This interdisciplinary honors course takes as its focus the history and portrayal of nursing and nurses in literature, with a particular emphasis on the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries. From the religious orders of women who preceded Florence Nightingale in serving the ill and infirm to the empowerment of women in nursing currently, the course explores the field of nursing from its origins to current time. The challenges and opportunities that nursing presented for diverse women will be analyzed by considering the ways in which gender, race, and class shaped and continue to shape their work experiences. Students will analyze the role of nursing in a variety of text selections, including historical literature, biographies and first-person accounts of leaders within the nursing profession, selected essays and fiction, as well as film excerpts. The course emphasizes the important contributions that women have made in the development of the field of nursing, including creating an awareness of the profession through literary production.
WST 267: Honors Ill-Behaved Women: Nursing and Literature