Rachel R Chapman
Delineation and analysis of a specific problem or related problems in sociocultural anthropology.
Course Title:"A Healthy Dose of Culture: Understanding and Applying medical Anthropology in a Global World"
This course is an introduction to the field of Medical Anthropology with a focus on Global Health. Medical Anthropology is concerned with the comparative study of culture, health, illness, and healing practices. Over the course of the semester the class will seek an understanding of how the ways in which people perceive and interpret health and illness, and seek and deliver care, are inextricably bound up with cultural norms, beliefs and values as well as with social structure and environmental conditions. The aim of the course is to describe the work of medical anthropologists and provide an introduction to the variety of work they have accomplished in this vital and growing field. While course materials expose students to a range of topics in medical anthropology, emphasis is placed on identifying themes in the meaning, expression and social, political, and economic nature of human responses to experiences of health, illness and healthcare. Using examples from medical anthropology ethnography from across global contexts, students will hopefully encounter new frameworks for understanding their own experiences and culture(s) as well as explore ways that the practice of medical anthropology can contribute to solving urgent human problems. The importance of ethnographic approaches to health is our point of departure.
Student learning goals
1. To introduce students to the field of medical anthropology and global health through a socio-cultural lens.
2. To explore the history, production, methods, scope and uses of ethnography to understand and address the complex challenges facing our globalizing world.
3. Using a comparative approach, to introduce students to the key components and dynamics of health systems as they emerge in a variety of geographic and socio-cultural settings and historical moments.
4. To enhance students capacity to think analytically about contemporary patterns of health disparities and health crises within and between communities with the goal of identifying opportunities to improve community health.
By the end of this course students should be able to: 1. Define medical anthropology as a field and the role of ethnography as a core method, product and world-view of the discipline. 2. Identify core elements of health systems across cultures and describe the dialectic relationship between health patterns, health systems and social realities. 3. Apply key course concepts of social structure, cultural construction, life course and medical pluralism to contemporary challenges in health and health care from a variety of perspectives and identify ways to begin addressing challenges from a range of critical entry points, as well as anticipate consequences of potential interventions. 4. Identify “cycles of dehumanization” as they emerge and shape contemporary human interactions and welfare in ways that impinge upon health within and between communities.
6. Conduct Ethnographic Life-History and Health History Interviews and analyze original ethnographic data.
General method of instruction
lecture, in-class hands-on exercises, movies and discussion based. Students will gather and analyze their own mini life and health history data.
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. Students must complete required readings in preparation for class periods. Attendance and active participation during discussions and exercises is ESSENTIAL to passing the course. 2. Bring syllabus, assigned reading materials and notes to each class. 3. There will be a MIDTERM and a FINAL. The exams will include IDs, definitions, short answers and short essay questions. The first mid-term will focus on the first half of the course. The final will focus on the second half of the quarter, but is comprehensive for the course. 4. PARTICIPATION, WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS and CLASS EXERCISES will keep you on your toes, up to date with the reading assignments, and to allow hands-on application of class concepts. 5. A short paper based on student's original interview data will be due during finals week.
5. Grading System: Participation and class exercises - 20% Midterm and Final - 50% Life and Health History Paper - 30% TOTAL 100%