ENG 230 Students explore hidden stories of health

During the fall 2023 term, students in ENG 230: Literature & Health studied short stories, creative nonfiction, poetry, and film alongside primary sources to understand how literature has both responded to and shaped the meaning and impact of “health,” broadly understood. We organized our findings into a “Timeline of Literature and Health,” dating from the 1830s until today, now on display in the Charles “T” Jones Leadership Library.

We often think of health as a set of standards that all people should strive to meet. However, in studying over 200 years of literary texts and related primary sources, ENG 230 learned that definitions of health have evolved over time. Our class timeline, comprising primary source analyses as well as close readings of a range of U.S.-based texts, unearths histories that chronicle changing expectations for what it means to be “healthy.”

In this timeline, you will see similarities between fiction written in response to 19th century epidemics and in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. You will see how changes in women’s rights intersected with changes in women’s healthcare. You will see how Black Civil War veterans navigated government disability pensions. You will see how anxieties about physical and mental disability fueled the shameful eugenics movement, later partially repackaged in ethically unsound birth control trials. Importantly, you will see how individuals, fictional and non-fictional, continue to push for justice and equity in healthcare.

This timeline was compiled by Leana Borreli, Sydney Bubb, Trinity Etzweiler, Aryona Lackey, Brady Park, and Sara Walters for ENG 230 D, taught by Amanda Stuckey

Opportunities Start HERE

A few minutes can start a lifetime of success! Fill out our free online application now.

Apply Now
Request Info