University Courses

The CFDE initiated the University Courses in 2011 to encourage a multidisciplinary examination of issues and topics by faculty and students from across the university. The goals of University Courses are to focus the many intellectual perspectives and resources of Emory on the study of important topics and to enact a sense of common purpose across the diverse communities at Emory. These classes are offered to all students: undergraduate, graduate, and professional.

past university courses

Fall 2022 University Course: Pandemic Reflections

Convened by Dr. Jodie Guest

Tuesdays 1-4pm

Emory Report Article on the Fall 22 University Course


Often discussions of pandemics focus on infectious diseases, public health outreach and communication, and perhaps even vaccine development and roll out. But pandemics are also like mirrors. They offer a reflection of both who we are and who we can be as a global community. What can they teach us about ourselves, our society, and even our world? This course will focus on the HIV/AIDS and Covid-19 pandemics as two (ongoing) events that have taught us about science and disease. But they have also brought a sharper focus on issues surrounding stigma, religion, communication, inequity, and politics. Drawing on these two pandemics, we will begin to ponder how they help explore our current context more deeply and shape our responses to future pandemics. What were our lessons learned? How might we carry them forward? 

  • Learn and understand the history and context of both the HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 pandemics. 
  • Demonstrate skill in critical thinking, writing, oral presentation, and group discussion. 
  • Analyze, synthesize, and evaluate scholarship on various topics related to both HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 (such as religion, inequality, communication, etc.) 
  • Demonstrate skill in various forms of science communication (tweet, infographic, briefing/presentation). 
  • Create public scholarship about pandemics. 
  • Present on a pandemic topic of your choice in one of four formats (tv show, conference, thanksgiving table, or congregation/community meeting).  

view flyer

Spring 2023 University Courses

Representing Responsibility and Care

Together we will examine how the ethics of responsibility and care, especially the caregiving/caretaking of other people, intersect with the creation and reading of literature. Is there a connection between caring in the creative act and caring for another human being? What have we learned about caregiving from the academic disciplines, with a focus on writings in bioethics, and how is that reflected in literary depictions of caregiving? And as readers and interpreters of literature, what can we learn about caregiving and responsibility from stories that represent situations of caregiving--or refusal to provide care? The course will highlight racial and ethnic disparities in caregiving resources and burdens, as well as cultural variations in the nature of caregiving. We will also look into emerging technologies in caregiving, and the changes that AI and robotics have made in caregiving. The course is designed to be hybrid so that the discussions can benefit from the different perspectives of graduate and undergraduate students across Emory's departments and schools.

Readings will include Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Toni Morrison's Beloved, Leo Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich, stories from Margaret Atwood's Moral Disorder and Lauren Groff's Florida.

GRAD 700: University Course


Undergraduate, Graduate, and Professional Students

Donna Troka,

Departments of Medicine and Sociology
Director, Emory Center for Ethics

Department of English

Spring 2023 University Course (GRAD700)

Mondays/Wednesdays 11:00AM-12:30PM

Perhaps the most significant watershed moment in modern biomedical ethics occurred nearly 75 years ago in Nuremberg, Germany. In 1946-1947, an American tribunal accused dozens of Nazi doctors and medical researchers of war crimes and crimes against humanity for performing not just illegal medicine but unethical medicine in wartime camps, communities, and clinics. From the ashes of such immoral medicine emerged what is now known as the Nuremberg Code, which became the basis for all subsequent biomedical research ethics and, in many ways, modern medicine. How did such bad medicine come about? How was it justified? What was at stake? This course considers the complex relations between Nazi and American biomedical science from the mid-19th Century through to the Nuremberg Medical Trial.It culminates in an experiential exploration of potentially dangerous, ethically dubious yet medically urgent research.

Professor Jonathan K. Crane (