Folklore | From Vodou to Viagra: Health in American Vernacular Culture
F351 | 27204 | Livesay

Health care in America is a complex, often uneasy mix of competing
systems, and our choices often have as much to do with our beliefs
and experiences as with cost and insurance coverage.  This class
will explore the range of healing traditions in North America,
including folk traditions often embedded in immigrant communities,
such as Vodou, Santeria, and Hmong shamanism; and choices presented
by popular culture such as New Age therapies, herbal remedies, and
the ever-present media invitation to try a new prescription drug.
We will explore the role of folk genres such as legend in our
assessment of risk.  We will also consider Western medicine as a
cultural system, and vernacular responses to the medical hegemony in
the homebirth movement and in alternative therapies.  Students will
be encouraged to bring their own beliefs and experiences to the mix
through short, exploratory writing assignments and discussions.
Fulfills COAS Arts and Humanities, CSA