AP/ANTH 2330 6.00
OUTBREAK! CONTAGION AND RISK IN ANTHROPOLOGICAL CONTEXT
We are living in a global pandemic. This moment has made the study of infectious disease, viruses, vaccines, and contagion more urgent as we grapple with COVID19 and the ways it has changed our lives. While many of our lives have been affected by COVID19 and subsequent restrictions such as physical distancing and mandatory masking, how each of us is impacted by the virus is not uniform. The same can be said about many viruses and infectious disease that humans have encountered before.
How we experience infectious diseases and viruses is informed by a host of factors which include race, geographical location, class/socio-economic status, sexuality, gender, privilege, etc. Additionally, how we understand and negotiate things like risk, public good, community well-being, and self-care as they relate to health and illness are also affected by who we are and where we come from. Simply said, no disease will impact two people in the exact same ways.
This course explores the social aspect of illness, viruses, and disease using local and global examples. The course will begin with an introduction to medical anthropology and concepts that are at its foundation which include biomedicine as cultural phenomenon, risk, and cross-cultural explorations of illness and health. We will engage with readings that explore diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola, SARS, and COVID19 to illustrate the importance of understanding infectious diseases and viruses beyond biological pathogens. In the second term we will explore common approaches to interventions created for infectious diseases, and look at the contributions of anthropologists to improving human and environmental health.
In this course, you will be introduced to:
- The field of medical anthropology,
- The importance of ethnographic research for the study of health and disease,
- The relationship between culture, class/SES, gender, race, sexuality, politics, inequality, and disease phenomena, with specific attention to infectious diseases in local, national, and/or international contexts,
- Critical learning skills, including basic anthropological research methods, theories, academic integrity and applications of knowledge