ANT 389K • Science, Health & Culture
10:00 AM-1:00 PM
This course deploys an anthropological perspective on the dynamic practices of science and medicine. Our basic approach involves examining how these endeavors are located within and informed by broader social contexts, while considering, in turn, the profound social transformations arising from scientific developments and emerging medical practices. We begin by sketching the terrain of current debates over science and technology, assessing how major actors-the media, government funding and regulatory institutions, corporate sponsored research, public interests groups, etc.-shape public view of health and disease. After a brief overview of current work in science and technologies studies and medical anthropology, we will delve into an array of ethnographic studies of laboratories and clinical settings. A primary objective of this course is to ground students in the challenges and problems of observing scientific research or the dissemination of medical developments in the larger world through the lens of ethnographic study. Finally, we will shift our attention onto how science and medicine are transforming both the human body and the society at large, rendering the distinction between nature and culture as problematic.