This class uses the methods and theories of critical medical anthropology and medical sociology to help students design and pursue innovative ethnographic projects that explore campus health or community health. Students will use an array of ethnographic techniques such as observant participation, interviewing, focus groups, and qualitative surveys to explore our campus community comprised of students, faculty, and/or staff, that build on weekly discussions, feedback, and design exercises. We situate our campus health projects within the wider context of how power and intersectionality inflect and structure health and well-being locally and globally. Our case studies explore how structural racism shapes medical education, pediatric care, and maternity care in the US, how the spread of US psychiatry inflects the landscape of global mental health, and how queer activism responded to the HIV/AIDS crisis. We consider how disruptive moments like COVID-19 or HIV/AIDS can serve as focal moments in social history that reveal underlying inequalities of health outcomes and access. We attend to the parallel roles of narrative in medicine and ethnography, as we contrast the discourse of providers & patients as well as researchers & interlocutors. Throughout our goal is to better understand the strengths and limits of ethnographic inquiry while exploring the challenges of collaborative and participatory research within communities always already structured by power, privilege, and engaged practices.
Format: seminar; Offered in hybrid format, yet students are encouraged to attend in person if they can. Students will be grouped into in-person or remote sections and can be reassigned during the semester if they request or require it for health reasons. Students should complete all assignments, weekly exercises, and attendance in class discussion. Please email me ([email protected]) to indicate whether you plan to attend in person or remotely.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
Three written fieldnotes, weekly attendance and other writing exercises, midterm and final presentations on fieldwork projects
none, but a class in Anthropology, Sociology, Science & Technology Studies, or other social science is recommended
Majors in Anthropology, Sociology, Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies; Concentrators in Public Health, Science and Technology Studies
Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
This class examines the intersection of race, gender, class, and sexuality in structuring health outcomes, well-being, and access to health resources. It theorizes the ways that intersectionality shapes health of individuals and societies, including patient/provider encounters and efforts to 'improve' community health within contexts of social inequality and social suffering.
EXPE Experiential Education Courses
PHLH Methods in Public Health