The Body in History

Griffith University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    The Body in History

  • Host University

    Griffith University

  • Location

    Gold Coast, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Health Science, History

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Course Description
    This course focusses on the history of medicine and the body since the mid eighteenth century. We consider the ways in which physical and mental health have been the concerns of governments, and how different populations have been identified as 'fit' or 'unfit'. We look at diverse accounts of bodies and minds emerging at the turn of last century, ranging from sex education and psychiatry to sanitation in the city, and from modern masculinity to the New Woman.

    Course Introduction
    This course sets out to introduce students to new work in cultural history and history of the body. It will guide them through a series of key historical moments in the history of medicine, health and human society, and will engage them in an investigation of changing ideas about the human body and its place in the world. This course considers in particular the historical tension between scientific progress and fears about the capacity of human society and the human body for contamination, degeneration and immorality - anxieties and concerns that have shaped the modern era up to the present day.

    Course Aims
    This course will provide students with an historical perspective on the ways in which health, the body and the mind have been differently represented and understood over time. It will investigate a series of fascinating case studies from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, that focus on class, gender and race. We will investigate how these factors have influenced notions of illness and health, and how ideas about health and the body have in shaped cultural, social, national and imperial history. Rather than taking 'the body' or 'the mind' as selfevident, the course considers how each has been represented differently, over time, and in particular places. It asks how groups and individuals have been considered healthy or unhealthy, normal or abnormal, desirable or degenerate, and how these representations have had profound implications sometimes for whole populations.

    Learning Outcomes
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:

    1. Evaluate the changing cultural, historical and social contexts of historical representations of the human body.
    2. Analyse the historical contexts of primary sources, and summarise and assess key arguments in secondary sources
    3. Create an argument by critically evaluating key themes and analyses
    4. Analyse the sources and interpretations used by historians of the body, past and present

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.