Author Archives: Sandra Cheng

Homework #3: Visualizing Epidemics

Plague Inc logo

Plague Inc logo

This homework gives you the opportunity to visualize the spread of an epidemic. This homework takes about 60 minutes to complete.


  1. Play Plague Inc. TWICE! If you were wondering why the Plague app was a recommended purchase on the syllabus, here’s why! Download the game app Plague Inc. (ask a friend to borrow their mobile device if you don’t have a device, or email me directly for an alternative assignment)
    • Open the game Plague game app
    • Choose “new game”
    • Choose Bacteria as your game type
    • Choose Casual as game type
    • Name your Plague
    • Play two games: start your first game from a poor nation, start your second game from a wealthy nation
  2. Write a short report (minimum 300 words) recording the data from playing Plague Inc.
    Your brief report should answer the following questions:

    • Identify the name of the disease
    • Identify where you began your disease, first game, second game
    • Identify how long it took your plague to affect 100 people? 1,000,000 people?
    • Identify when the first death occurred. Why do you think it took so long?
    • Did your plague destroy the human race? If not, how long did it last before a cure was found or your disease was eradicated
    • Post your report here on the OpenLab!
  3. Note any differences between the two games. Did one take longer or faster to spread? Why do you think the disease progressed the way it did?
  4. Reflect on whether the game helped you better understand pandemic transmission.
  5. Please brag if you manage to conquer Greenland!

Please submit your post by class on Tuesday October 20th.

Homework #2: Carrie Mae Weems on Race, Appropriation, and Photography

Carrie Mae Weems, "An Anthropological Debate" from "From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried," 1995-1996

Carrie Mae Weems, “An Anthropological Debate” from “From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried,” 1995-1996

In class we have studied J.T. Zealy’s daguerreotypes of slaves that were commissioned by Harvard scientist Louis Agassiz to support his belief in the theory of polygenesis. For this homework, please explore the works of contemporary artist Carrie Mae Weems, who uses the tool of appropriation to critique issues of race in her art. Appropriation is a popular practice for modern artists, who borrow and alter pre-existing images in order to transform and give images new significances. Weems appropriates many of Zealy’s photographs in her series “From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried.” Listen to a brief statement about the series and explore the photographs in the series on her website. Reflect on your experience of reading the texts and looking at the images. Is it possible to do both at the same time? How would the work change without the text? What do you think of Weems’ photographic project?

Listen to Carrie Mae Weems on “From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried”

Explore the “From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried” series here

Please submit your post by class on Tuesday October 6th.


Homework #1: Wellcome Images Database

A tattoo on a piece of human skin showing a male bust and a flower stem Photograph Late 19th century Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images

A tattoo on a piece of human skin showing a male bust and a flower stem
Photograph, Late 19th century
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images

Choose a historical image from Wellcome Images, an important database of images on the history of medicine. This homework will give you the opportunity to explore this database so that you can make use of its images for future assignments. Post your image and compare it to the images we have seen in class. What is striking about the image, why did it capture your attention? How does it compare to some of the imagery that we have seen in class?

  1. Register for an account on Wellcome Images. This will give you more options to save and download images
  2. Search for a historical image of a medical topic that you would like explore.
  3. If you’re unsure of where to start, click on the galleries along the bottom of the home page to look around.
  4. Download an image to share with your classmate.
  5. Create a post on our OpenLab website that includes your chosen image. Follow the directions under “Posting Guidelines” to learn how to submit a post and upload an image.

Link to Wellcome Images website

Please submit your post and image by class on Tuesday September 29th.


L0005772 Pare, Hand, showing mechanical movement, Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images Artificial hand. 1564 Instrumenta chyrurgiae et icones anathomicae / Ambroise Paré Published: 1564] Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

Ambroise Pare, Hand, showing mechanical movement, 1564
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images

Welcome to the new interdisciplinary course Healing the Body: The Visual Culture of Medicine. This OpenLab website will be the primary course website, although we will make use of Blackboard for logistics like grades and paper submissions. Our class website is under construction, check back!