Feb 22, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

HON 396 - The Politics of Waste

Prerequisite, acceptance to the University Honors Program, or consent of instructor. The Politics of Waste is an interdisciplinary medical humanities course to be taught in the Honors Program. By waste, we are referring to effluent, garbage and industrial pollution. The medical humanities literature on world health points to sewer systems as one of the fundamental advances in terms of disease prevention in the 19th century. The field of medicine as well identifies water-based flush toilets as a major medical achievement. The history of these achievements however reveals the contested nature of eliminating waste from the environment. Our course has relevancy to current world challenges. Sewage disposal is a problem today for over 2.5 billion people who do not have access to proper sanitation. Numerous global initiatives such as the Gates Foundation’s “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge” continue to seek effective responses to this never-ending problem. This course’s outcome has value in informing a larger understanding of a worldwide concern and thus embodies the University’s goal of producing students who live “inquiring, ethical, and productive lives as global citizens.” This course examines - from perspectives of history, literature, psychology, politics and economics – the various ways that humanity has struggled to both accommodate and marginalize the greatest taboo. Our course not only contributes to expanding the breadth and depth of medical humanities inquiry, but it also addresses a topic that remains a global problem today. (Offered as needed.) 3 credits