Profile: Charles McCoy

Assistant Professor of Sociology

My research is concerned with the development of public health, specifically the formation of national systems of disease control. I am interested in how a state’s disease control strategies influences how it relates to its citizens and the type of power it is able to exert over their lives.
I have examined the development of disease control through tracing the state response to outbreaks of disease in the United States and the United Kingdom from the 19th century to the early 20th century. I describe how the scientific theories that existed when each country started to form its system of disease control and where in the state apparatus disease control is located helped shape how each country developed, over time, its own style of controlling disease. I have used this historical data to understand the differences in how the US and the UK respond to contemporary biological threats like SARS, avian flu, swine flu, and most recently Ebola.
I have presented my work at academic conferences, published essays in the popular press, such as the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Burlington Free Press, and academic journals.

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NoteStreams By Charles McCoy

The Guilty Pleasure of Watching Trashy TV

Many Americans have a conflicted relationship with the media they watch. In particular, those who think of themselves as “cultured” tend to have a negative view of certain “low-brow” contemporary television shows. Scripted shows like Two and a Half Men and Reign are described as “banal” and “dumb,” while the latest crop of “trashy” reality shows – The Bachelorette, Keeping Up with the Kardashians – are to be enjoyed only by “hate-watching” them. Nonetheless, these very same shows are watched by millions of people each week. The popularity (and profitability) of reality TV has reshaped the landscape of television. In fact, many TV producers are purposely making “bad” shows to appeal to a certain type of viewer.

Category: Health

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