August 17, 2012

Hey everyone – grades up through week 6 will be updated on ANGEL by tomorrow (Saturday) morning. Illness narrative grades will be posted by Sunday night. IF you have any questions about grading, or if you think we missed a post or something like that, you have until Monday morning at 10am to bring it to our attention before we submit grades at noon.

Please direct all of you grading questions/issues to Linda



August 15, 2012

Hey everyone! Just a friendly reminder that illness narratives are due today. I have already started reading the ones that have been submitted and so far, they are really good (I hope that trend continues!) Also surveys are due tomorrow so make sure you get them done by then.

Besides the logistical stuff, I also wanted to sign out by saying what a great time I had this semester. This was the first time this class has ever been offered and I spent all year trying to make it informative, concise, and somewhat fun. I hope you guys have at least some understanding now of how complex health is – its not just numbers on a chart… its facilitated by whole set of ideologies, relationships, and structures. I also hope you guys have earned an appreciation for anthropology and that if you are still taking courses next year, you consider taking some of the higher level classes like:

  • ANP 270: Women and Health from an International Perspective
  • ANP 370: Culture, Health and Illness
  • ANP 425: Issues in Medical Anthropology
  • ANP 834/825: Special Topics in Medical Anthropology

Also, if there are any topics that you want to know more about, I am happy to meet with you guys during the fall and talk about your interests. Similarly, if you are interested in my Adderall project, I would love to hear from you and tell you more about my research.

Although you have taken a bunch of surveys, I did want to give you guys an opportunity to tell me “face to face” about your experience in the course. Did you love it? Room for improvement? Favorite unit? Movie you hated? I want to know! Leave your comments on this [page] and add to the discussion. I would definitely appreciate hearing from you, even if its just a “Bye Taz, have a nice life” 🙂


August 13, 2012

Congratulations, it’s our final week!  It has been a pleasure working with all of you this semester and I really appreciate all of the hard work you have put into this course. I have released the schedule this week and posted the two ANGEL surveys for you to get started on. They are worth 10 points each and to get full credit, you must complete it fully with at least 1-4 sentences for each short answer. Be honest in your responses because it will help me decide what to keep and change for next summer.

Most of you probably know where you stand in the class. Just in case you want to double check your calculations, here is how we do the grade breakdowns:

  • (2 posts x 6 weeks x 10 points) – 10 points dropped grade = 110 points
  • (2 comments x 6 weeks x 10 points) – 10 points dropped grade = 110 points
  • 2 surveys x 10 points = 20 points
  • 1 project x 50 points = 50 points

Total possible = 290 points

You can refer to the grading page [link] for more information

We will post your illness narrative grades on ANGEL for you to see what you received sometime next week. If you still have questions about the illness narrative project, make sure to leave a comment on the project page [link]

I’ll put up a couple more wrap up announcements this week so make sure to check back…

August 10, 2012

Hey class – I just wanted to announce that there will be two online course surveys that will be posted on ANGEL next week. One is a general survey about the anthropology online courses and the other one is more specifically about the use of the course blog. These are worth 10 points a piece so make sure you complete them by the end of the day Thursday 8/16. It is really important that you are as honest as possible in your responses because we really want to make these courses better – try to write at least 2-5 sentences for each short answer. That being said, it may take you up to an hour to complete each, so make sure you don’t wait until the very last minute. I will let you know as soon as they are up.

In the meantime, Linda is updating all of your blog post/comment grades on ANGEL – if you see any errors on the grade book, you need to contact her ASAP to get it sorted out. will post more about calculating grades and point totals, etc. this weekend so stay tuned…

August 9, 2012

Hi everyone – I am sure all of you have already interviewed someone for your illness narrative project and started writing up your paper (right??) If not, you need to get started ASAP because this project is a significant chunk of your grade. I have revised the rubric to include information about citations so make sure you download a fresh copy. A few things that I want to clarify and re-iterate about the illness narrative project.

  1. This is not a pass/fail blog assignment – it is a final project and will be graded for quality of writing and anthropological analysis.
  2. Your writing should be clear and compelling – take us through the illness experience with the person and convince us why their story is worth hearing.
  3. You anthropological analysis should be clear – what does this experience say about our cultural values? Our social groups? Our medical system?
  4. Let us know you actually learned something this semester – refer to the course materials, which approach does your analysis fit into? Use the vocabulary! “political ecology” “Cartesian dualism” “the sick role”… Prove that you understand how anthropology is invaluable in studying health and illness.
  5. Follow the prompt exactly – Make sure you include the title page, section headings, page numbers, inline citations, etc. Use the checklist and make sure you aren’t losing points.
  6. Please cite your sources correctly for this paper – For the blog assignments we were rather lenient but here, you must use complete citations including inline citations and a works cited page. The format we want you to use is “Chicago Style” which is common in Anthropology. You can get the details here:

This paper can make or break your grade so please make sure to heed this advice. If you have any questions, feel free to comment on the illness narrative project page [here]. Good luck!

August 7, 2012

Hey class – apparently we has some technical difficulties this week (almost made it through the whole semester without a big hiccup!) The video link should now work although you may need to restart your browser so the site is fully refreshed. Also, the links to the post prompts are now up so you can start working on those.Thanks for your patience and way to use the website to let me know about the issue! 🙂

July 31, 2012

Hi everyone, due to technical difficulties getting the video formats converted, I had to remove my talk about the Social Life of Adderall. I guess you will just have to come see me in person or read my dissertation to find out more about my research if you are interested! I did however, manage to re-record the talk on the Medicalization of menstruation. As you know, I am a pharmaceutical anthropologist so this week is heavily on the role of pharma in biomedicine as well American culture. I am really excited to go through your posts this week to see how you think these technologies influence your own perceptions of illness and health.

Also, I have posted the rubric for the illness narrative project which is worth 50 points. Make sure you read though it ASAP so you understand what you need to do before the last week of the semester. Next week is the last week of course materials, so week 7 will be all about working on the illness narratives and reflecting on the course through a couple of surveys I will be posting later on.


July 28, 2012

I received emails from several of you saying that the course website was down sometime between 11pm and Midnight on Friday. If this affected your ability to turn in your posts for this week, please make sure you post them to the blog by Saturday 7/28 at midnight and we won’t count them as late. If you emailed me your assignment, please post it to the website as I will not grade anything that has been emailed to me. Also, I am assuming you will all read this announcement so I will not respond to the emails that were sent to me regarding this matter, so don’t take it personally 🙂

July 24, 2012

W4 Activity post –  I have noticed that some of you are picking episodes that do not directly deal with the biomedical system such as “I am a shopoholic”, etc. If you do pick an episode like this, you will be required to explain exactly why you interpreted this to be a “medical condition” and this episode to be reflective of an “illness narrative”. I am not saying you are wrong, but I thinks important to think about how you used your own definitions of health and illness when making the selection in the first place, as well as the way you are interpreting the narrative. If you already posted, go back and edit it before Friday with your explanations – thanks!

July 19, 2012

Hey guys, Linda has now posted your assignment grades on ANGEL for weeks 1&2. There are a few things we want to mention so that you improve on your performance and continue to do well this semester. If you received less than 10 points it is because:

  • You did not do the post/comment
  • Your post/comment was under the required word length
  • Your post/comment did not properly address the questions
  • You did not “publish” the post and only saved it as a draft
  • You did not categorize the post correctly
  • You did not include citations

Most notably, people are leaving out citations and trying to sneak by under the word limit (WP tells us your word-count so don’t think you can pull a fast one…) Linda was lenient during the first two weeks and did give some partial credit. However, from now on, if you fail to meet any of these criteria you will get a zero on your assignment. Also, we after reading through the posts/comments there are a few points we wanted you to think about further.

In Week 1, many of you found it hard to classify old age an illness because they are “natural” processes. However, all illnesses, including cancer, could be considered natural processes. However the way we define terms like “natural” or “normal” are culturally constructed. That is, society, politics and economics shape the way we define how our bodies should behave including how low our cholesterol levels should be at the age of 45 to how often a woman should menstruate each year. The cutoff point between normal/abnormal or healthy/unhealthy is extremely arbitrary – In week 5, we will talk more about how culture shapes our definitions of illness.

In Week 2, many of you said you were surprised where the US ranks in terms of life expectancy when you took the health equity quiz. What do you think this reflects about our health system, our societal structure and our assumptions about health in the US? Although we may have advanced biomedical knowledge and technologies, good healthcare only benefits those who have access to it. Also, many of you were surprised by the fact that Latino immigrants began with better overall health, but slowly declined the longer they lived in the U.S. How do you think discrimination plays a factor in these statistics?

Finally, in Week 2, many of you used the example of cystic fibrosis among white Americans. You spoke a lot about genetics, which is fine, but we want to you think about the significance of this disparity beyond the biological difference. That is – what are the social/economic/political processes that contribute to this disparity, the way it is detected, and the way it is treated? The point of this exercise was to contextualize these differences within a certain social background.

Overall, most of you are doing great – we just want to make sure you leave this course with an understanding of the main ideas. We will continue to give you general feedback like this on your posts.

If you have any specific questions regarding your assignments or grades, please contact Linda directly by email:

July 16, 2012

Hey guys – the week 3 schedule is up. There are two films to watch this week – one is available for free through PBS (link provided). The other film “The Horse Boy” is not a documentary and not available for free online. You can rent it from Amazon Instant Video for seven days for the low price of $2.99 here [link]. You can also get it on Netflix Instant if you are a subscriber. It is also available through blockbuster and most other video rental services.I think its a pretty good movie and illustrates a lot of the concepts from the week so hopefully you enjoy it.

Linda, our TA is finishing up the grades from the first two weeks. They should be posted by the end of the day tomorrow on ANGEL. I will put up another announcement tomorrow clarifying how we grade these assignments and who to contact if you have any questions.

Also, very interesting posts last week. I am glad you were all so honest about your health equity quiz! Most of us are lucky enough to have health insurance here, especially as MSU students, so its hard to digest how far behind we are compared to other countries. This week’s film “Sick Around the World” will give you some more food for thought and maybe some ideas on how we can continue to improve health in the U.S.

Have a great week! 🙂

July 11, 2012

Hi All – Just a quick note about grades – we will start updating them on ANGEL this weekend. Please make sure you are reading the post/comment prompts carefully and that you are following all the directions. Here are some suggestions:

  1. 1. Look at some of your classmates posts for clues on whether or not you are titling your posts correctly, or maybe you forgot to insert a picture, or include your sources. This does not mean copy their post, but get an idea of formatting or things you forgot.
  2. If you have a specific question about the prompt or what you are supposed to do, leave a comment on the prompt and I or someone else will clarify.
  3. I use bullet points in the prompt to make it easier for you to know what to complete. You might want to use bullet points in your posts to make sure we see that you addressed all of the required points.
  4. Its better to write too much rather than too little – there is a word counting feature that we use to grade your assignments so keep that in mind.
  5. You can edit your posts for the week anytime before Friday at midnight, even if you published them earlier in the week. We will grade whatever has been submitted by the due date so feel free to change your posts for this week if you noticed you made a mistake after reading this announcement.

Hopefully these tips help you as you continue with your posts and comments this semester. Happy Blogging 🙂

July 9, 2012

Hey Everyone! Great job with the posts from last week – I am really enjoying reading through your entries and comments. I noticed a few of you are still having trouble grasping the difference between illness and disease – we we definitely talk more about this in the coming weeks. Just to reiterate…

Disease is a strictly biological phenomenon whereas Illness also includes psychological and social dimensions. So in western culture, understanding the biological disease component is still a significant part of the illness experience for many people. I hope this clarifies it a bit.

Another thing I noticed is that a few of your aren’t citing your sources. If you fail to do so, you are not meeting the criteria of the assignment and will not get your points. You may list them at the bottom or include them in the body of the post. Be thoughtful about the sources you are using – try to steer away from commercial websites and look at scholarly work.

I posted the materials for week 2 today. There is a lot of material in this unit because we are covering two approaches in one week. Make sure you get started early enough so you have time to go through everything. Its really facinating stuff (at least to me) so hopefully it it keeps you interested. Keep up the good work!!

July 6, 2012

Hi Class! Reminder, the W1 Reflection and Activity Posts are due today by midnight. Comments on those posts are due by Sunday at midnight. Directions for the comments can be found in the corresponding post prompts for this week. A couple of things that I wanted to clarify with you…

  • Sometimes your comment won’t show up right away until I go in and approve it. I don’t know why, but don’t worry, I go in everyday and approve them all so they will show up within 24 hours.
  • You should definitely go back and read the comments that people write on your posts – and you should definitely respond to them! Although only the assigned comments are graded, the point of the post/comment set up is to simulate classroom discussion – so get to discussing!
  • You are always welcome to comment on as many other people’s posts/comments as you would like. Just remember to be thoughtful and respectful!

And for the love of Anthropology, please categorize your posts correctly if you want credit! Also, change your display names to read First and Last – otherwise it will not be compatible with our grading system and your scores will not get recorded.


July 4, 2012

Hey Class – hope you have a great Holiday!

July 3, 2012

Hello Class! Just a reminder that the practice blog and comments are due tomorrow. I noticed that a number of you did not categorize your blog correctly. I have mentioned this several times – please categorize your post under “practice post” not “uncategorized”. If you don’t do this correctly, you will not receive credit for your post. If you have no idea how to do this or what I am talking about, please watch the tutorial under the “course introduction” page titled “how to use your class blog”. Also, the username and password needed to access the lecture videos was sent to you in an email from me last Friday – it is NOT your wordpress username/password. Happy blogging 🙂

July 2, 2012

Hi All, just a quick note about Gravatar. Once you sign up for the service with your MSU email address, it might say it didn’t link properly with the WordPress site… however, it appears that your picture will show up any way so don’t let it discourage you. Set up your Gravatar and then check your comments to see if your picture is showing up. Good luck!

July 2, 2012

Hello Class! I am so glad to see you guys sharing your practice posts. Please make sure to go through the course introduction page materials before anything else. I have released the week 1 schedule so you can get started watching the lectures, doing the readings and working on the illness activity. Its probably best to do the items in order so that you are fully prepared to do the blog assignments.

A couple of things about the blog assignments:

  • Remember, you can always submit your post/comment earlier
  • You can comment on more than one post
  • You can edit a post once is it published by accessing it through your dashboard and then hitting the update button.
  • You can also edit a comment by clicking on the edit button, and saving your changes.
  • PLEASE remember to categorize them correctly, otherwise you will not receive credit for the assignment.

July 1, 2012

Hello Class! Hopefully by now, most of you have logged into the site, changed your profile, created a Gravatar and are working on your practice posts. I know the server is running really slow today with everyone logging in for the first time – be patient and the pages will eventually load. I will have the first week’s lecture materials up by the end of the day tomorrow. The practice blog is due by Wednesday so start working on it – I am excited to read all about you!

June 29, 2012

Hello Class! Welcome to ANP 204: Introduction to Medical Anthropology (online). The page you are currently on is the homepage for this site. It is also the announcements page where we will be posting any relevant information or updates about the class. It is important that you check this page at least once a day because we will not be sending out class-wide email reminders for everything. So if its posted here — you are responsible for knowing and doing it. So add it to your favorites, save it on your smartphones, or make it your homepage for the next month and half. For now, please start looking around the site and make sure to check out the course introduction page under the schedule tab. There is where you will find a number of tutorials to help you start this class off right. It is also where you will find information about your first practice assignment. I look forward to “meeting” you all and having a great semester together… see you online!