ANTHRCUL 355 - Health and Illness in African Worlds
Section: 101
Term: SP 2008
Subject: Anthropology, Cultural (ANTHRCUL)
Department: LSA Anthropology
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

The Spring 2008 version of “Health & Illness in African Worlds” will be a special edition of the course. We will interrogate health & medical practices in Africa as GLOBAL HEALTH, while doing so in relation to the history & anthropology of illness in various African worlds. There will be three books, all available at Shaman Drum (and costing approx. $ 87.00). Two are global health books, a text called Understanding Global Health and Meredeth Turshen’s Women’s Health Movements: A Global Force for Change. We will read these while asking: where does Africa appear within these books. And why? And where is Africa absent, and why? We will also read an amazing book in historical, epidemiological anthropology, Julie Livingston’s Debility & the Moral Imagination in Botswana; it will take us deeply into one set of African worlds in Botswana around a whole set of issues ranging from public health, chronic illness, disability, AIDS, and the history of the pluralization of medicine in Africa. Thus, this class will think about how epidemiologists, historians, and anthropologists think about health, illness, and medicine in Africa and in relation to global health issues more largely. In relation to particular health issues, like malaria and AIDS, we will ask: why Africa? We will also ask: what does race have to do it? We will think systematically about racial and ethnic issues as we come to terms with the burden and incidence of disease in Africa and the ways Africans themselves define and create health and cope with illness and affliction. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me at

There will be a lab fee of $25 to cover the field trip that we will take to Detroit on Saturday, 3 May, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. We will visit the African galleries at the Detroit Institute of Arts and think about how these now disembodied works of art came out of worlds of African healing. (Because this is a special 6 hour class, it will substitute for 2 other classes later in term to be announced on the final syllabus). Attendance at the special field trip Saturday is ESSENTIAL for all that follows.

WORK/GRADES = Attendance, reading, participation (10%). Weekly UNGRADED quizzes/in-class assignments which we correct together in class. 4-5 (you choose!) précis assignments (1 single spaced page) on readings for a class session/week (40%). Small research project & oral class presentation with handout (25%). Final in-class quiz (15%) & one final essay question submitted electronically by end of exam period (10%).

ANTHRCUL 355 - Health and Illness in African Worlds
Schedule Listing
101 (LEC)
MW 3:00PM - 6:00PM
Note: There will be a required special field trip on Saturday, May 3rd, 11 am - 5 pm. There may also be a lab fee of $25.
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