In this seminar, we will examine the ways in which health and illness are both constructed out of, and interpreted within, cultural settings. Focusing on Western biomedicine, we will discuss a broad range of illness experiences; from schizophrenia to cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder to asthma, Tourette's to Alzheimer's, among others — to address a number of questions currently central to medical anthropology. Topics may include (but will not be limited to) the meaning and alteration of self and personhood in illness; the ways in which medical knowledge is produced and imagined, the culture of science and technology, immunity and risk, illness narrative, and social and historical views of the body. Classes will be discussion based, with students expected to prepare for active participation and leadership in discussion. Requirements include written reading critiques and a final group project. The class is not open to first year students.