AAS 104 - First Year Humanities Seminar
Section: 004 Gender, Race and Health in the United States
Term: WN 2014
Subject: Afroamerican & African Studies (AAS)
Department: LSA Afroamerican and African Studies
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
Other Course Info:
(Cross-Area Courses). May not be included in a major.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

The health of African Americans is in crisis. The health disparities experienced by this population reflects the intractable problems faced by this community. Poverty, incarceration, housing, unemployment, high drop out rates, obesity, drugs and alcohol are only some of the categories that beset African Americans. This undergraduate seminar will examine the health disparities in the African American population. Why for example are almost all the indices of health disparities highest among African Americans?

  • The highest rates in HIV
  • The highest rates in incarceration
  • The highest rate of deaths in breast cancer and prostate cancer.
  • The Highest rates in infant mortality
The seminar will look at specific areas, each disaggregated by gender and race. Why are gender and race important how do they intersect to impact the current state of health in this community. Is racism an issue in health. Why for example do African Americans enter the health care system essentially at stages of illness too late to intervene and therefore result in higher death rates? How does this reflect the social construction of disease and how is this related to historical experiences like the Tuskegee experiment or the life of Henrietta lax which used Black bodies in a syphilis and cancer experiments experiment without information and permission.

In examining the health issues of African American men, how does masculinity determine health status and do apparently non health related epidemics like violence and incarceration directly impact the health of the African American community. How do gender constructions drive the high incidence in infant mortality, breast cancer, Lupus in Black women?

This academic term, we will examine the following:

  • The Tuskegee experiment
  • The Life of Henrietta Lax
  • Cancers at epidemic level, breast, prostate, colon, lung, etc.
  • HIV,
  • Lupus,
  • infant mortality
  • Incarceration
This seminar will examine these select illnesses affecting this community and interrogate the determinants of this phenomenon in the U.S.

Course Requirements:

Students will be required to write short papers on related topics and give presentations using PowerPoint on specific assigned topics exploring the relationship between race, gender and health in America.

Intended Audience:

No data submitted

Class Format:


AAS 104 - First Year Humanities Seminar
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
002 (SEM)
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
003 (SEM)
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
004 (SEM)
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 9780767915472
Medical apartheid : the dark history of medical experimentation on Black Americans from colonial times to the present, Author: Harriet A. Washington., Publisher: Harlem Moon 1st pbk. e 2008
ISBN: 1400052173
The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks, Author: Rebecca Skloot., Publisher: Crown Publishers 1st ed. 2010
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