This course focuses on tuberculosis and other epidemics in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Throughout the semester, we will read and think about how bodies and concepts of health and disease are studied in archaeology and anthropology, and how perceptions of health and disease intersect with disability, gender, race, age, and other forms of identification. Ideas about the health and the body are embedded in many different types of material culture, from corsets to balconies.
Students will read academic and historical writing, and learn to think critically about the forms of evidence they use to support their claims, such as material culture, the built environment, human remains, historical documents, and folklore. Students will also learn to assess how authors structure and form narratives about health and disease, and how historical and archaeological narratives about the body relate to contemporary debates. Students will do research on a topic relevant to the theme of the class, which will culminate in a final paper due at the end of the semester.