- Course Number: ENGL 148EN
- Quarter: Summer B 2023
Epidemiology represents the current paradigm for thinking about disease through exposure, transmission, spread, morbidity and mortality. These concepts are primarily narrativized through data visualizations, exemplified by John Hopkins University or the CDC. At odds with the historical, journalist, or literary narratives students might associate with the medical humanities, examining epidemiological data visualization as the prevailing narrative of disease enables us to ask new and pressing questions. How does epidemiology encourage us to interpret disease through space? How do epidemiological data visualizations strengthen existing geographies of national borders and change the policy and practice of migration and mobility? And, how does epidemiology classify and express the human body in terms of disease, health, and disability?
This course is designed to help students think through data visualizations not as representations of abstract truth, but as objects constructed within distinct ideological frameworks which serve larger cultural narratives. Epidemiology offers a timely case study how data is transformed from abstract representation into narratives about public health. Together, we will use the course to imagine new narrative and aesthetic forms for telling stories about disease.