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Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Spring 2009

SOC 354K • Sociology of Health and Illness

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
45750 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
BUR 108

Course Description

Using lectures, documentaries, and class discussions as well as reflections of your own and others' health and illness and representations of health and illness in the media, this course will critically examine the distribution of mortality and morbidity, how health and illness are defined and socially constructed, the experiences of illness, training and hierarchies of health care workers, interactions between health care providers and patients, alternative medicine, ethical issues in health care, and health care financing. The majority of the course will focus on health and illness in the United States but will make some references to health in other countries and regions.

Grading Policy

1. Four exams. The lowest score of the first three exams will be dropped. The 4th exam is REQUIRED. The exams will be a combination of multiple choice, and short/medium answer based on the readings, lectures, guest speakers, and videos. Each exam is a maximum of 100 points and the highest three scored exams each count 20% of your final grade. If you do not take the 4th exam, the zero you receive for it will count as one of your three exams. (60% of grade)
2. Journal. You will keep a typewritten journal chronicling your experiences with and reflections about health, illness, and health care; a total of 5 entries for the semester are expected (400-550 words each). The journal have two parts: an observation and analysis of the observation. Your observations should be drawn from your own life and can include notes on your own or others' health, past or present contact with providers and facilities, discussions with others about health and health care, as well as observations about the portrayal of health and health care by the media (news, TV, movies, etc.). (25% of grade)
3. Classroom component. The in-class component will be measured by pop quizzes and pairs/small group in-class assignments. For the pop quizzes, I will occasionally ask a question about that day's reading and ask you to write the answer on one of your 3x5 note cards. I will give these right at the start of class; they should take only about 3 minutes to complete. For short in-class assignments I will ask you to get into groups of 2 or 3 people to discuss a question I put to the class; one member of the group will write a short summary of your discussion on a 3x5 card. I'll do enough of these so that you'll be able to drop at least 2 of them. (15% of grade)


The Sociology of Health, Healing, and Illness, 6th Edition by Gregory L. Weiss and Lynne E. Lonnquist
Packet of photocopied readings
30 or so three inch by five inch (3x5) note cards.


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