Anthropology | Culture Health and Illness
E260 | 14138 | Quintana

Why do people in some cultures suffer illnesses caused by fear,
nerves, and the evil eye, and what cures exist? Why are young women
(and men) in the U.S. so weight-conscious? Who are shamans, and what
roles do they play across cultures? What is behind the Viagra
phenomenon? What can be done about the AIDS pandemic?

We will explore these questions and many more in this course. The
meanings of “health” and “illness”, and the experience of one’s body,
are often taken for granted. However, our ideas 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. They will become attuned to the politics of wellness
and disease by considering the global inequalities of health and
health care.