ANTH 302: MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY
Instructor: Melanie A. Medeiros
Class Meeting Times: Wednesdays and Fridays 11:30am-12:45pm
Office hours: Wednesdays and Fridays 10:00-11:30am
The purpose of this course is to examine challenges to women's health around the world and to understand how cultural, social, economic, political, environmental and behavioral factors affect it across cultures. We will use theories and methods from cultural anthropology and related social and health sciences to take a medical anthropological approach to this topic. This class will emphasize the importance of examining women's health concerns in local as well as global contexts. In the first two weeks of the course, we will define and identify challenges to women's health and well-being. We will study several different theoretical and methodological tools that scholars, policy-makers, and activists use to understand and address these challenges. In the remaining eleven weeks of the course, we will examine women's health across different life stages -- from birth, childhood and adolescence, through the reproductive years, to menopause and the aging process. We will address topics that are critical to the health of women and girls, such as: female genital cutting, reproductive health and family planning, maternal and infant health, women's infectious disease burden, mental and occupational health, violence against women, cosmetic surgery and body image, and menopause.
Detailed descriptions of all these assignments are available on the course website.
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 your written assignments. The completion of all the reading assignments is essential to receiving a good grade in this class.
In-Class Attendance and Participation
Your participation grade includes coming to class prepared to discuss the reading assignments, as well as preparation for and performance in in-class activities such as debates, small-group discussions, entire class discussions, presentations, etc. In order to succeed in this course you must participate in class discussions and class activities. Furthermore, if you miss more than 2 classes with unexcused absences, your participation grade in this course will be a zero. For an absence to be excused you must either receive advanced approval from the professor via email OR in the case of illness email the professor and then present a doctor’s note at the next class meeting. Approving an absence as excused is at the professor’s discretion.
Discussion Question Response Essays (DQRs)
You must answer all 12 weekly discussion questions and post your responses (DQRs) to the myCourses discussion board by 6am on the day of class. Your overall DQR grade will consist of two portions. The first is a basic did-you-or-did-you-not submit your post, does it demonstrate that you did the reading, and does it meet the length requirement (12% of your DQR grade). For the second portion of your grade, I will grade your post four times in the semester (88% of your DQR grade). Each week I will randomly select which posts I will grade. Late posts will be given a zero. See the assignment description on myCourses for a detailed description of the requirements for the DQRs.
Book Review [Due 3/4]
Select an ethnography on women’s health from the list of books at the end of the Inhorn article assigned for 1/22. If you find an ethnography that is not listed, please check with me to see if you can review that one instead. Read the ethnography and write a 5-page (1 inch margins, 12 point Times New Roman font, double spaced) book review. See the assignment description on myCourses for details.
Women’s Health Ethnographic Research Paper Due [Due 4/29]
You will write a 3,000-word paper (double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins) on the women’s health issue of your choice. As part of the ethnographic portion of the paper, you will conduct interviews with at least 1 woman whose life has been affected by the health issue you are studying. The description and details of this assignment are available in the file "Paper Assignment Description" at myCourses/Course Materials/Assignment Descriptions/]. I suggest you read this description ASAP to begin research for this paper. For your Research Paper, you will submit a 200-word proposal (Due 3/9) stating 1) your specific research topic, 2) at least five pieces of scholarly literature you will be using and citing in your paper, 3) a description of the person you plan on interviewing and why you selected them, 4) and interview questions.
Group Problem-Solving Activity [During the Final Exam Period, Tuesday May 10th from 12:00pm-1:30pm] 5%
Attend an approved (by the professor) film viewing, play, or speaker presentation and write a 1 page (single-spaced, 1 inch margins, 12 point Times New Roman font) describing the content of the film/play/talk and how it relates to themes from the course. The response essay is due 1 week after the event via email. You may receive up to 1 percentage point of extra credit for each essay. Students can receive a maximum of 2 extra percentage points on their final course grade.
Assignments must be completed by the start of class on the due date. Late assignments will be marked down one letter grade for each day late (day= 5 minutes past the start of class on the due date). 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.
COURSE GRADING POLICY
Attendance and Participation: 10%
Online Discussion Question Responses: 45%
Book Review: 15%
Medical Ethnography: 25%
Group Problem Solving Activity: 5%
Standard Grade Curve:
A (94-100%): Exceptional work: Meets all the course requirements and demonstrates exceptional comprehension and application of the material; also demonstrates strong writing, analytical and communication skills.
A – (90-93.99%): Excellent work: Meets all the course requirements and demonstrates excellent comprehension and application of the material; also demonstrates strong writing, analytical and communication skills.
B+ (87-89.99%): Great work: Meets all the course requirements and demonstrates very good comprehension and application of the material; also demonstrates adequate writing, analytical and communication skills.
B (83-86.99%): Very good work: Meets all the course requirements and demonstrates good comprehension and application of the material; also demonstrates adequate writing, analytical and communication skills.
B- (80-82.99%): Good work: Meets all the course requirements and demonstrates good comprehension of the material.
C+ (77-79.99%): Satisfactory work: Meets all course requirements and demonstrates comprehension of the material
C (73-76.99%): Fairly satisfactory work: Meets all course requirements.
C- (70-72.99%): Work demonstrating minimal competence: Meets some, but not all the course requirements.
D (65-69.99%): Marginal work: Meets few of the course requirements.
E (0-64.9%): Inadequate work: Does not meet course requirements.
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org or 585-245-5112) and their faculty to discuss needed accommodations as early as possible in the semester.
I respond to emails Monday through Friday within approximately 12 hours of receiving the email. I respond less quickly to emails sent during the weekends. Please plan accordingly. Please use proper email etiquette: address the email Dear or Hello Professor/Dr. Medeiros, and sign your name at the end of the email.
LAPTOP / TABLET / CELL PHONE POLICY
In this class, the use of cell phones is prohibited. Phones should not be out on students’ desks or laps. If a student is witnessed using their cell phone or it visible, they will be considered absent for that class. The use of Facebook, You Tube, Vimeo and other media that does not pertain to this class is prohibited as well.
INTRODUCTION: DEFINING AND EXAMINING WOMEN'S HEALTH
Class 1) Wednesday, 1/20 Introduction to the Course
Class 2) Friday, 1/22 Defining Women's Health
- Read: Marcia C. Inhorn. Defining Women's Health: A Dozen Messages from More than 150 Ethnographies. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 20(3): 345-367.
Class 3) Wednesday, 1/27 Social Determinants of Women's Health
- Read: (1) Wuest et al. 2002. Illuminating Social Determinants of Women's Health Using Grounded Theory. Health Care for Women International 23: 794-807.
(2) Krieger, N. 2005 Embodiment: A Conceptual Glossary for Epidemiology. Journal of Epidemiology Community Health 59:350-355.
- Assignment: Answer discussion question #1 & post your response (DQR) to the course online discussion board
Class 4) Friday, 1/29 The Intersection of Race, Class, and Gender in Women’s Health
- Read: Amy J. Schulz and Leith Mullings. 2006. Intersectionality and Health: An Introduction. In Gender, Race, Class and Health: Intersectional Approaches. ch.1.
CHILDHOOD AND COMING OF AGE
Class 5) Wednesday, 2/3 The Birth of Girl Babies
- Read: Das Gupta, M., et al. 2003. Why is Son Preference So Persistent in East and South Asia? A Cross-country Study of China, India and the Republic of Korea. Journal of Development Studies 40(2): 153-182.
- Assignment: Answer discussion question #2 & post your response (DQR) to the course online discussion board
Class 6) Friday, 2/5 The Female Genital Cutting Debate
- Read: (1) Carla Makhlouf Obermeyer. 1999. Female Genital Surgeries: The Known, the Unknown, and the Unknowable. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 13(1): 79-97.
(2) Gerry Mackie. 2003. Female Genital Cutting: A Harmless Practice? Medical Anthropology Quarterly 17(2): 135-154.
-Assignment: To prepare for in-class debate take notes supporting both sides of the arguments Obermeyer and Mackie are making. Create arguments and counter-arguments.
Class 7) Wednesday, 2/10 Menstruation As a Cultural Right of Passage
- Read: Akin, D. 2003. Concealment, Confession, and Innovation in Kwaio Women's Taboos. American Ethnologist 30(3): 381-398.
- Assignment: Answer discussion question #3 & post your response (DQR) to the course online discussion board
CANCER & RISK
Class 8) Friday, 2/12 Cancer & Risk Discourse
- Read: (1) Lupton, Deborah. 1993. Risk As Moral Danger: The Social and Political Functions of Risk Discourse in Public Health. International Journal of Health Services. 23:3, 425-432.
(2) Press, N., J.R.Fishman, B.A. Koenig. 2000. Collective Fear, Individualized risk: The Social and Cultural Context of Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer. Nursing Ethics 7:3, pgs. 237-247.
Class 9) Wednesday, 2/17 Breast Cancer
- Read: (1) Margaret Lock. 2005. Breast Cancer: Reading the Omens. In Health and Healing in Comparative Perspective, Elizabeth D. Whitaker, ed. Ch. 28.
(2) Patricia Kaufert. 1998. Women, Resistance and the Breast Cancer Movement. In Pragmatic Women and Body Politics. Margaret Lock and Patricia Kaufert, eds. Cambridge U Press, 287-308.
- Assignment: Answer discussion question #4 and post your response to the course online discussion board
INFECTIOUS DISEASE, REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH & FAMILY PLANNING
Class 10) Friday, 2/19 Women & Tropical Diseases
- Read: (1) Bates, I., et al. 2004 Vulnerability to malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS infection and disease. Part 1: determinants operating at individual and household level. Lancet Infectious Diseases 4(5): 267-277.
(2) Rathgeber E, Vlassoff C. 1993. Gender and Tropical Diseases - A New Research Focus. Social Science & Medicine 37(4): 513-520.
Class 11) Wednesday, 2/24 Agency & Choice in Family Planning
- Read: (1) Castle, S. 2003. Factors Influencing Young Malians Use of Hormonal Contraceptives. Studies in Family Planning 343(3): 186-197.
(2) O’Dougherty, M. 2008. Lia Won’t: Agency in the Retrospective Pregnancy Narratives of Low-Income Brazilian Women. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 415–437.
- Assignment: Answer discussion question #5 & post your response (DQR) to the course online discussion board.
Class 12) Friday, 2/26 Men's Roles in Reproductive Health Decision-making
- Read: Dudgeon MR and Inhorn MC. 2004. Men’s Influence on Women’s Reproductive Health: Medical Anthropological Perspectives. Social Science and Medicine 59:1379-1390.
Class 13) Wednesday, 3/2 Guest Lecture with Dr. Jennifer Hirsch
- Read: TBD
- Assignment: Answer discussion question #6 & post your response (DQR) to the course online discussion board
Class 14) Friday, 3/4 Women and HIV/AIDS
- Read: (1) Gilbert L, Walker L. 2002. Treading the Path of Least Resistance: HIV/AIDS and Social Inequalities – a South African Case Study. Social Science & Medicine 54(7): 1093-1110.
(2) Kaler, A. 2001. “It’s Some Kind of Women’s Empowerment”: The Ambiguity of the Female Condom as a Marker of Female Empowerment. Social Science & Medicine 52(5): 783-796.
-Watch At Home Before Class: "ENDGAME: AIDS in Black America." 2012. PBS Frontline (110min).
[Stream here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/endgame-aids-in-black-america/ ].
Class 15) Wednesday, 3/9 Student Meetings to Discuss Research Proposals
- Assignment: Ethnographic Research Paper Proposal Due: Submit a printed 200-word proposal stating 1) your specific research topic, 2) at least five pieces of scholarly literature you will be using and citing in your paper, 3) a description of the person you plan on interviewing and why you selected them, 4) your interview questions.
- Assignment: Answer discussion question #7 & post your response (DQR) to the course online discussion board.
Class 16) Friday, 3/11 TBD
MATERNAL HEALTH: PREGNANCY, CHILDBIRTH & BREAST FEEDING
Class 17) Wednesday, 3/23 Pregnancy
- Read: (1) Hobel, C. and J. Culhane. 2003. Role of Psychosocial and Nutritional Stress on Poor Pregnancy Outcome. Journal of Nutrition 133: S1709-1717.
(2) Kirsten D. Senturia. 1997. A Woman's Work Is Never Done: Women's Work and Pregnancy Outcomes in Albania. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 11(3): 375- 391.
- In-Class Video: “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making us Sick? Episode 2: When the Bough Breaks: How Racism Impacts Pregnancy Outcomes.” (29 minutes). 2008. California Newsreel.
- Ethnography Book Review Due
Class 18) Friday, 3/25 Cultural Dimensions of Miscarriage and Stillbirth
- Read: (1) Layne, L. 1990. Motherhood Lost: Cultural Dimensions of Miscarriage and Stillbirth in America. Women and Health 16(3): 69-90.
(2) Erica van der Sijpt and Catrien Notermans. 2010. Perils to Pregnancies: On Social Sorrows and Strategies Surrounding Pregnancy Loss in Cameroon. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 24 (3): 381-394.
Class 19) Wednesday, 3/30 Childbirth
- Read: (1) Melissa Cheyney. 2011. Reinscribing the Birthing Body: Homebirth as Ritual Performance. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 25(4): 519-537.
(2) Margaret Macdonald. Gender Expectations: Natural Bodies and Natural Births in the New Midwifery in Canada. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 20(2): 235-251.
- Watch At Home Before Class: “The Business of Being Born.” 2005. Dir. Abby Epstein (87 minutes). [Stream Here: http://ed.ted.com/on/xcupyoxH ].
- Assignment: Answer discussion question #8 & post your response (DQR) to the course online discussion board.
Class 20) Friday, 4/1 Breastfeeding
- Read: (1) Van Esterik, P. 2002 Contemporary Trends in Infant Feeding Research. Annual Review of Anthropology 31257-31273.
(2) Gottschang, S. Z. 2007. Maternal Bodies, Breast-feeding, and Consumer Desire in Urban China. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 21(1): 64-79.
CHALLENGES TO WOMENS HEALTH & WELL-BEING
Class 21) Wednesday, 4/6 Occupational Health
(1) Entire Class: Read pages iii-v; 1-7; 9-14; 23-29, 30-35, 41-48 In Women and Occupational Health: Issues and Policy Paper Prepared for the Global Commission on Women's Health, Penny Kane ed.
(2) Group Reading:
- Assignment: Take detailed notes on your group reading assignment. At the beginning of class your group will have 15 minutes to meet and decide what the main issues and points of your reading assignment are. You will then have 10 minutes to present and explain those points to the class. This is part of your course participation grade.
- Assignment: Answer discussion question #9 & post your response (DQR) to the course online discussion board.
Class 22) Friday, 4/8 Violence Against Women
- Read: (1) Jewkes, R. 2002. Violence Against Women III: Intimate Partner Violence: Causes and Preventions. The Lancet 359:1423-1428.
(2) Maria B. Olujic. 2005. Embodiment of Terror: Gendered Violence in Peacetime and Wartime in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In Health and Healing in Comparative Perspective, Elizabeth D. Whitaker, ed. 2005, ch. 35.
Class 23) Wednesday, 4/13 Mental Health
- Read: (1) Patel V, and Kleinman A. 2003. Poverty and common mental disorders in developing countries. World Health Organization Bulletin 81(8):609-15.
- Assignment: Answer discussion question #10 & post your response (DQR) to course online discussion board.
INDIVIDUAL BODIES, SOCIAL BODIES
Class 24) Friday, 4/15 Individual Bodies, Social Bodies
- Read: Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Margaret Lock. 1987. The Mindful Body: A Prolegomenon to Future Work in Medical Anthropology. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 1(1): 6-41.
Class 25) Wednesday, 4/20 Transitioning Sexes
- Read: TBD
- Assignment: Answer discussion question #11 & post your response (DQR) to course online discussion board.
Class 26) Friday, 4/22 Manipulating the Body: Cosmetic Surgery
- Read: (1) Kaw, Eugenia. 1993. “Medicalization of Racial Features: Asian American Women and Cosmetic Surgery.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly. 7(3):74-87.
(2) Edmonds, Alexander. 2013. Can Medicine Be Aesthetic?: Disentangling Beauty and Health in Elective Surgery. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 27(2): 233-252.
Class 27) Wednesday, 4/27 Social Relations & Body Image in the U.S.: “Fat Talk”
- Read: (1) Nichter, Mimi. 2001. Chapter Two: Fat Talk. In Fat Talk: What Girls and Their Parents Say About Dieting. Pages 45-67.
(2) “Girl You Are So Not Fat”: Does Fat Talk Make Anyone Feel Better? [http://healthland.time.com/2011/03/31/girl-you-are-so-not-fat-does-fat-talk-make-anyone-feel-better/]
(3) “Female Fat Talk Socially Mandatory” [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17600911/ns/health-womens_health/t/female-fat-talk-socially-mandatory-study-finds/]
(4) “What ‘Fat Talk’ Does for Your Body Image” [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/19/fat-talk_n_927385.html]
- Assignment: Answer discussion question #12 & post your response (DQR) to course online discussion board.
Class 28) Friday, 4/29 Cross-cultural Perspectives on Menopause
- Read: Margaret Lock. 2005. Menopause: Lessons from Anthropology. In Health and Healing in Comparative Perspective Reader, Elizabeth D. Whitaker, ed. ch.2.
- Women’s Health Ethnographic Research Paper Due [with the interview guide and logs attached]
Class 29) Final Exam Period: Tuesday, May 10th from 12:00-2:30pm
- Women's Health Policy & Action
- Read: Ravindran and Kelkar-khambete. Gender Mainstreaming in Health: The Emperor's New Clothes? 2010. In Gender Equity in Health: The Shifting Frontiers of Evidence and Action. Sen and Östlin , eds. ch. 10.
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.