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School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Health and Medical Humanities Minor Courses

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Fall 2021 Courses

HMH Required Courses 

  • IDS 371 (Topics in Health and Medical Humanities)

The following courses are cross-listed with IDS 371 or can be substituted for IDS 371 (see course descriptions on the following pages)

  • CJ 480: Criminal Justice and Mental Health
  • ENG 311: Disability and Illness Memoirs
  • ENG 400 / 419: Energy Infrastructures and the Environment in Contemporary World Literature (Gulf Park)
  • ENG 465: British Romanticism and Modern Disability
  • HIS 479: Topics in American History (Gulf Park)
  • PHI 452 (Health Care Ethics) (Gulf Park; IVN available to students in Hattiesburg)

HMH Electives

  • ENG 221, 321, 421 (Fiction Writing I, II, III)
  • ENG 222, 322, 422 (Poetry Writing I, II, III)
  • ENG 223 (Creative Writing I: Mixed Genre)


(CMJ 480) Criminal Justice and Mental Health

Dr. William Johnson (can be substituted for IDS 371)

Criminal Justice and Mental Health focuses on providing students a basic understanding of how justice involved mental health consumers impact the criminal justice system. Particular attention is given to the discussion of the evolving histories of both criminal justice and mental health, existing use and need for evidence based programs, and the importance of rehabilitation/counseling initiatives vs. imprisonment. Practitioners from local and regional agencies speak to the class about their jobs, interactions with justice involved consumers and the challenges they face on a day to day basis.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to:

  • explain how stigma impacts individuals living with mental illness
  • explain how mental illness became criminalized 
  • explain the increase and impact of mentally ill offenders on the correctional system
  • explain how changes in the criminal justice system impact the mental health system (and vice versa)
  • explain how crises have driven mental health and criminal justice policy
  • explain the differences between the primary forms of mental illness
  • explain the relationship between drug addiction and mental illness
  • explain the impact of deinstitutionalization on the criminal justice and mental health systems as well as society
  • explain how offenders with mental illness cope with their institutionalization
  • explain how inmates with mental illness are treated in jails vs. prisons
  • explain how Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) strategies have changed police and community responses to mental illness
  • explain how Mental Health Courts work
  • explain the evolution of correctional rehabilitation and treatment programs 
  • explain how the current fiscal crisis is impacting institutional and community corrections
  • explain how the current fiscal crisis is impacting mental health care in institutions and community based care
  • explain how Evidence Based Practices (EBP) are changing the mental health and criminal justice systems
  • describe various programs offered by National Alliance of Mental Illness
  • explain how biological and environmental factors impact mental health
  • explain the effects of PTSD on veterans and strategies being used to combat PTSD
  • explain how decisions by the United States Supreme Court have changed and are changing mental health care


(ENG 311/IDS 371) Survey of Contemporary Literature
Illness and Disability Memoirs

Dr. Emily B. Stanback

Illness and disability memoirs have become incredibly popular in recent decades, detailing from a first-hand perspective experiences of everything from depression to autism to cancer to paralysis. In When Breath Becomes Air, for example, neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi describes the shift from doctor to patient after his diagnosis with stage IV cancer in his late 30s. In Girl, Interrupted, Susannah Kaysen uses medical documents and reconstructed memory to scrutinize her time in McLean Institution and her diagnosis, at 18 years of age, of borderline personality disorder. The first-person narratives in Alice Wong’s Disability Visibility depict several dimensions of what it means to be disabled in the 21st century—what it means to be Black and disabled, what it means to be a disabled parent, what it means to be a disability activist.

Why have these authors—and countless others—turned to the written word to articulate their embodied experiences? Why have countless readers returned again and again to memoirs such as these? Why has this genre become so popular at this particular moment in literary history?

In this course we will consider what it means to write the ill or disabled bodymind, and what it means to read the ill or disabled bodymind. We will discuss how illness and disability memoirs can allow individuals to give voice to how their evolving bodymind moves through time and space, to articulate their experience as a patient under medical treatment, and to explore how their relationships and sense of self have been shaped by experiences of illness and disability. Importantly, we will also discuss how memoirs can also allow individuals to resist the narratives constructed about illness and disability by medical professionals and by society at large.



(ENG 400/419) Energy Infrastructures and the Environment in Contemporary World Literature

Dr. Christopher Foley (can be substituted for IDS 371)

The communities situated along the Gulf Coast have disproportionately borne the brunt of U.S. socio-environmental disasters in recent decades, from Hurricanes Katrina in 2005 and Harvey in 2017 to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010.  Moreover, as Louisiana’s Isle de Jean Charles steadily disappears due to rising sea levels and warming ocean temperatures, members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe (whose families have lived on the island since the 1840s) are in the midst of becoming our nation’s first climate-change refugees.  And yet, despite the fact that the Gulf Coast region is likely to be among those hit hardest in the U.S. by climate change and sea-level rise in the coming decades, there continues to be entrenched political and cultural opposition to policy solutions that seek to address and mitigate such hardship, particularly in the Gulf Coast region. 

While it is clear that there are no easy political solutions to these local, national, and global concerns, it is also clear that viable long-term solutions will require us to think differently about the problems before us—and to do so more collectively, and with greater attention to diverse perspectives, than we have up to this point.  Leveraging the unique potential of imaginative literature and academic service-learning to provide insight into and foster empathy for diverse cultural perspectives and social justice concerns, this course explores three of the most pressing local, national, and global issues in the context of contemporary world literature and film: (1) the geopolitics of oil production and consumption, (2) the proliferation of plastics that pose an increasing threat to human and oceanic health, and (3) the social consequences of unmitigated anthropogenic climate change.



(ENG 465/IDS 371) Romanticism & Modern “Disability”

Dr. Emily B. Stanback

Many of the most enduring characters from Romantic-era literature, from Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner to Frankenstein’s Creature, are characterized by the kinds of bodies and minds that we would call “disabled.” Many Romantic-era authors also lived with conditions that, then and now, were pathologized by medicine—and most explicitly claimed the importance of these embodied states to their lives and writing. For example, Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote letters and poetry about a wide range of chronic bodily and mental symptoms, Mary Prince spoke movingly about her rheumatism, Thomas De Quincey minutely tracked his “crazy body,” and Charles Lamb wrote about his stuttering, limping, and experience of madness.

This course seeks to explore the ways in which disability influenced Romantic-era literature and culture, as well as the extent to which conceptions of “disability”—in the modern sense of the word—developed during the era. Mindful of intersectionality, we will also consider how experiences of, and literary depictions of, disability can be shaped by race, gender, and class.

We will consider primary texts by authors including Coleridge, Prince, De Quincey, Lamb, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, Mary Wollstonecraft, John Keats, Dorothy Wordsworth, and John Clare. We will also look at relevant medical texts and contexts.



(HIS 479) Topics in American History

Dr. Deanne Stephens (can be substituted for IDS 371)

This course will explore the health hazards experienced by people who worked in the seafood industry, particularly that industry that developed along the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  This course will offer a broad review of common diseases during this time, as medical science began to understand the germ theory.  Diseases such as tetanus, tuberculosis, and typhoid will be three main health issues discussed as they pertained to seafood workers.  In addition, hazards in the work place will also be included in the course.  Many workers suffered great injuries from working on the boats or from steaming and canning oysters as they toiled in the various aspects of the seafood industry.  How did these workers tend to their injuries?  What civic groups helped them economically, and in some cases, even provided burial funds.

Each student in the course will research a particular health hazard or disease of the seafood industry and then analyze how workers coped with those issues or ramifications of the disease, how they culturally accepted disease, and how they economically coped with recovery.  The story of the Mississippi Gulf Coast seafood industry is a story of people’s struggles, both health-wise and environmentally, as they built this industry. 

Contact Us

School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

110 Elizabeth Harkins Hall (EHH)
118 College Dr. #5112
Hattiesburg, MS 39406


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