It's Your Health
English 207 Summer 2015 Course Description: It’s Your Health
This course is designed to introduce students to the practice and value of cultural studies through the examination of diverse representations of public health in the 20th and 21st century U.S. Our studies will focus on the production and distribution of food, workplace safety, environmental hazards, the promise of new biotechnologies and their potential perils. Particular attention will be paid to the workers who produce what the rest of us consume, the conditions under which they labor, and the environment in which they, their families, and those not employed by these industries live. The questions that drive this inquiry are: whose well being do these different industries (i.e. agribusiness, energy and biotech) enhance; at what cost to other living beings; is this trade off acceptable; if not, how might we reconceptualize health?
Course readings encompass fiction, film, scientific studies, scholarly essays, and investigative journalism. Required fictions are likely to include: The Jungle, My Year of Meats, and Oryx and Crake.