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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Matthew Sparke
HUM 211
Seattle Campus

Justice and Global Health

Examines illness through a social and political framework within the context of global patterns of power and inequality. Draws upon ethical, anthropological, and economic approaches to global health. Explores how health relates to global phenomena like poverty, war, pharmaceuticals, and market-led development.

Class description

To understand and to address illness, we tend to look first to the body of the individual sufferer. Yet if we look instead to global patterns of power and inequality, illness comes into focus as a problem of injustice and by the same token, it becomes clear how injustice can cause people to sicken, suffer, and die. This course highlights the problem of global health disparities, and introduces students to conceptual tools from medical anthropology and medical ethics for critically analyzing health and illness in global, social, and ethical perspectives. What do we as citizens of a wealthy and powerful country, or as citizens of the world more generally, need to understand about the connections between power and health? What are our responsibilities? What are some of the complications and difficulties that arise in trying to implement solutions to global health problems and what are some examples of successful and positive efforts? These questions will guide our exploration of a range of topics, including poverty and structural violence, war and terror, and biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Course materials will include films as well as readings, and our discussions will be enriched by several guest speakers.

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.
Additional Information
Last Update by Matthew Sparke
Date: 03/18/2009