Welles 24

Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:30 – 3:15



Instructor: Professor Rose-Marie Chierici

Office hours: Tuesday and Thursday: 9:00-9:30; Wednesday 11:00-12:00 and 1:00-2:00, or at other times by appointment

Office: Sturges 13, ext. 5818



Teaching Assistants:

Madelyn Sayed <

Dalya Kefi

Amanda Gray


Before asking a group of people to assume new health habits…, it is wise to ascertain the existing habits, how these habits are linked to one another… and what they mean to those who practice them

Benjamin Paul, 1955



Globalization can be defined as the complex web of social relationships, cultural and economic exchanges created by the flow of capital, people, and ideologies across national borders. This course examines the effects of globalization on the health of people around the globe  --in the developing world as well as in more affluent Western nations-- and relates disparities in the spread of preventable and chronic diseases and access to basic health services to the growing inequality between rich and poor nations and rich and poor within particular countries. The readings will highlight that uneven distribution of health resources eventually leads to health problems that cut across national, ethnic, gender, and social class divisions. Some of the topics to be covered in readings and class discussions include: ethical, economic and social repercussions of the HIV/AIDS pandemic; the emergence and impact of new illnesses and epidemics; the feminization of poverty and its effects on the health of children across the globe; the impact of social, cultural and economic stigma on access and utilization of health care; the relationship between political repression and violence; labor migration and the status and health of refugee populations. The theoretical perspective used to analyze these issues draws on the work of medical and public anthropologists as well as the literature on globalization, public health, race, ethnic and gender politics as well as the effects of stigma on health and health care.


This course stresses an experiential and collaborative approach, meaning that you the students are active partners in the learning process. You will work individually and in teams. Team work consists of evaluating the readings, sharing insights with your partners, and leading a discussion session. Teams will also research a topic related to the course and present their findings at GREAT Day.


Since this is a discussion-based class, your input is vital to the success of the semester. Please come to class having completed all assignments and ready to participate in discussions. Do not hesitate to share your insights and ask questions. Rest assured that all contributions are valuable and that your views will be respected.


  • Students will learn and demonstrate their knowledge of the content of the study of global health issues and the effects of globalization on the health of people across the globe by writing essays based on readings, lectures and individual research.
  • Students will be able to analyze and critically evaluate studies of health related issues using an approach based on Critical Medical Anthropology in essays that draw on readings, lectures, and individual research project. They will further demonstrate these skills in an oral presentation of their own research projects and by leading a class discussion of their topic.
  • Students will understand theoretical perspectives of Critical Medical Anthropology in essays drawn from readings, lectures and an individual research projects.
  • Students will demonstrate critical thinking in their evaluation of the relevance of Medical Anthropology relative to other models of Cultural Anthropology in essays drawn from readings, lectures and individual research projects.
  • Students will demonstrate oral competency, library skills and writing skills relative to the study of Medical Anthropology in the presentation, discussion and classroom defense of their research projects.



Svea Closser. Chasing Polio In Pakistan Why The World's Largest Public Health Initiative May Fail. Vanderbilt University Press. 2010. ISBN: 9780826517098


Seth Holmes. Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers In The United States. University of California Press. 2013. ISBN: 9780520954793


Merrill Singer and Pamela I. Erickson. Global Health : An Anthropological Perspective. Waveland Press. 2013. ISBN: 9781577669067


Claire Wendland. A Heart For The Work: Journeys Through An African Medical School
University of Chicago Press. 2011. ISBN: 9780226893273


Additional readings can be accessed on myCourses.



Grades will be computed in the following way:

  • two reaction papers (4pp.) worth 20% each (40%),
  • team research project 20%
  • student–led class discussions 10%,
  • final 15%,
  • journal postings 10%
  • class participation 5%



  • Reaction papers are short essays, max. 4 pp., which analyze critically an aspect of the readings. Two reaction papers are scheduled this semester, each after a set of readings about a particular topic. For your reaction paper: choose an issue that you find interesting/compelling and compare how the authors examine this issue in the class readings and add an additional perspective from your own research, making sure that your paper includes cross-cultural comparisons. You will need at least two additional sources. As you start your paper, keep the following questions in mind: Why do you find the issue significant? Why is it important/significant in the context of global health?
  •  Student-led discussions are an interesting tool which gives you the student the opportunity to highlight your own perspectives on a particular reading. This is a team-based exercise. Important: On the day you are assigned to lead a discussion, your team should come prepared with: 1) a brief summary/explanation of the reading which highlights a specific aspect of the author’s discussion and why you find this issue of interest in the context of this class. Why is this issue relevant? Can you link it to a particular theoretical perspective? To other readings? 2) Prepare a few questions and comments to engage us in exploring these ideas. Our class TAs and I are available to meet with you before your scheduled presentation if you wish to discuss some ideas. Each team will be assigned a 20 min slot at the beginning of the semester. 3) Drop an annotated bibliography and discussion outline by 8:00 am on the day of your presentation in the folder marked “Student Led Discussions” in the Course Materials section of myCourses. 4) Each team should meet with Librarian Kim Hoffman one week before your scheduled discussion session.
  • Group Research Project: A semester long research project on a topic of your choice. This will be discussed thoroughly in class and our teaching team—myself, Research Librarian Kim Hoffman, and class TAs, will assist you as you make your decisions. This project represents a significant component of your final grade so prepare accordingly. We will have a list of possible topics in the folder marked “Poster Session” in the Course Material section of myCourses.
  • The Final is also a group effort and will consist of a formal presentation of your group project.
  • A minimum of 10 entries consisting of thoughtful short interpretations/analyses of the week's reading, films or discussions. We expect entries to be at least 150 words; be well-written; and represent a thoughtful evaluation of the material. Post these assignments weekly in the folder entitled "Weekly Comments” in myCourses".
  • The class participation portion of your grade reflects how engaged you are in class and how you keep up with the readings. Come to class prepared to participate in discussions.
  • Extra credit: you can earn two extra points on your final grade by completing four of the following choices and writing a 200 words summary for each: attend programs related to the course, visit a health center which provides care to minorities or immigrants, interview a care provider about their perspective on global health concerns, or interview an immigrant about their health beliefs. If you have other suggestions, discuss them with the TAs or I first. Post your entries in the appropriate folder on myCourses by the last day of classes. No partial credits!


Please note: all assignments are due on the date indicated on the syllabus. There will be a penalty for late assignments.

  • We will follow the plagiarism policy outlined in the College bulletin; please review it.
  • You need to cite all sources of information used in your assignments. Failure to do so will be considered as plagiarism and result in lower grades or even failing the assignment. For more information, consult the Geneseo Citing Guide
  • This is a 300 level discussion-based seminar therefore I expect that you will come to class prepared, complete all assignments on time, and attend classes regularly.






Week One       

1/21                 INTRODUCTION

                        Objectives and expectations

                        What is Anthropology?

                        Relevant anthropological perspectives and paradigms






                        Reading: Singer and Erickson, Global Health (GH), chapter 1.

And the following article:

Sachs, “The Voiceless Dying: Africa and Disease” (eRes)


                        Discussion: Define Global Health.

                        Globalizing health/Westernizing healthcare


Week Two      


                        Reading: GH, chapter 2 and 3 (in chapter 3, pay particular attention to pp. 51-61.  

                        Declaration of Alma Ata:          



                        Reading: Inge Kaul et al, “Health as a Global Public Good”


                        Student discussion:


Week Three    



                        Reading: Farmer, in Pathologies of Power, Part 1 “Bearing Witness”


                        Class discussion: Identify and come prepared to discuss themes covered so far. What questions do you have? What are the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches?


                        Student discussion:


2/6                   Each group will be assigned one of the following articles. Read and discuss your article and relate it to the previous readings. Summarize your discussion and be prepared to present a synopsis of the article and of your interpretations.



                        Group 1: “Rise in Unprotected Sex by Gay Men Spurs HIV Fears”:

                        Group 2: “Poor Black and Hispanic Men are the Face of HIV”:

                        Group 3: “Hispanic Pregnancies Fall in U.S. as Women Choose Smaller Families”                                            

Group 4: China: Survey Reveals a Growing Number of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Cases”:

                        Group 5: “Spread of Malaria Feared as Drug Loses Potency”:

Group 6: “Tackling a Racial Gap in breast Cancer Survival”
Group 7: “Uganda Fights Stigma and Poverty to Take on Breast Cancer”

            Film: start watching film Dallas Buyers‘ Club             

                        You will finish watching the film on your own.

                        Assignment: Write a short review of the film which includes a comparison with a published review. Post on myCourses in the folder Weekly Individual Entries; this will count as one of the weekly entries.



2/11                 Reading: Singer, ch 4 and Khanna, Sunil, Anthropological Approaches for Understanding the Global Food Crisis (eRes)


2/13                 Reading: Nancy Scheper-Hughes, “Death without Weeping”


                        Student discussion


Week Five      

2/18                 Reading: Holmes, Fresh Fruits, Broken Bodies



2/20                 Reading: Holmes, Fresh Fruits, Broken Bodies


                        Student discussion


                        ***First reaction paper is due 3/11 and should address readings covered until 2/27.


Week Six        

2/25                 Reading: Reading: Holmes, Fresh Fruits, Broken Bodies


                        Student discussion:




2/27                 Reading: something on refugees and humanitarian assistance


                        Discussion: This section of the course raised important questions about health, social justice, and the meaning of suffering. What are the themes you take away from these discussions? Summarize your thoughts and come prepared to address them.


Week Seven    

3/4                   PUBLIC HEALTH INITIATIVES

                        Reading: Closser: Chasing Polio in Pakistan



3/6                   Reading: Closser: Chasing Polio in Pakistan                    

                         ** First essay is due today.



Week Eight     

3/11                 Reading: Closser: Chasing Polio in Pakistan

                        Student discussion


3/13                 Updates on the situation in areas where polio is still an issue:  

                        Polio Epidemic in Conflict Ridden Syria. NBC Nightly News, Oct 30, 2013


                        NYT 1/9/14 successful vaccination campaign in Syria: polio Vaccination Effort in Syria Appears to Have Some effects pieces in NYT on recent killings of polio vaccination workers in Pakistan


Guinea worm eradication


Student discussion


Week Nine      


                        SPRING BREAK




FINAL: Presentation of Research Projects

Wednesday May 14