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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2023-24

ENGL 55.21 Epidemics: Vortex of Fear and Wisdom

This course will focus on learning difficult lessons of experiential wisdom from global Infectious Disease Epidemics 1982-2020, including through on-the-ground experiences, literature, and documentaries. Students will reflect and write about insights that may apply to their own lives.

Epidemics are characterized by fear. Fighting epidemics requires the courage to act in the face of that vortex of uncertainty and fear, the empathy and compassion to understand and feel motivated to alleviate suffering, the imagination to figure out the possible paths of action, and the cognitive and emotional skills need to actually take action.  The experiential wisdom it takes to act well in such fearful and uncertain circumstances is the framework of this course. The Smithsonian Museum Exhibition on Epidemics will be presented.

             As the faculty of this course we believe that each generation should help transmit the experiential wisdom to the next generation to help fight the fear linked with all types of epidemics near and far, large and small.

Degree Requirement Attributes


The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.

Department-Specific Course Categories

No course group assignment.