Gender, Race and Class in Medical Research and Practice

Course Description

Historically, the relationship between African Americans and the institution of medicine has been drastically different compared to other racial groups, to the tone of historic exploitative experimentation and a lack of trust in the medical industry. Drawing on numerous racialized experimentation abuse incidents, we will explore how scientific thought and the dominant gaze on black bodies solidified the acceptance of racial experimentation as an acceptable practice. These events include surgical experimentation on slaves, forced sterilization, exposure to radiation and syphilis, and the cloning of Henrietta Lack's cells for future research and profit. These medical events have come to shape our lives, as they have resulted in medical advancements at the expense of individuals' fundamental human rights.

This course will teach us how to think sociologically about the intersections of gender, race, class, and medicine. We will begin by examining how historic ideologies about race have influenced the practice of medicine on patients without their knowledge. We will continue to explore how medical research has utilized race and sex as justification for involuntary medical experimentation and how medicine constitutes and acts on racial and gendered bodies. You will be charged with considering what role ethics and consent has and should play within the context of medical advances derived from racialized experimentation.

By the end of the course, you will:

  • Learn basic key concepts concerning race, gender, class, and medicine.
  • Develop critical thinking skills by challenging and critiquing your own view and that of others through open discussion and personal writing reflections on the course topics.
  • Identify the basic fundamental orientations and social policies influencing debates surrounding racialized experimentation and consider the ethical and legal issues of these types of research studies.
  • Describe the influence of politics and economics on how medical research has been framed and its impact on how society conceptualizes race as a concept.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of current policies and programs used to address medical research and suggest alternatives, which can help to improve ethical practices.
Following this course, you will be able to:
  • Understand the social and cultural dimensions of science and how science has privileged specific communities.
  • Explain the positive and negative implications of racialized research and identify the ethical dilemmas of racialized experimental research (then and now).
  • Critically evaluate and analyze the significance of biological determinism in debates about social inequality and identify how racialized experimentation reinforced the system of social inequality.
    • Prerequisites

      There are no prerequisites for success in this course.


      One Section Available to Choose From:

      Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

      Dates: June 27, 2022 - July 08, 2022
      Duration: 2 Weeks
      Meeting Times: M-F 8:30A-11:20A
      Status: Closed
      Format: On-Campus
      Instructor(s): Frederick Hunter
      Course Number: 10337