Medical Anthropology & Cross-Cultural Practice

  • GMS MA 605: Therapeutic Pluralism and Healing in the United States: A History
    This course explores the history of medical and therapeutic pluralism in the United States, beginning with the colonial period and continuing to the present. We will examine how this pluralism necessarily includes the story of American religious pluralism, the rise of biomedicine, and the changing faces of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), while factoring in the roles of class, race, and gender. We will work with primary source materials, as well as sources from history of medicine, and medical anthropology. 4 cr, Spring sem. M 3:30-6:15, Charles River Campus.
  • GMS MA 620: World Religions and Healing
    An introduction to approaches to healing integral to Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, African, African-descended, Latin American, Chinese, Native American traditions, and to some of the outcomes of their interactions, in relation to the experience of affliction and suffering. Draws on source materials from history, religious studies, and medical anthropology. 4 cr, Fall sem. M 2:30-5:15, Charles River Campus.
  • GMS MA 622: Religion, Culture and Public Health
    This medical anthropology course will explore relationships between religion, culture, and health in the context of public health projects. We will examine historical developments, examples of faith-based public health organizations, and current research on "religious health assets," both locally and internationally. Students will design and conduct qualitative research projects on the culture of a faith-based health organization. 3 cr, Fall sem Th 3:30-6:15, Charles River Campus. (Students needing a 4th credit should speak with the instructor about adding a single-credit directed study.)
  • GMS MA 630: Medical Anthropology and the Cultures of Biomedicine
    This course examines biomedicine as a cultural system with multiple local and national expressions worldwide, all of which have undergone changes over time. Topics will include the exploration of biomedicine as a cultural system, with cultural variations and different conceptual domains; processes of acculturation to biomedicine, the medicalization of social realities; biomedical narratives; the patient-doctor relationship (including when the physician is the patient); understandings of interventions and the meanings assigned to them; and different ways of thinking about efficacy in relation to process and chronicity. The course will draw on ethnographic studies of biomedicine not only in the United States, but in other global settings. 3 cr, Spring sem. M 2:30-5:15, Charles River Campus. (Students needing a 4th credit should speak with the instructor about adding a single-credit directed study.)
  • GMS MA 640: The Cultural Formation of the Clinician: Its Implications for Practice
    This course will provide a context for exploring and reflecting on one's own cultural formation in relation to such topics as gender, sexual orientation, race, class, religion, body size, and other areas where there are the greatest risks for health disparities through unexamined bias. The course examines the values one brings into one's practice as a care provider, and how they influence one's personal and professional life, including responses to diverse patient cultures. Offered through M.A. program in Medical Anthropology. 3 cr, Fall sem. W 5:00-7:50, Medical Campus. (Students needing a 4th credit should speak with the instructor about adding a single-credit directed study.)
  • GMS MA 650: Society, Healthcare, and the Cultures of Competence
    This course examines the history and current policies of health education, beginning with the notion of "competencies" as a basis for biomedical training and the development of a model of professional enculturation that has been exported to other fields. This medical anthropology course focuses on the conceptual and embodied formation of key "professional competencies" in medicine, acupuncture, and chaplaincy; and explores the contested meanings of "cultural competence." Readings include autobiographical and ethnographic accounts of medical students, physicians, chaplains, and acupuncturists. Students conduct qualitative interviews with health professionals and students and learn to evaluate curricula for training competent professionals. 3 cr, Spring sem. Th 3:30-6:15, Charles River Campus. (Students needing a 4th credit should speak with the instructor about adding a single-credit directed study.)
  • GMS MA 677: Special Topics in Medical Anthropology
    This seminar focuses on selected issues in medical anthropology. It revisits significant legacies from classic anthropology, joining them with insights from current theory and ethnography. Each year, a specific topic serves as a focal point, and is examined through a variety of analytical frames employed in medical anthropology.
  • GMS MA 679: Syndemics: An Interdisciplinary Concept in BioSocial Health
    The term syndemic labels the synergistic interaction of two or more co- existing diseases or conditions that results from structural inequality, and that produces an excess burden of disease, thereby increasing suffering. Syndemics research emphasizes the interplay between human behavior, structural conditions, health, and policy that elevates the overall burden of disease in a population. A major contribution of medical anthropology and a particular focus of the CDC, epidemiologists, and clinicians, syndemics provides an important tool for researchers and providers alike. This seminar typically begins with an overview of the field of syndemics, and culminates with a focused exploration of a new or emerging syndemic which the class works collaboratively to identify and further develop for publication. 3 cr, Spring sem. T 12:30-3:15, Charles River Campus. (Students needing a 4th credit should speak with the instructor about adding a single-credit directed study).
  • GMS MA 680: Culture, Migration, and Mental Health
    This medical anthropology course explores the ways in which mental health and illness are constructed by and for those who migrate across national, cultural, and other borders. We will examine the historical development of the fields of psychology, psychiatry, and social work in the context of Western societies, in parallel with the anthropological study of ritual, violence, ecstatic and possession experiences in non-Western societies. We will then explore debates in cross-cultural mental health care that bring these historical disciplines into dialogue, particularly in the context of programs for the treatment of refugee and immigrant mental health. The intersection of political, economic, religious, and gender issues in the construction of mental health will also be considered. 3 cr, Spring sem. Th 3:30-6:15, Charles River Campus. (Students needing a 4th credit should speak with the instructor about adding a single-credit directed study).
  • GMS MA 682: Islamic Medicines and Healing
    This medical anthropology course explores the social history of medicine and healing traditions among Muslims: the role of the Prophet Muhammad as model and source of health and medicine; the emergence of classical Islamic medicine as synthesis of and innovation on Greek traditions; the influence of legal/moral traditions in regulating and preserving public health; the development of hospitals in the Muslim world; the influence of Sufi philosophy, practices, and the proliferation of shrines on healing traditions; the effects of emerging biomedical practice introduced from the West; the "revival" of Islamic medicine, and the emergence of alternative medicines. Primary and secondary historical sources and contemporary ethnographic accounts complement students' own research projects in the seminar. 3 cr, Fall sem. Th 3:30-6:15, Charles River Campus. (Students needing a 4th credit should speak with the instructor about adding a single- credit directed study).
  • GMS MA 684: Social History of Chinese Medicine and Healing Traditions
    Explores intersections between the therapeutic, the medical, and the religious, through the study of healing traditions in China. Includes the role of shamans and the persistence of traditions involving gods, ghosts, and ancestors; the emergence of classical medicine and canonical texts, together with the role played by Scholar-Physicians; the influences of Daoist approaches to healing, longevity, and alchemy; the introduction of Buddhist and Indian healing practices; the effects of an emerging biomedical practice brought in from the West; and the meanings of the revival of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the People's Republic of China. Primary sources, and secondary sources from history and medical anthropology. 3 cr, Fall sem. M 3:30-6:15, Charles River Campus. (Students needing a 4th credit should speak with the instructor about adding a single-credit directed study).
  • GMS MA 691: Directed Study in Medical Anthropology
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: Permission of instructor
    Graduate Prerequisites: consent of instructor
    Var cr, Fall & SSI sem.
  • GMS MA 692: Directed Study in Medical Anthropology
    Graduate Prerequisites: consent of instructor
    Var cr, Spring & SSII sem.
  • GMS MA 700: History and Theory of Medical Anthropology (Part I)
    This course introduces the history of the field of medical anthropology and of theoretical orientations related to understanding and analyzing health and medicine in society and culture. Readings will exemplify interpretive strategies applied to health-related experiences, discourse, knowledge, and practice. 3 cr, Fall sem. M 10:00-12:50, Medical Campus. (Students needing a 4th credit should speak with the instructor about adding a single-credit directed study).
  • GMS MA 701: History and Theory of Medical Anthropology (Part II)
    This course will address theoretical traditions in medical anthropology, focusing on orientations developed and applied within the field over the past two decades to interpretations of health-related phenomena. 3 cr, Spring sem. M 10:00-12:50, Medical Campus. (Students needing a 4th credit should speak with the instructor about adding a single-credit directed study).
  • GMS MA 710: Medical Anthropology and Qualitative Research Methods and Design
    Introduction to methodology for ethnographic field research in medical anthropology, and qualitative research methods. This course examines issues in designing anthropological research, and reviews theoretical approaches to research ethics, designing research, framing questions and questionnaire design, and data collection techniques. 3 cr, Fall sem. W 10:00-12:50, Medical Campus. (Students needing a 4th credit should speak with the instructor about adding a single-credit directed study).
  • GMS MA 711: Medical Anthropology Fieldwork Pt. 1
    Fieldwork or a related internship experience is an integral dimension of anthropological methodology, and important to conducting qualitative research. Therefore, it represents an essential feature of the curriculum in the Master's in Medical Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Practice. Fieldwork allows students to complement their classroom learning with field-based learning, link theory with practice, and refine their skills. It also helps students establish contacts, develop relationships, and learn from the experience of interacting with different cultural communities and groups. This two-part seminar will review issues likely to arise in the experience of conducting fieldwork, and will provide a forum within which students can discuss their ongoing fieldwork. Prereq: a previously approved Institutional Review Board protocol, and permission of the instructor. 3 cr, Spring or Summer I sem. (Students needing a 4th credit should speak with the instructor about adding a single-credit directed study).
  • GMS MA 712: Medical Anthropology Fieldwork Pt. 2
    Fieldwork or a related internship experience is an integral dimension of anthropological methodology, and important to conducting qualitative research. Therefore, it represents an essential feature of the curriculum in the Masters in Medical Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Practice. Fieldwork allows students to complement their classroom learning with field-based learning, link theory with practice, and refine their skills. It also helps students establish contacts, develop relationships, and learn from the experience of interacting with different cultural communities and groups. This two-part seminar will review issues likely to arise in the experience of conducting fieldwork, and will provide a forum within which students can discuss their ongoing fieldwork. Prereq: a previously approved Institutional Review Board protocol, GMS MA 711, and permission of the instructor. 3 cr, Summer II or Fall sem. (Students needing a 4th credit should speak with the instructor about adding a single-credit directed study).
  • GMS MA 734: Reading Ethnography in Medical Anthropology
    This seminar will read medical anthropological ethnographies analytically, with a focus on works that feature Applied Anthropology. Starting with a review of the debates, going through selected classic ethnographic studies, the seminar will explore ethnographies that address different cultural meanings of human experiences of suffering and affliction, including illness and violence. Students will engage in studying the methodology, theoretical underpinnings, writing, and social positions represented in these ethnographies. Prereq: Permission of the instructor. 3 cr, Fall sem. T 10-12:50, Medical Campus. (Students needing a 4th credit should speak with the instructor about adding a single-credit directed study).
  • GMS MA 735: Writing Ethnography in Medical Anthropology
    This seminar builds on GMS MA 734 (Reading Ethnography in Medical Anthropology), turning the focus to the actual craft of writing ethnography. It is an integral part of MACCP students' thesis-writing training. Students will learn to identify and employ rhetorical and stylistic strategies and genre conventions. Through a series of exercises that draw on their own field notes and participant observations, students learn to employ three genres of cultural representation- realist tales, confessional tales, and impressionist tales. Students will explore their own authorial voice and style, and their relationship with truth, objectivity, and point-of-view. The class is structured as a seminar, emphasizing class discussion, workshops, and peer-group work. Prereq: Permission of the instructor. 3 cr, Spring sem. Medical Campus.