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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Rachel R Chapman
ANTH 369
Seattle Campus

Special Problems in Anthropology

Delineation and analysis of a specific problem or related problems in sociocultural anthropology.

Class description

This interdisciplinary seminar will examine anthropological and sociological 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 anthropological work that does work in the world.

Student learning goals

1. To facilitate Participants critical exploration of health issues affecting women in the U.S. and also globally within the context of the broad conditions and forces that influence women’s lives.

2. To introduce Participants to critical questions, approaches, important concepts and methodological issues in contemporary studies of women’s health across race, class, sexuality and gender boundaries;

3. To facilitate Participants’ development and focus of their own theoretical orientations in preparation for graduate or professional work by asking questions related to gender and health and applying these new concepts and paradigms to their area of interest;

4. To enhance Participant’s application of learning to practice through the preparation of a research paper and action discussion.

5. To encourage Participants to explore the implications of various theoretical approaches to health inequalities and anthropology’s potential to contribute to action strategies, and human struggle that would result in a better quality of life for all.

6. To communicate a sense of personal empowerment and connection with other women in the U.S. and globally despite the barriers of difference and complexity created by nationality, ethnicity, class, sexuality or ability. 1. Define “women’s health” from multiple disciplinary perspectives and identify key forces in the production of health, illness and health disparities among women globally with a focus on women in the U.S. 2. Identify the global issues relative to women's health worldwide, for example, the effect of poverty on women's health in third world countries. 3. Demonstrate through independent research, written and oral presentation an in-depth knowledge of one current women’s health issue of their choice and identify its root causes including behavioral, social and political-economic factors and their interaction. 4. Apply critical thinking skills, key concepts and several paradigms in women’s health research to analyze the fundamental causes of most health issues facing women today and identify several key elements of an appropriate response to that health problem at the level of the individual, community or society.

General method of instruction

Anything goes. What to expect? Don’t expect! To be out of your comfort zone on occasion. For example: 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 or art work In-class hands-on projects

There will be a short period at the end of each class for written questions and constructive critiques so that the next lecture, class organization will reflect concerns brought up in the previous class.

Recommended preparation

Acquire and begin reading textbook. Complete all readings for class discussion and be prepared to participate in discussion. Have a study partner or partners and catch up on any missed lectures with study partners.

Class assignments and grading

1. There will be no mid-term or final exam for this class.

2. Participation: This course is a reading, writing and responding intensive SEMINAR! Students must complete and BRING required readings and writing assignments in preparation for each class discussion period. Class attendance is required, and active class participation during discussion periods is essential. My goal is to make class as interactive as possible. Speak up, ask questions, and share your experience. Not participating in any of these activities will negatively affect your final grade. Attendance will be taken from papers handed in and will be the basis for giving participation points.

3. Reading Summaries and Questions: Brief written assignments are required for each reading assignment over the quarter. These are for the purpose of facilitating substantive discussion on readings. The work will be evaluated as 0 2– not acceptable; 3-4 OK, gets the job done; 5 - excellent work. All assignments must be typed or legible and you are responsible for maintaining your own copies of assignments for class use and to put in the final portfolio. Students who do not have their writing assignments in class and draw from them will not receive full participation. The reading note summary guidelines on page 5 will be used for some written assignments, preparing in-class for discussions, and also should be used as mental guidelines for active college-level reading as well. There are 18

4. Presentations and Discussion Leadership: Students will be encouraged to present reading notes and help facilitate discussion in class. Students will be asked to choose one class session in which to lead discussion on a reading, present their research and engage other students in a discussion of their work to date in relation to the class readings on the day chosen. Presentation guidelines are same as reading note summary guidelines provided on page 6.

5. Health and Gender Action Research Paper: Each student will choose a problem or question relating to women’s health or gender and health and write a 5 page research paper on the problem (Due Wednesday in class week 10). As part of the research, students must include the following: 1) an overview of the problem including current data, 2) 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/), 3) a feminist political economic anthropological critique or proposal for further study, and an online resource directory. A guide for this assignment will be provided by the professor. DUE: Friday Week 10.

6. Final Project - Class Portfolio and Analytical Essay: The final project for this class is a portfolio which includes the following components: 1) all written work from the semester put in a folder using your copies of any work not handed back; 2) the research paper with a bibliography showing evidence of an in-depth literature search on the research topic; and 3) an analytical essay** summarizing your project/proposal development process using as many course terms and concepts as possible in your discussion. The final analytical essay is a 5 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. A guide for this assignment can be found at the end of this syllabus.

Participation/Presentation: 10% Reading summaries: (15/18x5pts) 75% (there are 18 days of notes, but only 15 due. The other 3 are extra credit for this class up to 5 points each) Research Paper: (5 pages) 10% Final Analytic Essay: 5% TOTAL 100%+ + = extra presentations, participation, outside materials shared etc., food


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.
Additional Information
Last Update by Rachel R Chapman
Date: 01/06/2014