Week 5

Week 5: Health Inequalities: Intersectionality of Gender, Ethnicity, Sexuality, and Class



  • Activity Post (15 points): 500-700 words August 3:

    Review the lectures and the Donald Joralemon chapters entitled “Exploring Medical Anthropology” from Week 1. Select one of the five anthropological perspectives we discussed (Epidemiology and Anthropology, Evolutionary/Medical Ecology/Biocultural, Critical Medical Anthropological, Interpretive, or Feminist Theory) to use as you examine the health issue you have chosen in your selected country. Next, read another article that discusses your theory of choice (see paragraph below). Using this article and information from Week 1, write a summary of the theoretical perspective you have chosen and discuss why this theory is the best choice of theory to use in examining the health issue you have chosen in your selected country.

    One article on Medical Anthropology and Epidemiology by Marcia Inhorn is linked above. Below are some other sources for you. You can access electronically, A Companion to Medical Anthropology which has several chapters on different theoretical perspectives. Pay special attention to the introduction, chapter 1 and chapter 2. Finally, for the Feminist theory, see this site for information.

  • Blog Post (15 points): 700-1000 words August 3:

    Google (from the Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English) defines intersectionality as “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.” You have two options for this week’s blog post: you will select one of the stories of EITHER Caitlyn Jenner’s recent transition from male to female OR Rachelle Dolezal’s identification as a black woman and explore the idea of intersectionality as it expresses itself (or does not express itself) in their stories.

    Option 1: If you select Caitlyn Jenner, please watch these four excerpts (and then any others or the whole interview if you’d like) from Bruce (now Caitlyn) Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer

    • “I’m a Woman”
    • “When did Bruce Jenner Know”
    • “Bruce Jenner: I am not Gay”
    • “Gender Identity Versus Attraction: ‘It’s Apples and Oranges’ says Jenner”

    Read about and view the photographs of Caitlyn Jenner in Vanity Fair, and then follow it with: “What Makes a Woman” by Elinor Burkett

    Option 2: If you select Rachel Dolezal, please read the article entitled, “Rachel Dolezal defiantly maintains ‘I identify as black’ in TV interview” and watch the short video of her interview on the “Today Show” embedded in the article. After that, please read and watch the MSNBC interview embedded in the article entitled, “Watch Rachel Dolezal’s Long, Unbelievably Incoherent Interview with Melissa Harris-Perry.

    Whether you picked Option 1 or Option 2, answer ONE of the following questions:

    • The article by Freedman et al., “Looking the Part: Social Status Cues Shape Race Perception” states that it is a “longstanding claim in the social sciences that race is socially constructed and imbued meaning, in part, by social factors.” Using the McCall article on intersectionality, the Freedman article and the articles and videos on Rachel Dolezal’s claim to being black, explain how race has been socially constructed and imbued meaning in this instance.

    • Using any combination of articles/videos listed above and below answer these questions: What visual cues do we use to determine someone’s race or gender? And, what has shaped your ideas of race and gender that inform how you perceive someone’s racial or gender identity?

    • Using any combination of articles/videos listed above and below answer these questions: Does a person need to accept society’s definition of them as being male or female or of a certain race or ethnicity? Or can a person claim any racial or gender identity they wish?

    • Using the article by Walters et al. (PDF 5.2 above), McCall’s article on intersectionality, and the videos by and about Ruby Rose, explain the concepts of “two-spirit” and “gender fluid” and contrast them to Bruce Jenner’s definition of gender identity in the video above.

  • Blog Comment (15 Points): 150-200 words August 5:

    Comment on another class member’s blog post. Your comment can extend a classmate’s argument by adding to it (more evidence, another point of view, etc.) or respectfully challenge it. Your comment should contain 3-4 of the following: questions, another point of view, evidence from outside sources, insights from the weekly readings.