Health Humanities Minor

The health humanities is an interdisciplinary approach to the cultural, historical and ethical dimensions of health and medicine. Courses in the health humanities examine health and illness as concepts that are intimately connected to human bodies, human experiences and human cultures. Health contains and exceeds the human, and so humanities disciplines provide an expansive and interdisciplinary perspective on what it means to be healthy, ill, flourishing, languishing, living and dying. To explore health and illness in this framing is to engage in a wide spectrum of cultural literacies that are the hallmarks of a liberal arts education. 

Bucknell's health humanities minor is designed for students from all three colleges and complements their studies in any other discipline. Students will explore the hidden, abandoned or neglected connections between health and its cultural, historical and environmental contexts. The courses of the minor prioritize textual and visual analysis, historical literacy, ethical reasoning, archival research, ethnography, as well as advanced levels of written and oral communication. In an age marked by historic global pandemics, health and illness remain urgent and contested categories requiring increasingly nuanced analysis and creative engagement. Students pursuing the health humanities minor will be uniquely prepared for a range of careers within and beyond health care.

Requirements of the Minor

The health humanities minor consists of five courses: HLTH 100 Intro to Health Humanities, one course from each of the three core categories, and one additional course at the 300 level from any core category. Students may request that credit from courses not listed here be counted toward the minor by contacting the director of the health humanities program.

HLTH 100Intro to Health Humanities1
Ethical and Philosophical Dimensions of Health1
Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of Biology
Environmental Ethics
Bioethics: Issues in Ethics, Medicine, and the Life Sciences
Historical Engagements in Health and Medicine1
Art, Science, and Magic in the Medieval World
Renaissance Literature, 1485-1660 (only when titled Reading the Renaissance Body, taught by Emily Loney)
Special Topics (only when titled Plague, Contagion, and Illness, taught by Emily Loney)
Seminar in Renaissance Literature (only when titled Performing Disability in Early Modern Literature, taught by Emily Loney)
Seminar in Special Topics (only when titled Narrating Disability, taught by Emily Loney)
Introduction to the History of Medicine
Histories of Environmental Health and Justice
North American Environmental History
Health and Medicine in the 20th Century U.S.
Topics in the History of Science and Medicine
History of Science and Medicine
How to Be Alone: Religion, Solitude, and Loneliness
Yoga: Religion, History, Culture
Social Contexts and Inequalities of Health1
Medical Anthropology
Culture and Madness
Mind, Madness and Medicine
Global Health
Race, Sports and Politics
Special Topics in American Literature (only when titled Fiction and Reproductive Justice, taught by Chase Gregory)
Environmental Health & Climate
Gender, Environment & Health
Digesting Divinity: Religion, Food and Diet
Sociology of Health and Medicine
Gender, Race and Health
Reproductive Justice & Health
One 300-Level Course from Any Core Area1



HLTH 100. Intro to Health Humanities. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
This course introduces students to the social, historical, environmental and ethical dimensions of health and medicine. It will prepare students to engage with health and illness as products of cultural processes by educating them in core concepts, historical case studies and research methods essential to the humanities.


Coordinator: John Penniman