HC 101H: Malaria-Science, Ethics, History

Professor: Melissa Graboyes

4.00 credits

• CRN 16610: Tuesday & Thursday, 1015-1145 @ LLCN 125

This course examines malaria and its corresponding technologies in Africa from many different disciplines and perspectives, recognizing how these different approaches contribute to more complex and accurate understanding of a challenging disease. We will make sure not to narrowly think about malaria as only a “scientific” or “medical” issue, but as a topic with history, multiple forms of knowledge, and with many remaining unanswered questions. The class is divided into three sections. We begin by building a basic, but solid, understanding of malaria as a disease: how it is transmitted, how it rooted in the larger environment, who it affects and where, and forms of acquired and genetic immunity. We will learn about the history of malaria, the history of malaria interventions, contemporary malaria control efforts, and debates about the ethics of whether malaria eradication should be attempted today. During the second part of the course, we think more carefully about the role of new technologies such as the RTS,S malaria vaccine, genetically modified (GM) mosquitos, gene drives, and the use of CRISPR. We will read about, and then discuss together, what is meant by “appropriate technology”—parsing when the term arose, what counts as “appropriate,” who defines it as such, and how the concept has become firmly linked with the Global South. In the final part of the course, we will consider some of the ethical questions raised by malaria activities, particularly the thorny issues of rebound, or resurgent, malaria epidemics. This is a real-life issue that continues to plague contemporary malaria interventions, and the class will discuss how to end interventions ethically, delineating the responsibilities of foreign organizations, the appropriate level of involvement for community members, and whether the history of colonization and past interventions ought to factor into contemporary practices. During the quarter, we will learn a lot about disease, but the larger goal is to foster critical thinking and reading skills. This class requires high level participation and great commitment on the part of students. Students are expected to arrive at class having read carefully and thought critically about the texts. **NOTE: this class my be modified to incorporate content on Covid-19 that fits with the broader course themes of science, ethics, technology, and history.**