Health, Culture, and Society
(Nutrition, Disease, and Health)
SUNY College at Geneseo
Instructor: Kristi J. Krumrine
Office: Bailey 147
Phone: (585) 281.3821 (cell)
(585) 245.5043 (office)
Office Hrs: MF 1-2:30 or by appointment
Description and Objectives
This course explores health and medical issues from a biocultural, ecological and interdisciplinary perspective, highlighting the diverse ways in which different cultures deal with and are affected by illness and disease. These issues are central to medical anthropology, a fast-growing subfield of anthropology. The main topics include the evolution of illness and disease, methods used to collect data, nutrition, growth, infectious disease and the effects of globalization, environmental degradation, ethnicity, political policies and war on disease transmission and treatment. Course material will be presented through lecture, films, and group presentations, and processed in class discussions, including online discussion forums.
Social Science Core
This course fulfills one course in the social science and one course in the multicultural general education requirements. The guidelines for social science core courses stress the development of the following characteristics of a responsible member of society:
• an acquaintance with major empirical, analytical, or theoretical approaches to human behavior, institutions or culture;
• an acquaintance with social, economic, political, or moral alternatives;
• an acquaintance with major problems, issues, institutions, practices or trends in the social world;
• a capacity to express ideas clearly, coherently and grammatically in written form as one component of the evaluation process. This written work must total at least 1500 words, at least half of which must be prepared outside of class.
Dettwyler (1994) Dancing Skeletons: Life and Death in West Africa. Waveland Press.
Hewlett and Hewlett (2008) Ebola, Culture, and Politics: The Anthropology of an Emerging Disease. Wadsworth.
Exams: There will be 2 exams in this course, each worth 25% of the final grade. The exams will cover lectures, readings and films and will emphasize your conceptual grasp of the course material. A final essay worth 25 pts will be completed on the day of the final examination. All exams must be taken at the scheduled time. Due dates are outlined below.
Weekly Discussions: Students will be assigned to teams within which discussions of assigned readings will be conducted. Discussions will be conducted both in class and online. 10 weekly discussion forum posts (within mycourses) will be worth a total of 20% of the final grade (10 pts each week, totaling 100 pts). Posts will be responses to questions given by the instructor- students are required to contribute a minimum of 250 words to these posts AND at least one response to another student’s post to get full credit. Most weeks, the discussion questions will be posted on Friday and will be due by class time (11:30) the following Friday. The forums will be set to close at that time and will not accept late posts.
Presentation: Working in groups of 3, students are required to choose a research topic of their choice and present their findings in an in-class presentation. Presentations should be approximately 30 minutes in duration and should include visual aides, such as PowerPoint. An additional 5 minutes of question/answer will follow. The presentation should include a works cited slide, in-text citations, and any images used should also be referenced (you can include a small caption under each image with the author, year and page number). The presentation grade comprises 20% of the total course requirements. A minimum of 15 bibliographic sources (3 of which may be from the internet) must be used. Students are required to submit both a rough draft (October) and final (November) annotated bibliography. All students MUST contribute equally to the project; please let me know ASAP if you feel that your partners are not putting in equal time. A detailed description of the assignment will be posted.
Peer Reviews: The remaining components of the final grade include completing peer review sheets for fellow student presentations and the final essay (worth 5% of the final grade). Peer review sheets will be completed and submitted by the end of the day of the presentation (midnight) in order to get full credit and the final essay will be given during the final exam time slot.
Academic Honesty Policy
Plagiarism, cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Please refer to the Undergraduate Bulletin (pgs. 373-375) regarding SUNY Geneseo policies (available through the college webpage).
Course requirements and important dates:
Exam #1 125 10/19
#2 125 11/23
Weekly Discussion 100
Presentation 100 TBA
Peer Reviews 25 12/4-12/17
Final Essay 25 12/17
* The second column represents the points each assignment is worth out of a total of 500 possible points for the course.
Weekly Schedule and Reading Assignments
Reading assignments are meant to reinforce and compliment the class lectures, images, and discussions and in no way replace them. Consequently, your regular attendance is essential for understanding class topics. I will take attendance before class, for my own records, and will take attendance into consideration when determining border-line grades. Keeping current with the reading assignments will make it easier to study for exams and facilitate class discussions. * Additional readings are available on mycourses ** Students are responsible for any changes in the syllabus that are announced in class.
Week 1 8/31-9/4 Course Overview/ Intro to Medical Anthropology
Read: Fadiman; Dettwyler Ch. 1
Film: “The Split Horn: A Hmong Shaman in America”
Week 2 9/7 Labor Day- no class
9/11 Biocultural Research Methods
Read: Bhattacharyya; Anderson; Dettwyler Ch. 2
Discussion questions #1
Week 3 9/14-18 Evolution, Health and Medicine
Read: Eaton et al.; Oliwenstein; Dufour and Bender; Dettwyler Ch. 3
Discussion questions #2
Week 4 9/21-25 Diet and Nutrition
Read: Crooks; Blum et al.; Brenton; Dettwyler Ch. 4
Discussion questions #3
Week 5 9/28 Food Security
Read: Himmelgreen et al.
10/2 Reproductive Health
Read: Dettwyler Ch. 5-7
Film: “All My Babies”
Discussion questions #4
Week 6 10/5 Research work day
10/9 Growth and Development
Read: Small; Scheper-Hughes; Dettwyler Ch. 8-10
Discussion questions #5
Week 7 10/12 Fall break- have fun!
10/16 Growth and Development, con’d
Read: Dettwyler Ch. 11-13; 16
Week 8 10/19 Exam #1
10/23 Growth and Development, cont’d
Read: Leatherman and Goodman; Hewlett and Hewlett
Week 9 10/26-30 Infectious Disease: Historic Pathogens and
Read: Sharpe; McClain; Hewlett and Hewlett Ch. 3-4
Film: “The Plague Fighters”
Week 10 11/2-6 Infectious Disease: Globalization and Emerging
Read: Mull; Farmer; Hewlett and Hewlett Ch. 5-6
Week 11 11/9 Health and Environment
Read: Davis; Goodyear
11/13 Race, Ethnicity & Class
Read: Harrison; Hewlett and Hewlett Ch. 7-8
Week 12 11/16 Race, Ethnicity & Class, cont’d
Read: Gravlee and Sweet
11/20 Mass Disasters, War and Health
Read: Prinzo and de Benoist; Hewlett and Hewlett Ch. 9
Week 13 11/23 Exam #2
11/27 Happy Thanksgiving Break!
Week 14 11/30 Mass Disasters
Guest lecture: TBA
12/4 Student Presentations
Week 15 12/7-11 Student Presentations
Week 16 12/14 Student Presentations
12/17 Student Presentations and Final Essay, 8-11am