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Science, Medicine, Technology and Society (Summer 2023)

In the Science, Medicine, Technology and Society (SMTS) Summer Program, we’ll connect the urgency of the present moment to interdisciplinary study in the liberal arts.

Understandings of the ‘contagious’, the ‘viral’, and ‘disease’ have provoked debate across history, literature, media, and cultural expression, and woven through religion and theories of self. This cluster of SMTS courses, which may be taken individually or in combination, explores this central issue in our post-pandemic society.

Perfect for those interested in medical or health career paths, these courses will help students complete core requirements as Tulane undergraduates, including service-learning, race and inclusion, and writing. They will build students’ fluency across a range of disciplines and help us to understand and address current crises in new and surprising ways.


The Tulane School of Liberal Arts and the Tulane School of Medicine now allow undergraduate and graduate students to enroll in several graduate-level Medical Humanities courses as a part of the SMTS Summer Programs.
Those School of Medicine (SOM) courses are identified with the BEMH prefix (Bioethics and Medical Humanities) and require coursework at the master’s student level.
Additionally, students in the Master of Science in Bioethics and Medical Humanities (BEMH MS) program may take SMTS Summer Programs courses for graduate credit, by enrolling in the cross-listed BEMH course. Please see registration information at the bottom of this page.

Learn more about The Science, Medicine, Technology and Society Working Group in Liberal Arts.

Courses Include:

  • HISL 2914 Medicine and Public Health in Latin America (3 credits)
    BEMH 6811 (SOM) at graduate level

    Instructor: Felipe Cruz
    May 30-June 30 (online)
    10:00-11:30 am

    In this course, we explore Latin America's fascinating history of medicine and public health - from the early colonial encounter of indigenous, African and European healing practices to the unique ways in which Latin American nations have faced the greatest public health challenges of the 20th century. The course explores a variety of subjects beginning in the early colonial era: African healing in the Americas, the evolution of tropical medicine, international public health missions, midwifery and the rise of obstetrics, funerary practices, miasma theory, and disease epidemics ranging from malaria to the HIV/AIDS crisis. We will focus heavily on how both patients and practitioners of alternative forms of healing reacted to treatments, sometimes with resistance, and in turn shaped the very nature of medicine in the region. The course approaches the history of medicine from a transnational perspective, seeing how practitioners and researchers in Latin America interacted with the global scientific community.

  • HISU 3500 Contagious Surveillance (3 credits)
    BEMH 6535 (SOM) at graduate level

    Instructor: Jacquelyne Howard
    May 15-May 26 (online)
    1:00-4:00 pm

    This seminar examines the historical and contemporary relationships between contagions and practices of surveillance. Students will examine interdisciplinary theories of surveillance studies using historical frameworks such as discipline, control, capitalism, media, and privacy during times of crisis, as it relates to race, gender, and class. As praxis, students will use historical research strategies to design and produce a digital history project that uses technology tools such as maps, visualizations, textual analysis, and/or audio-visual production.  All digital history skills will be taught in this course. All technical skill-levels are welcome.

  • COMM 3730 / EVST 3950 Race, Nature & Disaster (3 credits)
    BEMH 6812 (SOM) at graduate level

    Instructor: Clare Daniel
    May 30- June 30 (online)
    11:00-12:30 pm

    This interdisciplinary course examines the intersections of race, politics, and environmental and biological disaster. We will look at how ideas about race in the U.S. have shaped and been shaped by social policy, global politics and economics, and U.S. foreign policy, and investigate how certain populations within and outside the U.S. become disproportionately vulnerable to wide-scale disaster. Readings and discussions focus on the human made dimensions of environmental and biological disasters. To name a few examples, we will examine racist responses to typhus and bubonic plague outbreaks in West Coast cities at the turn of the twentieth century, we will take a deep dive into the history racism, environmental degradation, earthquake, and disease outbreaks in Haiti, and we will end the course by focusing on the disparate impacts of COVID-19 as it intersects with environmental pollutants, economic injustice, and racism.

  • BEMH 6002 Foundations in Bioethics (3 credits)

    Instructor: SOM faculty

    This course examines the theoretical foundations of how bioethics has been done since philosophical interest was rekindled in it in the 1970s. Bioethics addresses urgent moral issues, considering foundational questions regarding the nature of medicine, illness, and the physician/patient relationship, often with a short time for discussion, in an environment where participants often disagree on important points. Students will explore multiple approaches to solving these kinds of challenges, including major critiques from non-traditional sources. Finally, the course closes by bringing these frameworks to bear on theoretical issues relating to social justice.

  • BEMH 6013 Medicine and Identity (3 credits)

    Instructor: SOM faculty

     After a one-week introduction, the course will cover three modules—Race (weeks 2-5), Gender (weeks 6-9), and Ability (weeks 10-13)—followed by a final project in week 14. Each module will contain four parts: (1) Historical Context and Framing; (2) First-person and third-person perspectives; (3) Fiction and nonfiction; and (4) Contemporary voices.

  • BEMH 6810 Bioethics at the Movies (3 credits)

    Instructor: SOM faculty

    Movies are a fantastic way to examine the issues in bioethics, as they allow us to extract, debate, and discuss abstract concepts and ideas with concrete cases and indepth contexts. Most of us have plenty of experience viewing movies, and we can use that experience to voice opinions, take up opposing positions, voice their emotional responses, and so on in ways that might be harder to do when interacting with an academic article. We can see examples of good and poor responses to ethical situations and understand them with the human dimensions of our intellect, knowledge, and feelings. This course will give students the opportunity to explore concepts of ethics in medical research, end of life issues, health care policy, physician-patient relationships, and more, through the medium of film and film analysis. No prior experience in bioethics or study of film is required.

Register today! Current Tulane students can enroll now. Non-Tulane visiting undergraduates can apply now.
Tulane graduate students can enroll in the BEMH cross-listed versions of the courses listed above via the Schedule of Classes portal.

Summer 2023 Academic Calendar:
For any questions or additional information about School of Liberal Arts Summer Programs, please email

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