Science, Public Health, and Humanistic Inquiry: Travel, Medicine and the CoViD-19 Pandemic in Chile

Professors David George (Hispanic Studies) and T. Glen Lawson (Chemistry and Biochemistry) receive a $10,000 award from IES Abroad to lead a short term titled Science, Public Heath, and Humanistic Inquiry: Travel, Medicine and the CoVID-19 Pandemic in Chile. The course developed in collaboration with Professor Claudia Guzmán (Hispanic Studies), will be offered in May 2023.

The course is built upon a pedagogical model designed to eliminate the artificial boundary constructed between the natural sciences and the humanities that was developed by Bates College professors Claudia Aburto Guzmán and T. Glen Lawson.  This model was successfully applied in the instruction of a short term course (BCSP23) in 2016 and a fall semester abroad program in 2018 that were both based in Santiago, Chile.  (See website:  The new course proposed for short term 2023 is designed to train students to recognize, observe, and analyze the interrelation between health science and the humanities as it unfolds in the public sphere.  It offers parallel instruction in analytical methodologies particular to each discipline in order to interrogate the forces that generate and shape public health decisions, and the impact these have on cultural activities that involve a broad cross-section of the population.  Through interrelated strategical pedagogical activities, it provides the opportunity for students to put into practice decision-making processes that forefront the tensioned relationship between human interests and human welfare.  It also highlights the transformative potential of reflecting upon one’s home culture and institutions through a comparative lens.  Lastly, the program purposefully engages the COVID-19 pandemic, providing the opportunity to reflect on the boundaries of science, the constraints within culture, individual responsibility vis à vis community, and the movement of peoples within and across international boundaries.  To ensure the success of this course, it will again be located in Chile’s unique historical and cultural context.  Chile’s robust scientific research enterprise and healthcare delivery infrastructure make for an appropriate site in which a comparative approach may be put into practice.