Mason Hall D003
Section Information for Spring 2017
This course is an introduction to medical anthropology, which includes the study of health, illness, the body, and healing in a cross-cultural perspective. The field draws on various theoretical approaches to understand the interaction of biology, culture, the social environment, and medicine. We will read anthropological accounts from different settings around the world to explore how health and illness are culturally constructed and mediated. How do social processes determine disease and health outcomes in individuals and communities? How are medical technologies understood and utilized in different cultural settings? How do we socially and culturally account for health disparities? How does someone’s background and upbringing influence the ways they understand their bodies and disease? We will focus on cultural interpretations of sickness and healing and of medical systems and will attempt to better understand global health problems in a larger cultural, historical, ecological, and political-economic contexts. In addition, we will ask how medical science is influenced by culture and by economic and political institutions. The course will begin with key scholars and theories in medical anthropology and an introduction to research methods. After, we will focus on case studies from around the world on topics such as, the relationship between traditional healing and Western medicine, structural violence and social suffering, the development of technologies and the limitations of the human body, reproductive health and HIV/AIDS, aging and death, mental health, genetics, and other global health concerns, including malaria, tuberculosis, and access to services. This course is open to all undergraduate students regardless of major and would be of particular interest to those in anthropology, sociology, Global Affairs, Women and Gender Studies, history, philosophy, religious studies, global and community health, nursing, biology, pre-med, and SPGIA. Fulfills CHSS Non-Western Requirement.