ANTHROPOLOGY 288
ETHNOMEDICINE IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
Fall 2014


Instructor: Dr. Melanie Medeiros
Email: medeiros@geneseo.edu
Class Meeting Times: Mondays 4:00-6:30pm, Bailey 201.
Office hours (Bailey 106): Mondays 2:30-3:45pm
Wednesdays 2:30-4:15pm
- You may also email me to make an appointment (at least 3 days in advance).

COURSE DESCRIPTION
This course takes an anthropological approach to the study of "folk" and "traditional" health beliefs and
practices in Latin America and the Caribbean. It will focus on cross-cultural notions of the body,
health and illness, and healing practices. This course will also examine the effects of globalization
on local conceptions of health, illness, and approaches to healing.
Required Textbooks:
- Pamela Erickson. 2008. Ethnomedicine. Waveland Press, Inc.
- Rosita Arvigo. 1995. Sastun: My Apprenticeship with a Maya Healer. HarperOne.

ASSIGNMENTS
Detailed descriptions of all these assignments are available on the course website.
I. Required Reading [Complete before coming to class]
The reading and video/film assignments are mandatory. You should be prepared to discuss
these assignments in class and in their written assignments. The completion of all the reading
assignments is essential to receiving a good grade in this class.
II. Online Discussion Question Responses (DQRs), 30 points
You must answer all 10 discussion questions and post your responses (DQRs) to the myCourses
discussion board. You will be assigned to a discussion group and will post your responses under
your group’s discussion forum on myCourses. For example, if you are in Group One and
A Participatory Learning Environment
This course deals with extremely sensitive topics and material. Please be respectful of your classmates
-- listen with interest and be open to ideas and opinions that may differ from your own. Treat your
classmates just as you would like to be treated in classroom and online discussions. This class should
be a comfortable and open environment for you to learn, so please contribute to that environment.
Although this course already has objectives and a structure, I encourage your input on its direction.
Please email me if you have any particular topic you are interested in learning more about, an
assignment or project not listed in the syllabus that you would be interested in doing (to replace one
already listed), etc. I will do my best to accommodate student requests, but cannot guarantee that I
will be able to fulfill all of them.
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answering the discussion question assigned for Monday, September 9th, you would post your
response to 'Course Materials/Discussion Forums/Discussion Group 1/Discussion Question #1.'
Responses should be approximately 200 words, must demonstrate comprehension of the material,
cite examples and/or ideas from all the material covered in the reading assignments, and be wellwritten
(with no grammatical errors).
Grading Rubric for Discussion Question Responses (10 Responses, 0-30 points total)
• 3 Points = Excellent response: Meets all the requirements listed above and demonstrates
exceptional comprehension and application of the material.
• 2 Points = Very Good response: Meets all the requirements listed above.
• Point = Satisfactory response: Meets most of the requirements listed.
• 0 Points = Unsatisfactory response: Meets few of the requirements listed. Or no
response: Late posts will be given 0 points.
III. Online Group Discussion, 10 points
Every week you will read the Discussion Question Responses (DQRs) of your discussion group
members. Then you will write a discussion comment to contribute to their response
(approximately 100 word discussion comments for each group member's response). If a
classmate's DQR makes you consider the material in a new way or makes you think of new
examples then make sure to include that in your comments. Participation in online discussion is
required, and comments should be thoughtful and relevant responses to other students'
discussion question responses.
IV. Class Lecture Presentation, 10 points
Once in the semester you will be asked to "guest lecture" for a class. You will speak for 5
minutes on a topic that I assign to you. The topic will come from the assigned reading, but you
are expected to do some additional research to give the class more information. Power points
or handouts are not required but they are suggested. You will be graded on how well you
understand the material and the quality of your presentation. You will submit a copy of your
presentation notes, including citations for the information you gathered from outside of the text
book, to me at the beginning of class.
V. Exam I (9/29), 20 points
This exam will consist of short answer questions and multiple-choice questions. It will cover
material from classes 1-5.
VI. Book Review of Sastun (10/20) 15 points
This is a 2-3 page (1 inch margins, 12 point Times New Roman font, double spaced) book
review of the assigned text "Sastun," by Rosita Arvigo. See the assignment description on
myCourses for details.
VII. Exam II (11/17), 25 points
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This exam will consist of short answer questions and multiple choice questions. It will cover
material from classes 6-11.
VIII. Final Exam (12/15 From 6:45-9:45 pm), 30 points
This exam will consist of short answer questions, multiple-choice questions, and one essay
question. It will cover material from the entire course, with emphasis on material from classes
12-16.
IX. In-Class Attendance and Participation, 10 points
In order to succeed in this course you must participate in class discussion and class activities.
The use of Facebook and other social networking sites, playing games, viewing photos,
watching videos etc. is not permitted in this class. They are a distraction to both you and
the students around you.

COURSE GRADING POLICY
Standard Grade Curve:
Earning 141-150 points = A (94 - 100%)
Earning 135-140.99 points = A- (90 - 93.99%)
Earning 130.5 -134.99 points = B+ (87- 89.99%)
Earning 124.5- 130.49 points = B (83 - 86.99%)
Earning 120- 124.49 points = B- (80 - 82.99%)
Earning 115.5- 119.99 points = C+ (77 - 79.99%)
Earning 109.5- 115.49 points = C (73 - 76.99%)
Earning 102-109.49 points = C- (68 - 72.99%)
Earning 87-101.99 points = D (58 - 67.99%)
Earning 0-86.99 points = E (0 - 57.99%)
Plagiarism constitutes a violation of academic honesty and will be dealt with very strictly.
Plagiarism is the representation of someone else’s words or ideas as one’s own, or the arrangement of
someone else’s material(s) as one’s own. Such misrepresentation may be sufficient grounds for a
student’s receiving a grade of E for the paper or presentation involved or may result in an E being
assigned as the final grade for the course.
Any one of the following constitutes evidence of plagiarism:
1. direct quotation without identifying punctuation and citation of source;
2. paraphrase of expression or thought without proper attribution;
3. unacknowledged dependence upon a source in plan, organization, or argument.
You can read the college's academic dishonesty and plagiarism policy on-line at:
http://www.geneseo.edu/dean_office/dishonesty.
It is your responsibility to complete course requirements to pass this course. Please contact me if
you are having problems with the course assignments as soon as possible. I have office hours on
Mondays from 2:30-3:45pm and Wednesdays from 2:30-4:15pm. If you are not able to meet on those
days/times please email me to schedule an appointment for another time.
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Accommodations: SUNY Geneseo will make reasonable accommodations for persons with
documented physical, emotional, or cognitive disabilities. Accommodations will be made for medical
conditions related to pregnancy or parenting. Students should contact Dean Buggie-Hunt in the Office
of Disability Services (tbuggieh@geneseo.edu or 585-245-5112) and their faculty to discuss needed
accommodations as early as possible in the semester.
COURSE OUTLINE
PART 1: OVERVIEW OF ETHNOMEDICINE
Class 1) Monday, 8/25 Introduction to the Course & What is Ethnomedicine?
Class 2) Monday, 9/1 NO CLASS: LABOR DAY
Class 3) Monday, 9/8 Medical Systems and Their Historical Origins
- Read: (1) Erickson, P. Ethnomedicine. Ch. 1 & 2. pp. 5-33.
(2) Nichter, M. Introduction. In Anthropological Approaches to the Study of
Ethnomedicine. pp. ix-xvi.
(3) Kleinman et al. 2006. Culture, Illness, and Care: Clinical Lessons From
Anthropologic and Cross-Cultural Research. Focus 4(1): 140-149.
-Assignment: Answer Discussion Question #1 by 6pm on Sunday 9/7. Post comments to your
group members' discussion question responses by 1pm on Monday, 9/8.
Class 4) Monday, 9/15 Ethnophysiology & Local Biologies
- Read: (1) Erickson, P. Ethnomedicine. pg. 39 (starting at "Personalistic And Naturalistic") to
pg. 42 (ending at "Common Theories"). AND pg. 46 (starting at "Body Beliefs")
to pg. 49 (ending at "The Natural World).
(2) Bastien, Joseph W. 1985. Qollahuaya-Andean Body Concepts: A Topographicalhydraulic
Model of Physiology. American Anthropologist 87(3): 595-611.
(3) Sobo, Elisa Janine 1993. Ch. 2: The Jamaican Body. In One Blood: The Jamaican
Body. Albany: State University of New York Press. pp. 29-50.
(4) Brotherton, P.and V.K. Nguyen. 2013. Revisiting Local Biology in the Era of Global
Health. Medical Anthropology: Cross-cultural Studies in Health and Illness
32(4): 287-290.
-Assignment: Answer Discussion Question #2 by 6pm on Sunday 9/14. Post comments to your
group members' discussion question responses by 1pm on Monday, 9/15.
Class 5) Monday, 9/22 Theories of Disease Causation & Illness Categories in Latin
America
- Read: Erickson, P. Ethnomedicine. pg. 42 to pg. 46 (ending at Body Beliefs); pg. 49 (starting
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at "The Natural World") to pg. 71; pg. 73-78; pg. 92 (starting at "The Culture-
Bound Syndromes") to pg. 98
-Assignment: Answer Discussion Question #3 by 6pm on Sunday 9/21. Post comments to your
group members' discussion question responses by 1pm on Monday, 9/22.
PART 2: HEALTH & HEALING IN LATIN AMERICA
Class 6) Monday, 9/29 Spiritism, Santería and Voodooism
- Read: (1) Paulino, A. 1995. Spiritism, Santería, Brujería, and Voodooism: A Comparative
View of Indigenous Healing Systems. Journal of Teaching in Social Work
12(1/2): 105-122.
- Exam 1 (first half of class): Classes 1-5
Class 7) Monday, 10/6 Brazilian Spiritism: Candomblé and Umbanda
- Read: To be announced.
-Assignment: Answer Discussion Question #4 by 6pm on Sunday 10/5. Post comments to your
group members' discussion question responses by 1pm on Monday, 10/6.
Class 8) Monday, 10/13 NO CLASS
Class 9) Monday, 10/20 Curanderos/as
- Read: Arvigo, Rosita. 1994. Sastun. pgs. 1-181.
-Assignment: Book Review Due
Class 10) Monday, 10/27 Shamanism
- Read: To be announced.
-Assignment: Answer Discussion Question #5 by 6pm on Sunday 10/26. Post comments to your
group members' discussion question responses by 1pm on Monday, 10/27.
Class 11) Monday, 11/3 Cultural Syndromes
- Read: To be announced.
-Assignment: Answer Discussion Question #6 by 6pm on Sunday 11/2. Post comments to your
group members discussion question responses by 1pm on Monday, 11/3.
PART 3: GLOBALIZATION, MODERNITY & ETHNOMEDICINE
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Class 12) Monday, 11/10 Biomedicine & Medical Pluralism in Latin America
- Read: To be announced.
-Assignment: Answer Discussion Question #7 by 6pm on Sunday 11/9. Post comments to your
group members discussion question responses by 1pm on Monday, 11/10.
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Class 13) Monday, 11/17 Effects of Globalization on Ethnomedicine
- Read: To be announced.
- Exam #2: (first half of class) Classes 6-11
Class 14) Monday, 11/24 Ethnomedicine & the Ills of Modernity
- Read: To be announced.
- Assignment: Answer Discussion Question #8 by 6pm on Sunday 11/23. Post comments to
your group members discussion question responses by 1pm on Monday, 11/24.
Class 15) Monday, 12/1 Ethnomedicine in Latin communities in the U.S.
- Read: To be announced.
-Assignment: Answer Discussion Question #9 by 6pm on Sunday 11/30. Post comments to
your group members discussion question responses by 1pm on Monday, 12/1.
Class 16) Monday, 12/8 The Healing Lessons of Ethnomedicine
- Read: (1) Erickson, P. Ethnomedicine. Chapter 5, pp. 99-108.
(2) Nichter, M. 1992. Ethnomedicine: Diverse Trends, Common Linkages. In
Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Ethnomedicine. pp. 223-259.
-Assignment: Answer Discussion Question #10 by 6pm on Sunday 12/7. Post comments to
your group members discussion question responses by 1pm on Monday, 12/8.
- Review for Final Exam
The Final Exam is Monday, December 15th from 6:45pm to 9:45pm
NOTE: This syllabus is subject to change. Reading, film and written assignments
may be removed or added when the instructor believes it necessary for the course.