Studying online

There are now 3 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Units available in Online Restricted mode have been adapted for online study only for those students who require the unit to complete their studies and who are unable to attend campus owing to exceptional circumstances beyond their control. To be enrolled in a unit in Online Restricted mode, students should contact their Student Advising Office through askUWA

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview

Description
This unit provides students with a valuable historical perspective on pandemics, plagues, emerging medical techniques and changing perceptions in which to locate current and emerging health issues. The topics include historical methodologies and sources; Egyptian, Greek and Roman medicine; the Black Death in fourteenth-century England; the spread of infectious disease in the New World; medical practitioners in medieval and early modern Europe; witchcraft, mental health and religious healing; public health and infectious disease challenges in the Victorian age; warfare and disease; health care, ideology and totalitarian regimes, including Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union; psychiatry and mental health care; modern pandemics such as the 1918-19 flu and COVID-19. The unit charts changing relationships between human health,pandemics and plagues, medical explanations and treatments, and cultural milieux. Students have the opportunity to discover and examine original documents for themselves and analyse historical perceptions and realities of health and disease, through case studies using archaeological, paleo-pathological, visual and written evidence of health perceptions in the past. The unit provides students with a valuable historical perspective on the emergence of pandemics and plagues as well as changing medical approaches in which to locate current and emerging health issues.
Credit
6 points
Offering
(see Timetable)
AvailabilityLocationMode
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the Humanities in Health and Medicine major sequence
  • Level 2 elective
Outcomes
Students are able to (1) analyse the major historical contours of pandemics, plagues and Western medical theories and practices; (2) assess the impact of pandemics, plagues and major diseases on human behaviour in past societies; (3) assess the influence of medical practice and concepts of health on patterns of infection and human behaviour in past societies; (4) critically analyse a wide range of historic source materials; (5) critically analyse a wide range of modern commentaries and readings on pandemics, plagues and disease history; (6) construct a logical argument with relevant documentation; (7) express ideas in clear, cogent and correct English in both written and oral forms; and (8) work collaboratively to arrive at questions and conclusions about previous eras and future disease threats.
Assessment
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) workshop preparation and participation; (2) critique of historical texts on pandemics; and (3) examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Angus Cook
Unit rules
Prerequisites:
Nil
Co-requisites:
Nil
Incompatibility:
Nil
Approved quota: 150—places will be allocated to students in the population health major first, then on a first come first served basis.
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; tutorials: 1 hour per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.