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Infectious Disease on the Run

Infectious Disease on the Run

It will be offered Tues. 5-8pm and will be offered by Peggy Battin, Ph.D and Wendy Hobson-Rohrer, MD.

This course focuses on pandemics: past, present, future.  Beginning with a close examination of the Black Plague that engulfed Europe during the Middle Ages, smallpox as it spread through Europe and decimated the indigenous populations of the Americas, and syphilis, still endemic, associated with situations of racially biased research and other ethical wrongs, this course focuses on the science of pandemics and the vectors of spread, the social and ethical issues of measures employed in the past and in the present to try to control spread, and how to conceive of prevention in the future.

Why is the course titled “Infectious Disease on the Run”?  When we were developing this course, during the earlier days of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, there wasn’t much way to tell whether it’d be the disease that would be on the run by the time the course started, or whether it’d be we humans who’d be on the run, more threatened than before.  (That still isn’t clear, of course, whatever we may think about the present moment.)

This course will use case problems, lectures, readings from the medical, public health, bioethics and other literatures, and a wide variety of visiting and zoom-visiting speakers from around the world to explore these compelling issues.  It will provide basic coverage of relevant ethical theory.

Assignments will include short papers, interactive discussion sessions concerning specific case puzzles, and readings assigned both by the faculty and by visiting speakers. For students in Philosophy 5520 and 6520, a term project is to be presented to the class at the end of the semester; for students in Honors 3700, the Praxis Lab, a joint term project is to be framed in general by the end of Fall semester, presented for discussion to the class as a whole, and is to be carried out during Spring 2022.

The course will meet in-person or virtually as circumstances dictate.