Course Topics

ANTH 101 B: Cultural Anthropology

A study in what it means to be human, this course uses the concept of culture to account for the tremendous variety of practices and beliefs throughout the world. Students will also examine patterns in human behavior, addressing cultural similarities as well as cultural differences. Course content provides insight into how cultural anthropologists do what they do - what methods they use to study culture and what ethical issues they may encounter while doing so. Students will be expected to engage some of these anthropological methods through completion of an ethnographic research project over the course of the semester.

WGST 130 A: Intro to Woman and Gender Studies

The course combines a cross-cultural survey of gender diversity with a history of gender studies, emphasizing the key theories, case studies, and social, economic and political climates. Students will explore variations in gender systems, focusing on other cultures to better understand their own. The primary goal is to develop a set of scholarly tools that render gender a useful category of social analysis.

ANTH 239 A: South Africa: Culture & Healing

This course will explore the culture of medicine in South Africa, examining both the African traditionalist and "western" understandings of medicine. We will discover how medical knowledge and practices are constructed culturally, and how social forces are reflected in ill health. How do politics, economics, and history influence the distribution of disease? What are the issues in international health that we learn from South African context? Beyond this, we will examine gender issues and ethical implications of the treatment of diseases such as HIV/AIDS. South Africa has one of the most advanced biomedical treatment systems in Africa, yet black South Africans consult traditional healers more often than they do doctors. Traditional healers are overwhelmingly female. How does the medical establishment of South Africa attempt to cooperate with and incorporate traditional healers into treatment regimens? How do traditional healers understand their encounters with westernized medicine? Do they have negotiating power, and what are the repercussions for patients who are treated by a system that does not easily fit into their understanding of disease? We will be visiting hospitals, clinics and treatment centers as well as treatment sites of ethnomedical practitioners. A large part of the course will involve working with patients and staff as well as with traditional practice. Crosslisted with WGST 239.

ANTH 208 A: Medical Anthropology

This course explores health, illness, disease and medicine across the globe. Using anthropological principles, we explore interactions between various ethnomedical systems, including biomedicine; healers, healing professions and the production of medical knowledge; ideologies of the body; beginnings and ends of life; the role of new biomedical technologies and the pharmaceutical industry; the social construction of dis-ease and disability; political and moral economics of health in the global context, among other topics. We will discover how medical knowledge and practices are constructed culturally. We will also learn to recognize how transnational exchanges of people, goods, ideas and capital influence our health and healing practices. Our course will focus on some key texts in medical anthropology theory as well as new ethnographies that address intercultural encounters in medical settings.

WGST 331 A: Gender and Reproduction

This course will delve into interdisciplinary research that looks at society through the lens of biological reproduction. We will explore human reproductive behaviors cross-culturally, which will challenge us to understand tenacious assumptions that underline our reproductive decision-making and gender constructions. Topics will include: beginnings of life and meaningful personhood; "successful" and "failed" reproduction; new reproductive technologies; fertility control and regulation; sexual behaviors; broadened understanding of family and kinship; pregnancy, birth, consumption and authoritative knowledge; parenthood and infant care practices.