HHS Courses 

Our course offerings feature courses in history, sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, and more. For more details, please consult the University’s course catalog

Courses with HHS attribute count towards minor

University Course Catalog

HHS 20188 - Writer as Physician/Physician as Writer

This writing-intensive course will immerse students in the rich literary tradition of physician-writers by inviting them to engage in the practice of life writing (personal essay, memoir, diary, journal keeping, and oral history) in response to their experiences as patients, as caregivers, and as aspiring medical professionals pursuing a variety of majors (in the Sciences and Humanities) at the University. In addition to regular creative prompts, students will write analytically and critically in response to work by a diverse list of medical professionals, patients, and caregivers from the last 100 years. Special focus will be placed on the ways writing aids in the development of a sense of personal ethics, and how the practice of writing can be used as a therapeutic tool. The course will cover a wide range of genres and texts from the late 19th century to the present, with an emphasis on writings where the author is engaged in self-analysis, reflection on class, privilege, difference, and advocacy.

HHS 20210 - Antipsychiatry and Mad Pride 

Psychiatry and mental healthcare have been the target of criticism and controversy for decades. Common critiques are that the field is not grounded in medical science, that it pathologizes normal problems in living, or that it is a method of social control. This course will focus on the social movements that have been critical of mental healthcare from the second half of the twentieth century to today. We will begin by considering questions such as: What is the proper role of mental healthcare? What is a social movement? What is the relationship between mental healthcare and politics? Then we will shift to discussing particular social movements including antipsychiatry, Mad Pride, the emergence of the concepts of disability and neurodiversity as alternatives to pathology, and other examples of service-user led activism. The goal of the course will be to better understand the ways that psychiatry has abused it power and imagine changes that could be made to the system to improve the lives of those who suffer from mental health conditions.

HHS 20555 - Contemp Concerns in Medicine

This seminar examines a number of important topics in medicine and society today, including shared health responsibility, race and class-based inequities, vaccinations, opioid crisis, beginning and end-of-life care, organ donation and body modification, health of imprisoned populations, mental health of healthcare providers, and health in the age of social media. Students in this class will gain an understanding of the ethical, social, and practical dimensions of a variety of healthcare and health policy issues and how providers navigate these dimensions in their care. A key part of the class is the opportunity for students to engage directly with healthcare workers who will serve as guest speakers. The seminar will emphasize writing and journaling, and will directly integrate matters of health care with broader humanistic and social science approaches to health, wellbeing, the body, etc. to deepen students' understandings of what medicine is. This is a core course in the Health, Humanities, and Society minor

HHS 20556 - US Healthcare in Perspective

We all recognize that the biomedical sciences change rapidly, but amid the seemingly intractable and interminable debate about healthcare reform in the US, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that the same is true of the healthcare system. This interdisciplinary course will examine the American healthcare system in historical and comparative perspective. We look at its institutional structure, its professional composition, and its governance at various levels, with the end learning objective being to understand how these facets of the healthcare system shape not only national health outcomes, but also provider and patient experience. The course draws on the history, sociology and anthropology of medicine, and serves as one the core courses in the new Health, Humanities and Society Minor.

HHS 30111 - Disability at Notre Dame 

Disability has long been constructed as the opposite of higher education. Universities are places that valorize, even demand, physical and intellectual ability. Disability, in turn, is often seen as something that does not fit within a university context, a problem that must be fixed. This antithetical relationship between disability and the university is rooted in history — eugenical curriculums, research programs that study disabled people—but it continues today. Despite a growing focus on diversity in university admissions and populations, disabled students enter higher education at a lower rate than non-disabled students and are less likely to graduate. In addition, universities perpetuate cultures of ableism in both faculty and students by prioritizing ability, perfection, and achievement.

HHS 40313 - Analytical Methods in Anthropology

This course provides grounding in some of the methods of qualitative analysis present in the field of anthropology. The focus of the course is on developing skills that students can use to do systematic analysis of anthropological data. The perspective guiding the course is that anthropology is an empirical, scientific approach for describing social and cultural aspects of human life, and that qualitative data can be analyzed in systematic and rigorous ways. The course will explore a range of approaches and will cover analytic skills that cut across traditions, including theme identification, code definition, and pattern recognition. Advanced topics covered will include content analysis, text analysis, and schema analysis. Students will learn techniques and protocols in data arrangement and visualization that are appropriate for different analytical methods. It is a hands-on class where students will be able to work on data provided to them as well as on their own. Collaboration will be integral to the course success.

HHS 49999 - HHS Senior Capstone

Students in the Health, Humanities, and Society (HHS) minor may choose to meet three credits of elective requirements by undertaking a senior capstone project. This capstone will give students an opportunity for sustained exploration of contemporary concerns in medical practice. Students who choose to engage in this opportunity must do the following: 1. Identify a faculty advisor who agrees to mentor them in the project. (This faculty advisor must confirm their participation by emailing the HHS Program Director, Prof. Smith-Oka, Faculty advisors can be drawn from the HHS Faculty Affiliates or from another department. 2. Identify a topic and research question that relates to topics within HHS. 3. Write the capstone (25-30 pages long), supported by the faculty mentor, during the Spring semester of their senior year. (Students already writing a senior thesis in their primary major can potentially also count it as part of the HHS requirements; in this case their work must be longer and larger in scope than a standalone research project would be in either department. Students in this situation must obtain pre-approval from their program adviser and their advising dean.) 4. Present their capstone (as a poster or talk) to the HHS community during the last week of the spring semester. Students interested in writing a senior capstone must consult with the HHS Program Director (Prof. Smith-Oka, by the Friday after Fall Break of their senior year. Before the end of the fall semester students must officially register for a three-credit undergraduate research course in HHS and identify their faculty mentor, who needs to provide an email describing the nature of the capstone to the HHS program director. The final draft of the capstone is due on the third Friday of April and must be sent to the student's capstone advisor and the HHS program director. The student's advisor is responsible for assigning the final grade in the course. Students can write their capstone based on any of the following options: A literature review of a topic of interest; an analysis of their experiences within an ISSLP or SSLP; an analysis and reflection of their experiences shadowing a clinician; or a research project based on empirical data the student has collected. The nature of the capstone and its empirical roots need to be part of the conversation between the student and their advisor.