Instructor: Stuart J. Youngner, M.D.
All countries face difficult and often intractable social problems. This course will examine the contrasting ways two wealthy, technologically-advanced liberal democracies-- the USA and the Netherlands--handle these problems. The course will focus primarily on end-of life decisions; The Netherlands has legalized the practice of active euthanasia. It will also briefly cover national health care policy, and policy on use of recreational drugs, prostitution, and water management; in many ways, water management has helped to shape Dutch social and cultural development. The first half of the course (20 hours) will be taught in Cleveland; the second half (20 hours)will be taught in Amsterdam by both CWRU and Dutch faculty. The course will use a combination of lecture, case discussion, and consideration of popular culture, such as movies, books, and short stories. In The Netherlands, the students will learn about the uniqueness of Dutch national development and culture through: guided walking city tours, lectures, and site visits to the Hague (where they will meet with members of the Health Ministry’s Ethics Committee); the red light district (tour led by head of prostitute’s union); a shop where cannabis is legally sold (perspective of shop owner). They will also have formal lectures and readings on each of these topics. Students will be encouraged to contemplate and discuss how culture, history, and social factors have influenced the contrasting policies in the United States and The Netherlands. They will also be asked to explore how becoming familiar with Dutch policies toward intractable social problems has influenced their own thinking on these matters.
This course will compare and contrast policies in the USA and the Netherlands regarding difficult and sometimes intractable social problems, such as: euthanasia; recreational drug policy; prostitution; water management. This comparison of two simultaneously similar and very different societies will provide students with fresh perspectives on their own cultural assumptions, traditions, and experiences. This fresh perspective will be broadened by immersion in Dutch culture for the two-week portion of the course in Amsterdam. Students will receive lectures by Dutch scholars, but will also have important field experiences where they can directly observe and discuss some of the issues with Dutch citizens (nearly all of whom speak excellent English). Frequent time will be set aside solely for discussion with the course leaders to help students shape their own views on controversial subjects. In the United States, teaching methods will include lectures, case discussion, and exposure to how some of the course’s themes are reflected in popular culture, such as movies and literature.
All classes will be held on Mondays, 3:00-5:00 PM. Class location TBD.
January 28, 2013
February 4, 2013
February 11, 2013
February 18, 2013
February 25, 2013
March 4, 2013
March 18, 2013
April 1, 2013 (class from 3:00-5:30 PM)
April 8, 2013 (class from 3:00-5:30 PM)
April 15, 2013
More Course Offerings
- Winter Break 2014
- Spring Break Abroad 2014 courses
- French Connections, a Cross-Cultural Comparison of Medical Ethics-Paris, France
- Public Health in the Netherlands
- Summer 2014
- May Abroad 2014