Brian Stross



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Goals - The goals of this course are to introduce students to the study of human communication as it influences and is influenced by politics, health, and nutrition, and to develop skills (through fieldwork, data collection, analysis and writing) in presenting your ideas on the roles of communication systems in these institutions. I hope to deliver a better understanding of the multiple ways in which language, culture, and society interact with respect to politics, health, and nutrition.  To those ends there are three short projects to be completed during the semester.


Description  -   This course is a graduate introduction to politics, health, and nutrition from a linguistic anthropological perspective.  Languages, like other communication systems, are adapted to new and different environments in which they are spoken, creating and maintaining social realities, reproducing cultural traditions, and conveying messages in a complex interplay of new and old information, sometimes necessary and sometimes frivolous, packaging meaning in various ways that generally conform to standards that can be articulated in terms of the allocation of power and privilege, resulting in the progress and problems to which we are currently heirs.  As speech is an important mode of human communication, we start by outlining basic concepts allowing for the description of linguistic form,  metaphors that we live by, and the power of language, proceeding then through considerations of communication in health and nutrition and their relationship to politics.


Requirements / Exams, Paper, Attendance     The course grade will be based on three written projects of 6-9 pages double spaced  (total 90%), and participation in seminar discussion (10%).  No penalty for one unexcused absence, but further such absences can lower one’s course grade by two and a half percentage points for each instance.





            Robert D. Johnson (ed.)   The Politics of Healing: Histories of Alternative Medicine in 20th Century North America.  ISBN 0-415-93339-

            Daniel Haley  Politics in Healing.   ISBN 0-9701150-0-8

            Liam Scheff   Official Stories   



WEEK 1       Introduction - Language and speech, deconstruction,  conversation,

                        institutional language, language and social interaction

                        the speech act, language and ideology, human communication



WEEK 2      Allopathic Medicine  (symptoms & pills)




WEEK 3      Acupuncture   (integration into US medicine)




WEEK 4      Holistic / Naturopathic Medicine   (causes & treatment)




WEEK 5      Nutrition    (food, drink & nutrients)




WEEK 6      Basic Physiology (what happens to food & drink - hormones, enzymes)

                        Nutrition and Malnutrition (i.e. lacks)

                        Microbes & Parasites ("immune system," antibiotics & probiotics)

                        Poisons & Pollution   (waste disposal )



WEEK  7    Cancer    (oncology - surgery, radiation, chemo & alternatives )




WEEK 8    HIV / AIDS   (definitions, causes, effects, political solutions)




WEEK 9     Flouridation    (flouride compounds - uses, side effects, problems, political solutions)


                   Hemp    (hemp compunds - uses, history, studies, political manipulation)'




WEEK 10   The Revolving Door: Governmental Agencies ( USDA, FDA, CDC, EPA

                                    NCI) & Big Pharm-agro (Monsanto, Dow, BASF, Bayer, Syngenta and DuPont)




WEEK 11     NGOs, Think Tanks, Institutes, Societies, Associations, Watchdogs  (AMA,

                        American Cancer Society, Ameican Heart Association, American College of

                        Cardiology [statins], National Cancer Institute, Quackwatch )




WEEK 12     Politics & Power   (governance, war chests, lobbying; differential access & privilege)




WEEK 13     Media & Power  (manufacturing consent)




WEEK 14     Blogs and Social Media:   Trolls and Sock Puppets




WEEK  15     Debriefing  (words - naming, statements, silence)

                         (advertising, pr,  talking points, deception)

                        (beliefs, presuppositions, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis)

                        Food - Planned depopulation or misguided psychopathy ?  or just plain greed + sheeple












Relevant Books:


Andrew Weil M.D.,  Eating Well for Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Food, Diet, and Nutrition

Marion Nestle,  Food Politics.

Bill Henderson, Carlos García   Cancer Free: Your Guide to Gentle Non-Toxic Healing

Bruce H Lipton,   The Biology of Belief

Bruce H Lipton, Steve Bhaerman    SpontaneousEvolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There from Here

Gary Taubes,  Good Calories Bad Calories.

David Perlmutter, Kristin Loberg   Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar

Gary Taubes,     Why We Get Fat And What to Do About It

Joel_Fuhrman,   Super Immunity The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Bodys_ Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free

G. Edward Griffin,    World Without Cancer

Thomas_E._Levy,_Vitamin_C.; Infectious Diseases, and Toxins Curing the Incurable

Wendy Warner,    Kellyann Petrucci;  Boosting your immunity for dummies

Morton Walker,  DMSO:  Nature's Healer

Peter Duesberg,   Inventing the AIDS Virus

CunnaneS. Stewart K.,   Human Brain Evolution The Influence of Freshwater and Marine Food Resources

Leon_Chaitow (ed.),   Naturopathic Physical Medicine Theory and Practice for Manual Therapists and Naturopaths

Richard_Wrangham,   Catching Fire How Cooking Made Us Human

Frances Sheridan Goulart,    Super Immunity Foods A Complete Program to Boost Wellness, Speed Recovery, and Keep Your Body Strong

Norman_D._Ford,    Supercharge Your Immunity

Robert O. Young,    Sick and Tired? 

Iva Lloyd,      The_Energetics_of_Health

Christopher Vasey,   The Naturopathic Way:  how to detox, find quality nutrition, and restore your acid-alkaline balance

Andreas Moritz,  _Timeless_Secrets_of_Health_and_Rejuvenation

Hulda Regehr Clark,      Cure for All Diseases

E. Fuller Torrey,    Surviving Prostate Cancer: What You Need to Know to Make Informed Decisions

Sheldon Marks,    Prostate and Cancer: A Family Guide to Diagnosis, Treatment, and Survival

Stephen Harrod Buhner,    Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Rick Simpson,    Natures Answer For Cancer

Jack Herer,   The Emperor Wears No Clothes: The Authoritative Historical Record of Cannabis and the Conspiracy Against Marijuana.




Relevant Websites & URLs



Other Cancer sites



Dr. Brownstein

Dr. Mercola

Dr. Blaylock    

Dr. Cantwell

Dr. Wakefield

Pharmacist Ben


Alive & Well

Educate Yourself 


Anatomy of a Coverup  pdf'

Quackwatch   Dr. Stephen Barrett

Food and Drug Administration  (FDA)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)