Codisciplinary Code-Switching: Bridging Biology and the Humanities during COVID-19

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Amanda Greene
Jennifer Swann


This article describes an experimental, interdisciplinary course on the immune system that was co-taught by a humanist and a scientist, and that (inadvertently) coincided with the start of the COVID-19 crisis in the United States. We propose the term “codisciplinary code-switching” to capture the pedagogical strategy we developed in designing the course and adapting it over the semester to grapple with current events. We focus, in particular, on how this approach helped our students navigate the entanglement of science and society in the shifting, uncertain world of the pandemic. Although these were peculiar circumstances, codisciplinary code-switching has broader possibilities and points to alternative ways of integrating the humanities and sciences in medical education that respects both disciplines as rigorous tools for reading bodies, texts, and contexts.   


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