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Unit information: Race and Health in America in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Race and Health in America
Unit code HIST30099
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Stephen Mawdsley
Open unit status Not open
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School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Unit Information

This unit explores the complex intersection of race and health in America. Students will grapple with the ideology of race as well as the social construction of disease, illness, and the body. By using case studies, students will gain a deeper understanding of the social determinants of disease, the effects of racism, and how racial groups have negotiated existing institutions (hospitals, public health, government, and medicine). By engaging with a range of primary and secondary sources, students will improve their research skills, public speaking skills, and knowledge of American health history through the lens of race.

Your learning on this unit

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of how the ideology of race was constructed and how it affected conceptions of the body, disease, and treatment.
  2. discuss and evaluate the key themes surrounding race and health since 1600
  3. evaluate how national and regional circumstances shaped conceptions of race and disease.
  4. locate and analyse both primary and secondary sources pertinent to the history of medicine and health in America.
  5. present independent research in written forms appropriate to H/6

How you will learn

3 hours of seminar per week

How you will be assessed

Tasks which count towards your unit mark (summative):

One 3500-word essay (50%) [ILOs 1-5]. Timed Assessment (50%) [ILOs 1-5].

When assessment does not go to plan:

When required by the Board of Examiners, you will normally complete reassessments in the same formats as those outlined above. However, the Board reserves the right to modify the format or number of reassessments required. Details of reassessments are confirmed by the School/Centre shortly after the notification of your results at the end of the year. 


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. HIST30099).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.