Throughout the semester, we will be discussing a number of major afflictions (parasites, plague, disease, viruses, etc.) I want you to pick one we cover or one that we don’t. You will trace this affliction through the three major periods we cover in the class (Ancient, Medieval, and Modern) You will compose an essay explaining how people discussed, categorized, and treated the affliction. This project will require you to bring in outside readings from primary and secondary sources. There will not be a final exam in this class. Think of this essay and the work you do on the paper throughout the semester as your final.
Your essay will need to be 2,500-3,000-words in length. You will need to include approximately 5 primary sources and 10 secondary sources. Your references must follow an accepted bibliographic style ( choose APA, MLA, or Chicago), and avoid grammatical errors.
In order to begin your research, you will need to think creative about the disease or condition you selected. Many medical categories we consider to be obvious and established are actually recent discoveries. For example, if your chosen condition were epilepsy, you would need to search for shaking, Divine Disease, tremors, demons, etc. In addition, you will need to rely on non-medical sources for information too. Literary sources are a great place to go because, as we discussed in class, some of our best medical data comes from the experience of the afflicted, not the medical authority.
As you collect information on your condition try to organize how it was categorized, described, understood, and treated in each time period you discuss. The time periods you choose will depend on your research. Some of you will have more data to use in certain periods, which is fine and to be expected. What I am most interested in is you noting the change over time. Once you have that information, you will need to put together a clear argument about why paying attention to your particular condition is useful and informative. What does it tell you about the larger history of medicine? That will be your thesis and needs to be clear in both your introduction and conclusion.
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