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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Johanna Crane
BCULST 593
Bothell Campus

Topics in Cultural Studies

Explores in depth specific historical, political, or social aspects of cultural practice, such as digital humanities, the culture and the environment, or arts as cultural studies, and links this analysis to the varied processes of producing these types of cultural work. Offered: AWSpS.

Class description

Living and dying are not only biological states of being; they are also processes infused with power and politics. Everyday experiences of health, illness, and the body are at once deeply intimate and also reflective of one’s relationship to the state, to social institutions, to culture, and to the global economy. This class uses contemporary ethnography, memoir, and social theory to examine the politics of living and dying in diverse social and cultural contexts. Two key questions will guide our inquiry: First, what are the ethical, cultural, and political questions raised by making someone live or letting someone die? Second, how do structural or “macro? relationships of power and inequality play out at the “micro? level of everyday life? The readings for this course will be primarily ethnographies of medicine, health, and illness. *Possible* texts might include some (but not all) of the following books:

And a Time to Die: How American Hospitals Shape the End of Life (Sharon Kaufman, 2006)

Righteous Dopefiend (Philippe Bourgois and Jeffery Schonberg, 2009)

Improvising Medicine: An African Cancer Ward in an Emerging Epidemic (Julie Livingston, 2012)

Death in a Church of Life: Moral Passion During Botswana’s Time of AIDS (Fred Klaits, 2010)

Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States (Seth Holmes, 2013)

Death without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil (Nancy Scheper-Hughes, 1992)

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Johanna Crane
Date: 06/18/2013