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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Rachel R Chapman
ANTH 308
Seattle Campus

Anthropology of Women' s Health and Reproduction

Introduction to anthropological approaches to women' s health, addressing women' s health status and participation in healthcare. Topics include reproductive health, women' s bodies and sexuality, social policy in relation to gender, race, ethnicity, and class. Emphasis on how the politics of gender shapes women' s experiences of health care institutions in the United States.

Class description

This seminar will examine interdisciplinary approaches to women’s health (defined broadly) through a survey of women’s health status and participation in healthcare. The class will explore different ways to analyze women’s health issues, such as problems in reproductive healthcare, women’s bodies and sexuality, and social policy, in relation to daily pedagogies of gender, race/ethnicity and class. While course materials expose students to a range of women’s health topics, emphasis is placed on identifying themes in the meaning, expression and political nature of the social arrangements within which women’s experiences of health and healthcare institutions are encountered, produced and gendered. This course asks the questions, “Can our practice as scholars who are interested in gender, women and women’s health across various disciplines, facilitate the development of empowering health care systems, and if so, how?”

By looking at women’s health issues from a variety of perspectives, students are challenged to identify core concepts, questions and approaches most helpful to the development of their own intellectual, research and action agendas. A central goal of this course is to assist students, particularly those studying gender, in clarifying their individual research methodology - orientation towards theory and analysis of how research might proceed in crafting work that does work in the world.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Lecture/topic orientation Student-led discussion Large and small group in-class discussion In-class group exercises with data Close readings of film and other creative arts Student analysis of autobiographical material Spontaneous in-class thought-piece writing In-class hands-on projects

Recommended preparation

no prerequisites introduction to anthropology helpful getting a good night's sleep before class

Class assignments and grading

Reading summaries: Brief written summaries are required for each reading assignment over the quarter. You do not need to spend more than 15 minutes total on these summaries. These are for the purpose of facilitating substantive discussion on readings. The work will be evaluated as 0 – not acceptable or 1- accepted good work.

1 gender and health Research Paper (7-10) Each student will choose a problem or question relating to women’s health or gender and health and write a 7-10 page research paper on the problem (Due Wednesday in class week 10). As part of the research, students must include a section discussing one or more projects that have been developed to address the problem (social activism, public health projects, community action, creative projects (for example V-Day or Take Back the Night events on college campuses, domestic violence advocacy groups at a rape crisis center or hospital; the Grameen Bank micro credit for women projects started in Bangladesh: http://www.grameen-info.org/) and an online resource directory.

1 Final Analytic Essay: (5-10) The final analytical essay is a 5-10 page summary of how concepts, themes, paradigms, individual authors, and peers in class discussions have influenced and directed the participant’s research project/proposal and thinking. This is essentially a stroll through the syllabus demonstrating your understanding of course materials by applying it to your research topic and your own life.

Participation/Presentation: 10% Reading summaries: 45% 1 gender and health Research Paper (7-10) 20% 1 Final Analytic Essay: (5-10) 25% TOTAL 100%


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 Rachel R Chapman
Date: 01/03/2005