Media, Health, Culture, and Social Change
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students
Department: Social Sciences
Course Number: NANT 3520
Course Format: Lecture
Location: Online
Permission Required: No
  • Anthropology
  • Media & Culture
What happens when media, in all their diverse forms, take on the issues of health and social change? We examine the way health and media are both constructed from and interpreted within cultural settings. Focusing on examples from television, film, and new media, we discuss a range of illness narratives, including ones involving eating disorders, cancer, depression, and AIDS. We explore questions central to medical anthropology and the anthropology of media, such as: How is medical knowledge produced and understood? What is the relationship between the real and the virtual when online communities spill off-line and vice versa? How does social context influence conceptions of risk, crisis, and hope? Do different media cultures produce different articulations of disease? Students learn to consider biological phenomena from a cultural perspective, with special attention given to the way they are reinforced or countered by media. The class also looks at the use of public space to discuss medical views of illness. In the process, we explore social, historical, and cultural views of media as an avenue for social change.
Course Open to: Degree Students