”? Are cognitive behavioral therapists more effective than witchdoctors at restoring people to health? We will begin with a brief overview of the history of psychiatry, before analyzing a famous case of mass demonic possession in 17th century France. We will take several weeks to explore contemporary psychiatric diagnoses, contrasting how psychiatrists and religious authors describe similar symptoms in different ways. We will compare diverse therapeutic methods, modern and traditional, to ask what makes each of them effective or ineffective. Finally, we will survey proposed alternatives to the prevailing diagnostic frameworks within psychiatry, asking which, if any, our study of the overlapping domains of religion and psychiatry might lend support.