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Cluster Courses in Science Studies, 2017-2018

FALL 2017



SOC 476: Sociology of Health, Illness and Biomedicine

Steven Epstein | Day-Time: MO 9:00am-11:50am* | Location: University Hall 318

* First class will meet on Tuesday, April 3rd. Thereafter, the class will meet on Mondays.

This course will provide an introduction to central topics in the sociology of medicine while also suggesting how that field is being redefined and reinvigorated by science and technology studies. We will seek to understand health, health care and biomedicine by exploring multiple domains: the work sites in which health professionals interact with one another and with their clients; the research settings where medical knowledge and technologies are generated; the cultural arenas within which ideas of health and disease circulate; the market relations that produce health care as a commodity; the institutions that transform social inequalities into health disparities; the social movements that challenge biomedical practices and the authority of experts; and the bodies and selves that experience and are remade by illness.


ANTRO 485: Seminar in Mind, Body and Health

Rebecca Seligman | Time: TBD | Location: TBD

This course will provide a graduate level introduction to the anthropology of mind, body, and health.  We will address broadly the question of how Anthropologists understand and investigate the social and cultural contexts of health and illness and the diverse ways in which humans use cultural resources to cope with pain, illness, suffering and healing. In addition, we will analyze medical practices as cultural systems, as well as the ways in which health, body, and mind are socially and politically constructed and manipulated, bodies are controlled and policed, and definitions of mind and mental processes influence and are influenced by social context.  There will be a particular focus on the concepts of embodiment and trauma and their various uses and meanings in specific contexts. We will combine an examination of current theoretical paradigms with ethnographic case material from a number of societies, including Brazil, Japan, the US, and Canada. The goal of this comparative endeavor will be to analyze similarities and differences across understandings of mind and body and systems of healing, and to examine American perspectives, behaviors, and practices critically in order to illuminate the ways in which they are socially embedded and culturally specific. 

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