Anthropology Courses

[Instructor of Record]

Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Taught as AN103 for the Department of History and Anthropology, Monmouth University, Fall 2012 (2 sections)
Taught as ANTH A104 for the Department of Anthropology, IUPUI, Fall 2010 (2 sections), Spring 2011 – enrollment: 49/section.

Description: Why do humans behave the way we do?  Why do we behave differently from one group or society to the next?  Despite our shared biological needs and make-up, daily we witness differences and similarities within the human race and between different sectors of humanity.  This course will start us on the road to a better understanding of the broad range of human behavior potentials and the influences that shape the different expressions of these potentials.  We will do it by learning and applying the basic foundations of cultural anthropology: holism and comparativism.  More precisely, we will use food as the lens – or theme - through which we examine and explore examples of human behavior from around the world. 

Biologically, all humans need to eat to survive.  However, what, how and when we eat are part of the behaviors that make various human populations unique.  Through the semester we will explore human behavior in relation to food through a variety of means.  This course is separated into three sections: worldview or perspective, adaptation strategies, and globalization.  When exploring worldview, we will discuss how the individual interacts with society through different roles we play (or are assigned) such as those related to gender and ethnicity.  We will also examine how we come to view the world as we do, considering language and religion, family and sexuality.  Adaptation strategies refer to our food-getting processes.  Primarily, food-getting is at the core of the cultural technologies that we as humans use to survive as a species.  How we get our food influences how we organize our communities (and vice versa) and how we define ourselves among and between our societies.  Additionally, food serves as a mediator between ourselves and other aspects of our social, political and economic systems, or cultures.  It gives us intimate access to the experiential levels of social and economic change.  We will conclude the class by talking about globalization, which covers human society from industrialization to today and how we interact as global and local actors.  I chose food as the theme for this course because it touches all aspects of human life and through the lens of food, we can reach a better understanding of ourselves and the world in which we live. 

Culture, Health and Illness

Taught as AN280 for the Department of History and Anthropology, Butler University, Spring 2012 – enrollment: 17

Description: Globally, human beings think about, interact with and regulate health and medicine in a variety of ways.  What defines fit bodies, appropriate methods of childbirth or even norms of medical care are influenced by cultural experiences, transnational flows of ideas and social systems of knowledge.  As a holistic and comparative discipline, anthropology has a variety of perspectives through which we can explore these complexities of human behaviors concerning health.  In this course, we will use anthropological approaches to explore the links between culture and society, disease and illness, and health and well-being. 

Topics include: biomedical, epidemiological, and other models of disease; knowledge and practice of healers cross-culturally; the relationship between religion and healing; the role of business and government in healthcare; how gender impacts medical interactions; and applying medical anthropology.  We will be exploring these topics through discussions of faith and folk healing, biomedicine as a culture of its own, transnational healthcare workers, foreign medical aid, US healthcare reform, Big Pharma, organ transplants, sexual health, and the birth industry.
* This course is a typical introduction to medical anthropology.

Globalization, Health and Healing

Taught as AN380 for the Department of History and Anthropology, Butler University, Spring 2012 – enrollment: 25
Taught as ANTH A200/GLLC G220 cross-listed for the Anthropology Department and Global Village Living & Learning Community, Indiana University, Spring 2012 – enrollment 20

Description: In a globalized world, people, goods, and ideas are constantly on the move – including disease, drugs, patients and healthcare providers.  For example, one day a woman gets on a plane from London to New York, unaware that she has H1N1.  Upon arrival to New York, she visits a clinic where the nurse is Jamaican and the doctor Pakistani.  They prescribe her drugs that have been manufactured in India.  Meanwhile, her husband is receiving acupuncture from a Chinese herbalist for knee pain.  Across the country in California, a Laotian immigrant is taking part in a shamanic healing ceremony.  These examples are common occurrences in our incredibly mobile and fast-paced world and daily lives.  What makes them possible?  Why is how we experience health and well-being such an international affair?  How does our capacity to quickly travel and share information impact our health and well-being, and the health and well-being of those around us?  This course attempts to answer these questions by exploring the nexus of globalization and health. 

Globalization is about movement.  Health and well-being, however, is defined differently depending on the context in which an individual finds him or herself.  Belief systems, education, and class are just a few of the influences that act upon how we define “health.”  Broadly, we will consider health and well-being to be linked to one’s physical, mental, and spiritual states.  Therefore, in order to explore the intersection of globalization and health, we need to examine what or who moves, how it or they move, and how it or they influence the physical, mental and spiritual state of those it or they impact. 

In this class, we will consider 3 types of movement: the movement of disease and treatment, the movement of patients, and the movement of healthcare workers.  Understanding that each of these areas is intimately connected to each other through various means, by separating them into categories, we can focus on specific mechanisms of each type of movement.  Throughout the course, we will consider the context of each case, exploring the multiple perspectives of each case, including how issues of class and status influence these mechanisms.

American Diversity

Taught as AN380 for the Department of History and Anthropology, Monmouth University, Fall 2012

Description: We live in a society where explicit discussions of human diversity shape the way we imagine our national community, distribute state resources, and regiment the personal conduct of various populations.  This course is devoted to exploring diversity in the United States.  While “diversity” encompasses a broad range of subjects – class, sex, religion, age, ability, geography, language, etc. – our primary focus this semester will be on race and ethnicity.  We ask several kinds of questions: What aspects of culture are implicated in the concept of ethnicity?  Does ethnic “culture” play a negative role in the lives of marginalized peoples?  How is the education system complicit in the reproduction of ethnic hierarchy? 

In addition to normal coursework, this “Experiential Education” class includes an internship component.  Students will volunteer for two hours per week at an off-campus organization that works with people from marginalized social groups (ethnic, age, class, etc.), and discuss their experience in a seminar-style class format.

Medical Anthropology

Taught as ANTH E445 for the Department of Anthropology, IUPUI, Spring 2011  – enrollment: 11

Description: Globally, human beings think about, interact with and regulate health and medicine in a variety of ways.  How fit bodies are defined, what are appropriate methods of childbirth, or even what are considered norms of medical care are influenced by cultural experiences, transnational flows of ideas and social systems of knowledge.  As a holistic and comparative discipline, anthropology has a variety of perspectives through which we can explore these complexities of human behaviors concerning health.  In this course, we will use anthropological approaches to examine culturally specific behaviors related to ideas of health, wellness and healthcare systems.  This semester will serve as an introduction to some aspects of the broad field of medical anthropology and will be focusing on its cultural approaches, examining the topics of study through ethnomedical, experiential, critical and applied lenses. 
We will be studying the following questions:


Anthropology of Globalization

Taught as AN598 for the Department of History and Anthropology, Monmouth University, Fall 2012

Description: Globalization – loosely defined as a process of increasing interdependency between the local and the global through the movement of people, ideas, objects and capital – has been a topic of and tool for anthropological study for the last few decades. But what does it mean?  How do we as individuals behave in a world where “globalization” is a household word?  What are the processes of globalization? How does globalization as a concept and a reality influence and affect anthropological research?  This semester, we will explore these questions and more.
In order to address these questions, we will examine a number of globalization processes – media, consumption, tourism, health and food among others.  In the first part of the semester we will explore the history and development of different concepts of globalization as a theoretical approach.  In later sections of the class, we will take a closer look at how anthropologists utilize the concept of globalization through case studies related to the different topics listed above.  Through the semester, the class will interrogate the theme of globalization as both a tool and challenge to anthropologists and anthropological research.  Students will consider the ways in which anthropological inquiry of globalization has influenced the discipline.

Proseminar in Russian and East European Area Studies

Taught for the Russian and East European Institute, Indiana University, Fall 2011 – enrollment: 7

Description: R600 is a required course for students seeking the M.A. degree at Indiana University’s Russian and East European Institute. The course is also open to graduate students from other departments.  This course provides students with a broad overview of Russian and East European Area Studies.  Faculty guest speakers are invited to a majority of the classes in order to provide students with an introduction to their areas of specialty and to enrich the experience.


[Teaching Assistant]

ANTH E260: Culture, Health and Illness

Associate Instructor, Indiana University, Spring 2007, Spring 2010
Description: For this course I taught the discussion sections. Why do people in some cultures suffer illnesses caused by fear, nerves, and the evil eye, and what cures exist? Who are shamans, and what roles do they play across cultures? How can specialists trained in biomedicine be more sensitive to the cultural beliefs of their patients? What are anthropologists doing to address the AIDS pandemic?

We will explore these questions and many more in this course. The meanings of “health” and illness, and the experience of one’s body, are often taken for granted. However, our ideas about and experiences of health, “dis-ease,” and medicine are profoundly shaped by culture, transnational flows of people, ideas, and resources, histories of colonialism and structural inequalities, and the development of new technologies. An informed understanding of a person or group’s health and illness experiences must begin by exploring the multiple contexts—cultural, geopolitical, and socio-economic—from which those experiences are generated. In this course, students will learn to think about issues of health, disease, and medicine in cross-cultural and global terms. [description written by course professor, Sarah Phillips]

ANTH E210: Human Diversity Across Space and Time

Associate Instructor, Indiana University, Fall 2007
Description: For this course I served as a grader and taught one discussion section; I also designed and taught the unit on Affirmative Action. What are the grounds for talking about human difference? In what ways are humans universally alike and in what ways are they universally different? And how have debates about human difference and sameness developed over the last century or more. In this course we seek to address these broad questions and in doing so orient ourselves to the way in which the field of anthropology has played a crucial role in posing and attempting to answer such questions from multiple different perspectives including: on the basis of human biology, linguistic analysis, archeaological findings, and in-depth ethnographic study of human societies.
To focus our discussion we will concentrate on four primary categories of anthropological analysis: race, culture, gender, and language. Each one of these categories - at different historical moments and in varying geographic contexts – plays a key role in how we currently understand human differences and human sameness. Throughout the course we will attempt to gain insight into how such categories explain what it means to be human, how humans themselves have appropriated such categories to describe themselves, how such categories have been historically misused to describe and even dominate others, and what such categories tell us about today’s era. We will do so with close attention to the way the definitions of these categories have themselves changed over time and take on different meanings in different contexts. [description written by course professor, Shane Greene]

ANTH E105: Culture and Society

Associate Instructor, Indiana University, Fall 2006
Description: For this course I led two discussion sections and taught the lecture section on Gender. This course introduces students to the full scope of Social and Cultural Anthropology. Anthropology studies humans with a very special lens: one that includes a humanistic perspective, a social scientific perspective, and an evolutionary perspective. Such an approach uses distinct theories and methods from these areas to examine the complexity represented by our species. In the course we learn how anthropologists observe humans, study how humans communicate in verbal and non-verbal ways, how they make a living and make decisions (economic, political, religious, environmental), and how they assign meaning to every bit of their world. Students in the course will gain an appreciation of human cultural, social and biological diversity; learn in depth a few cultures, and in great breadth about many more. By gaining an appreciation of cultural, social and biological differences students will gain an appreciation for the value of these differences evolutionarily, their reasons for coming into being locally, and how to interpret the complex ways we express "being human." [description provided by the IU Dept of Anthropology]