Culture, Illness and Healing in Asia

This survey course examines the place of health, illness, and healing in Asian societies. We will explore how people experience, narrate, and respond to illness and other forms of suffering. In lectures and discussions we will discuss major changes that medicine and public health are undergoing and how those changes affect the training of practitioners, health care policy, clinical practice and ethics. The course will familiarize students with key concepts and approaches in medical anthropology by considering case studies from a number of social settings including China, India, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Taiwan, Tibet, Thailand, Vietnam and Asian immigrants in the United States. We will also investigate the sociocultural dimensions of illness and the medicalization of social problems in Asia, examining how gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and other forms of social difference affect medical knowledge and disease outcomes. This course is intended for anthropology majors, undergraduate students considering careers in medicine and public health, and others interested in learning how anthropology can help us understand human suffering and formulate more effective interventions.