SBS 506 – Disease Distribution Theory/A

This course offers an introduction to the social and scientific contexts, content, and implications of theories of disease distribution, past and present. It considers how these theories shape questions people ask about–and explanations and interventions they offer for–patterns of health, disease, and well-being in their societies. Designed for both master level and doctoral level students, SBS 506 also serves a pre-requisite for SBS 507, the in-depth continuation of the course required for SBS doctoral students. SBS 506 accordingly begins by reviewing the role of theory in the production of scientific knowledge. It next introduces both text-based theories of disease distribution developed in ancient Greece and China, and also oral traditions reflecting diverse American Indian, Latin American, African, and medieval European explanations of disease distribution, followed by an overview of theories employed during the rise of epidemiology as a distinct discipline in both Europe and the United States, from 1700 to 1950. It then introduces current theories and controversies, and employs selected case examples to illustrate their application to–and implications for understanding–current and changing population distributions of disease and health inequities, especially in relation to class, race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Emphasizing relationships between epidemiologic theory and practice, theories and frameworks covered include: miasma, contagion, germ theory, biomedical model, lifestyle, social production of disease/political economy of health, Latin American social medicine, health & human rights, social determinants of health, population health, psychosocial, lifecourse, and ecosocial theory.

Course Prerequisites: none

SBS 507 – Disease Distribution Theory/B

This course builds on the prerequisite course SBS 506 and its critical focus on theories of disease distribution, past and present. Intended for doctoral students (and required of SBS doctoral students), SBS 507 deepens historical and present-day understanding of contemporary mainstream theories of disease distribution and their social epidemiologic alternatives. Pairing 20th and 21st CE historical and contemporary books (not articles!), the course both builds substantive knowledge regarding the content and public health implications of diverse theories of disease distributions while also developing skills in conducting literature searches about and engaging with complex scholarly arguments and discourse.

Course Prerequisites: SBS506 (or SHDH506) required

WGH 250 – Embodying Gender: Public Health, Biology and the Body Politic

This course will focus on the social and biological processes and relationships from interpersonal to institutional involved in embodying gender, as part of shaping and changing societal distributions of, including inequities in, health, disease, and well-being. It will consider how different frameworks of conceptualizing and addressing gender, biological sex, and sexuality (that is, the lived experience of being sexual beings, in relation to self, other people, and institutions) shape questions people ask about and explanations and interventions they offer for a variety of health outcomes. Examples span the lifecourse and historical generations and include chronic non-communicable diseases, HIV/AIDS, occupational injuries, reproductive health, mental health, and mortality, each analyzed in relation to societal and ecological context, global health policy and human rights, work, and the behaviors of people and institutions. In all these cases, issues of gender and sexuality will be related to other societal determinants of health, including social class, racism, and other forms of inequality. The objective is to improve praxis for research, teaching, policy, and action, so as to advance knowledge and action needed for producing sound public health policy and health equity, including in relation to gender and sexuality.

Course Note: Prerequisites include WGH 211 or WGH 210 or SBS 506 or SBS 507, or prior course with gender analysis to be approved by instructor.