University of Toronto Scarborough Campus
Department of Social Sciences
HLTA01 – PLAGUES AND PEOPLE
Meeting Time: Wednesday 10:00 – 12:00 noon
Meeting Room: AC223
Tutorial Times: Mondays at 10:00 - T1 in BV471, T2 in BV498, T3 in BV469, and T7
Mondays at 11:00 – T4 in BV471, T5 in BV498, T6 in BV469
Professor: Caroline Barakat-Haddad
Office: BV 500
Phone: (416) 208 2700
Office Hours: Wednesdays 8:00 – 9:00 am (except Jan 19 and Mar 2 – Office hours
are Mondays 8:00 – 9:00 am, Feb 23 – Reading week) up to and including April 6th.
Office hours are also available by appointment.
Teaching Assistants: TBA
This course considers the origins, antiquity, and impact of plagues on human
societies from cultural, evolutionary, epidemiological, and ecological perspectives.
The course will start with an introduction to disease ecology followed by a focus on
historic, contemporary, and newly-emerging epidemics. The aim is to understand
why “plagues” emerge and how their occurrence is intimately linked to human
behaviour. The main goal is to provide insight into the struggles of attaining disease
control and the challenges of forecasting emerging plagues.
•To develop an understanding of introductory concepts in disease ecology in
relation to plagues and epidemics
•To introduce students to historic plagues that had a major effect on human
•To provide an understanding of the effects of various plagues and epidemics
while considering cultural, evolutionary, epidemiological, and ecological
•To stimulate analysis and discussion on topics related to attaining disease
control, disease prevention, and the challenges of preparedness
The main textbook for this course is ‘The Power of Plagues’ by Irwin W. Sherman.
This textbook is available for purchase at the U of T Bookstore. A course reader is
also required and available for purchase. A list of the required readings for each
lecture is included on page 5 of this syllabus. The Blackboard course page will also
contain the PowerPoint slides from each lecture, USUALLY posted within 48 hours
after the lecture. Please note that you are strongly advised to take lecture notes on a
There will be 3 major evaluations for this course:
a)Tests – 30%
There are 3 tests for this course. These will be held during scheduled tutorial
times on January 31, 2011; February 28, 2011; and March 21, 2011.
Under no circumstance will students that miss a test have the opportunity to
retake the test. The missed test will be graded 0 unless the student submits a
UTSC medical certificate to their TA within 10 days of the scheduled test
and unless the certificate indicates that the student was sick on the day that
the test was scheduled. Missed tests for medical reasons will be reweighed
and count for the tests component of the final course evaluation.
Students should keep in mind that a specific time is allocated for the
completion of each test. Students are responsible for keeping up with weekly
readings and lectures in order to do well. Any test-taking problems should
be reported during the scheduled tutorial to the course TA.
b)Tutorial activities – 20%
c)One CUMULATIVE final exam – 50%
The final exam will draw on ALL material covered in this course. Additional
information about the format of the final exam will be provided at a later