Medical Anthropology

Discipline: Anthropology
Instructor: Trevathan
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 12:50
End: 14:05
Field Work: Day 3 - Salvador - Wednesday, 27 November | Brazil
Prerequisites: Introductory anthropology or sociology course. Download Syllabus

Medical Anthropology provides an overview of evolutionary, epidemiological, and cross-cultural perspectives on disease, curing, and health care systems.  We will discuss such concepts as who gets sick, what causes illness, how cultures vary in what they consider to be illnesses, who are the healers, and how health varies throughout the lifespan.  We will also look at alternative medical systems practiced in the United States, noting that several of these are primary medical systems in other parts of the world. Readings and projects will focus on cultures that we will encounter on the voyage.  Field trips to health care facilities and meetings with traditional healers will be included in the in-port assignments.  Students will also be required to investigate the major causes of illness and death for each country visited and to watch for public health messages or other indicators of concern about health and wellness.

Field Work

Country: Brazil
Day: 3 - Salvador - Wednesday, 27 November

We will visit two Candomble Terriores and have local priestesses serve as our guides who will introduce the history, beliefs, traditions and significance of the communities of Candomble.  We will see the significance of community networks in health and healing and have a better understanding of Candomble as a way of life rather than a religious or medical tradition.  We will also visit the Afro-Brazilian Museum where there is an exhibit of Candomble and a traditional market where they sell the material culture of Candomble. Academic Objectives:   1.  Understand the role of community in health and healing. 2.  Examine a belief system that includes spiritual causes of health and disease. 3.  Consider medicinal herbs in a traditional healing system.