Anthropology | Adv Sem in Med Anthropology
E400 | 9629 | Phillips


The meanings of "health" and disease, and the experience of one's
body, are often taken for granted.  However, our ideas about and
experiences of health, "dis-ease," and medicine are profoundly shaped
by culture, transnational flows of people, ideas, and resources,
histories of colonialism and structural inequalities, and the
development of new technologies.  An informed understanding of a
person or group's health and illness trajectories must begin by
exploring the multiple contexts-cultural, geopolitical, and socio-
economic-from which those experiences are generated.  In this course,
students will learn to think about issues of health, disease, and
medicine in cross-cultural and global terms.

The course will be divided into three broad and interrelated units.
The first unit focuses on cultural contexts of illness, health, and
ideologies of the body.  We will focus on how culture affects
experience by considering contrasting health/illness beliefs across
cultures.  Importantly, we will look at how local experiences are
shaped by large-scale social forces, a theme that will organize the
course.  The second unit also draws on these themes, but attention is
directed more specifically to the contexts of medical knowledge
production and the politics of contemporary biomedical healing.  We
will examine how new medical technologies are shaping cultural
ideologies of health and the body, and how they might do violence to
persons based on gender, ethnicity, and class.  The third unit follows
up on these themes, but shifts the focus to the political and moral
economies of health in the global context.  We will take up themes
such as structural violence, social inequalities in health, and the
health consequences of "state retreat."
Learning Objectives

After taking this course, students should be able to

1)  talk about how the methods and theories of anthropology can be
applied to issues of health, illness, disease, and medicine in cross-
cultural contexts;
2)  think and write about their own illness experiences utilizing
anthropological principles and modes of analysis;
3)  question accepted knowledge about mind-body dualism, medical
authority, and the desirable effects of new medical technologies;
4)  recognize and question social inequalities of health within the
U.S. and other societies, and in students' own communities;
5)  recognize the links between globalization and international public
health, and the epidemiological effects of the widening gap between
the "haves" and "have-nots" in global contexts.