UTSC Health Humanities Special Topics Courses

Current and Upcoming:

Fall 2018

HLTD53 Special Topics in Health Humanities: Documentary and Memoir for Health Humanities (Prof. C. Hartblay, Tuesdays 4-6pm)

How can we understand humanistic experiences of healthcare? Memoir writing and documentary media are one genre through which people speak for themselves about their experiences of care. In this course, we explore memoirs of physicians and patients, of people living with disability, of those caring for increasingly disabled parents, of global experiences of disaster, and more. We will look at practices of writing, film, and theatre to draw conclusions about what makes a documentary voice compelling. We will consider ethical concerns of the genre, and interrogate the line between truth and fiction in mediated expressions of human experiences of health, illness, and disability.

Winter 2019

HLTC52 Special Topics in Health Humanities: Global Disability Studies  (Prof. C. Hartblay, Thursdays 1-3pm)

This course takes a critical approach to understanding how the category of disability works globally. Starting from a decolonial approach, we will use an integrated social science and humanities approach to understand disability and ableism in global context. Through ethnography, novels, films, and other media, we encounter disability as a relational social experience across diverse locations in China, Kyrgyzstan, the Czech Republic, India, Australia, Africa, and North America. Students will be challenged to consider the manifold social processes by which multiple kinds of bodily difference are stigmatized, and the uneasy relationship of disability studies to the pathologizing practices of medical care and public health.


Winter 2018

HLTD50 Toronto’s Stories of Health and Illness (Prof. A. Charise, Wednesdays 11-1pm)

In this advanced seminar we will encounter stories of health, illness, and disability that are in some way tied to Canada, the city of Toronto especially. How does the Canadian healthcare setting impact, or become implicated in, the telling of illness narratives? Whose stories of health and illness are written and read—and what narratives are celebrated, muted, uncared for, or resisted? What might it mean to live with illness in what has become known as the world’s most multicultural city? This intensive seminar expects students to contribute meaningfully and regularly to in-class discussion; it also includes a significant digital element and will make use of the UTSC Library’s MakerSpace. For the final project, students will have the chance to devise a creative component (e.g. new digital narrative, podcast, or artwork) that critically engages, in a relevant and compelling way, the underpinning concerns of this course. (Click here for course blog, syllabus, and reading schedule.)