Final Week of Class: 8/14/2019

Hello Class,

We’re almost through! Your last two assignments are due tomorrow at midnight, do not forget to comment on one of your fellow co-learner’s blog, and to post your final. If you are doing an honor’s option please email me your honor’s option paper and I will pass your grade onto Dr. W for him to submit to the honor’s college.

I am halfway through your blogs and activity posts for this week and I should have them done by tonight so you’ll be able to see an accurate grade before Thursday’s due date. I have really enjoyed reading your feedback on the blog page, and I will be relaying your feedback to Dr. W so that possibly some parts of the course can be updated and changed. I have really enjoyed reading your blogs and activity posts this semester, it was fun to watch you all learn and grow as you progressed through the material. I hope that you all enjoy the rest of your summer, and the upcoming school year. Except for those of you who are finishing up your BA this summer, instead I wish you good luck and prosperity out in the real world.

If you have any questions about anything so far please feel free to reach out to me.

It was a blast learning with you all,

Livy D.

Final Week of Class: 8/12/2019

Hello Class,

Welcome to the last week of class! We’re in the homestretch but there is still a lot that needs to be done before I can give you your final grades. You have a lot to do this week, on Tuesday your final blog and activity post are due. On Thursday your blog comments and your final are due. I will do my best to have your grades inputted and uploaded to d2l so that you can see your final grade before I have to officially submit your grades. I also want to encourage you to provide constructive and honest feedback on your SIRS forms, this is my first time ever instructing a class on my own and I would like to know what I can do better.

I also want to address some things that I noticed in your blogs and activity posts this past week. One of the articles you were required to read talked about FGM and Muslim culture, I just want to make it clear that FGM is not something that Islam requires of its female followers. Prior to the introduction of Islam to certain cultures and nations FGM was already practiced, and when Islam was introduced the culture became mixed with the religion. Some cultural practices may have even been interpreted as being essential to the religion based on different interpretations of the Quaran and the Hadiths.

I also believe this article is the one that tries to dis spell myths about sexual performance and FGM. The thing is FGM does effect a woman’s sexual performance, 90% of orgasms experienced by women are the result of clitoral stimulation. Even when a woman has an orgasm through vaginal penetration, or from stimulation of the labia or g-spot, that is still clitoral stimulation since the nerves of the clitoris are connected to those sensitive areas. Depending on the FGM procedure this effects the woman’s ability to orgasm, whether it slightly diminishes or completely prevents the woman from having an orgasm depends on the procedure.

I recognize that FGM or female circumcision is a hard topic to discuss, it is extremely controversial worldwide and it hotly debated. I haven’t read through all your comments yet but from what I’ve read you’ve all been able to have constructive and thoughtful conversations about this topic. FGM is a complicated subject within anthropology, because we are taught that it is important that we respect all cultural practices even if they go against our own sense of justice and morality. Yet at the same time a lot of us are motivated by social justice, so it places a lot of us in a dilemma.

Lastly, in regards to your activity posts. I noticed some of you struggled with the concept of social detriment of health, if I saw that you misunderstood the concept I wrote you a private message in d2l because I wanted to make sure you saw it. Social detriments of health are things that are created, maintained or developed by a society that will ultimately affect your health. This can be something that is socially constructed like race, gender, or caste but it can also be something more concrete like transportation or location.

If you have any questions or any concerns please feel free to reach out to me!

Good luck writing!

Sixth Week of Class: 8/8/2019

Hello Class,

I apologize for not updating the class announcements yesterday. Life is currently very hectic. I just wanted to remind you all that your blog and activity post are due Friday and your comments are due Sunday. Next week, which is our last week you will need to post your blog on TUESDAY, and your comment on the blog and your final will be due THURSDAY. Your final post should be posted on the class blog.

Also, for those of you who are interested in doing an honor’s option for the class, if you haven’t done so you need to fill out the form on the honor’s college’s website. Dr. W has only received one honor’s option application and urged all the course advisors to tell you honor’s students that you need to fill out the paperwork yourself. Neither him nor any of the course advisors can fill out the paperwork for you.

If you have any comments or questions please email me and let know,

Livy D.

(PS: This will be posted to the class website).

Sixth Week of Class: 8/5/2019

Hello Class!

Holy hamburgers it’s already August! And this is the second to last week of class, and the last class to keep a regular schedule. Next week you’ll all have to submit your posts Tuesday and have your comments submitted by Thursday. If you have a concern please let me know ASAP so we can address it before the grading deadline, which I think is the following Monday or Wednesday. As of now, I have the grading all caught up, everything is in so if you see you are missing an assignment or a grade please let me know.

You may have noticed that I provide comments on your blogs and/or activity posts every week. The comments are meant to help you think constructively about your posts and to provide hints and ideas on the subject matter. I would strongly recommend looking over my comments if you haven’t already, because they may help you when it comes to writing your final response. If you noticed that there is no response from me a certain week and you would like to get a response from me please let me know I will provide one.

Also, with the final response in mind I wanted to make some things clear. for the final response I will need: (1) to see references, both a full reference page and in text citations, it doesn’t matter which style you use. (2) You need to use paragraphs. (3) While the guidelines do not say that you have to make gender a topic in your paper, you need to focus the paper on gender. (4) If you use the epidemiological approach do not forget the anthropology part, you need to provide a social analysis to explain the statistics. (5) Remember to refer to the assignment page to look at the requirements for the final project such as word count and number of required sources.

Lastly, I wanted to talk about your blog posts and some things that came up in them. You all did a great job in your blog posts but there were some things that I wanted to address. Race and gender as we know it are relatively new concepts. Our ideas of race have only been around since the slave trade, prior people were lumped together based on cultural group not on skin color. Our categories are also unique to the US, did you know Brazil has over sixty different racial classifications? Our concept of sex and gender is also quite new, how we conceive of men and women is a product of the Victorian era, and even since then the idea of what makes a man a man and a woman a woman has been in constant flux. Likewise, this is also highly variable depending on the culture you belong to. This is an important thing to recognize, and falls true to a lot of things that are prevalent in our society that we think to be universals such as sexuality and disability status.

Also, it’s important to realize that our identity is very much a journey, and this is especially true for trans people. The Burkett article talks about how Caitlin is reinforcing stereotypes of femininity. It’s important to keep in mind that the vanity fair article and a lot of the material in this assignment was taken when Caitlin was just coming out and coming into her identity as a woman. This meant finding out what it meant to be a woman to Caitlin, and for a lot of people who just come out this means indulging in some things that are a bit more stereotypically feminine or masculine, and finding out what being a wo/man means to them. Being trans it just as much about finding who you really are, as it is about becoming who you are.

As always if you have any questions or concerns please let me know.

Happy Learning!

Fifth Week of Class: 7/31/2019

Hello Class!

As always I just want to remind you that your blog and activity post are due Friday and that your comments are due Sunday. Please let me know if you have a conflict and I’ll accommodate you as best as I can. I also wanted to give you a heads up, the seventh week of class is a short week, which means your posts will be due Tuesday and your comments will be due Thursday. I wanted to give you a heads up so you have time to plan. This is only for the last week of class, and I’ll be giving you regular reminders.

On Monday I promised to share with you some optional materials regarding disability and intersectionality since it was left out of the required materials. I realize you have a lot of materials that you need to get through and I don’t want to add to your workload, but disability is an important part of our society and it’s something that we often do not think about.

This is a short video about the experiences of a man who is both disabled and what he refers to as queer. Warning, his stories and descriptions are a bit graphic, and he also takes his shirt off in the beginning to show off his tattoos.
This is a general video about intersectionality, but it also talks about how disability intersects with other identities.
This is a very good talk on the intersection of disability and race

Fifth Week of Class: 7/29/2019

Hello Class!

Welcome to the fifth week of class, we’re getting towards the end so just a friendly reminder to think about your final paper, it’ll be coming up sooner than you think. I personally can’t believe that we’re already in the last week of July, this summer has gone by really quickly.

Quick updates, the anphelp has had a lot of issues with the wordpress sites this year for unknown reasons, and they’ve received a lot of emails about people not being able to post and/or comment. If you have had this issue please let me know and email me your comment so that I can give you a grade. I know it’s incredibly frustrating and nerve racking, but we’ll get through it. Speaking of grades, some of you may have noticed you have yet to be graded on your week four assignments, this is just because I’m running a little behind. I got side tracked this weekend, but you will have those grades before Friday.

This week we’ll be focusing on intersectionality! Intersectionality is a fun topic because it is really introspective and makes you think about your own place in the world and all the factors that make you who you are. I’m also planning on posting some optional material for you to review if you are really interested and excited about this topic. I especially want to include some information about the intersection of gender, sexuality and disability. None of the articles or materials directly focus on disability, which is unfortunate since disability has a major impact on identity and it’s something that rarely gets discussed outside of a biomedical lens.

With that being said, I do not believe the two individuals that you can write your blog post on for this week are good examples of intersectionality. If you choose to write your blog on Rachel Dolezal do not focus on whether this woman is in the right or wrong to identify as black, instead focus on why we find issue with her claiming this identity. If you choose Caitlin Jenner do not focus on who this person is, it’s okay to talk about who they are, but the main focus of your blog should be on the aspects of their identity ie: Transgender, white, her sexuality (she refuses to talk about it but that you can still talk about her silence around the subject), and income status. I also have no problems with you bringing in your own personal experiences into the blog posts, just be respectful of others and be open minded.

If you have any questions please email me as soon as you can, the sooner you do the sooner I can answer your questions.

Happy Learning and remember to keep an open mind!

Fourth Week of Class: 7/24/2019 Please Read

Hello Class!

We’re nearing the end of the fourth week, which means we only have three weeks before the end of the semester. This means you should probably start working on your final response, or at least thinking about it. It’ll sneak up on you before you know it. Also since it is the fourth week, if you were interested in pursuing an honor’s option you need to let me know and submit the paperwork by this Sunday. This deadline is non-negotiable!

I also wanted to let you all know that if you have any issues that are preventing you from posting and doing your assignments for class, please let me know. I’m quite flexible, and if you have a good reason to miss the deadlines for the posts I can accommodate you.

As always make sure you do the blog post and activity post, and have them submitted by Friday at midnight. Also make sure you comment on someone’s post by Sunday at midnight. If you missed my update from Monday this week we will be looking at gender based violence (GBV), and some of the material may be triggering as it deals with sexual assault, rape, and domestic violence. If you are worried that certain material will trigger you, you do not have to review that material, but you still have to do the assignments.

I also want to make you all aware of MSU’s policy on mandatory reporting. As an employee of MSU I am required to report on issues surrounding sexual assault or abuse if you disclose that information regardless if you want me to report it or not. I do not agree with this policy, since it takes control away from the survivor, but it is not something that I can challenge. If you need to talk to someone about a particular issue that you have faced you can contact these resources.MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services, U-Lifeline (online mental health resource), National Sexual Assault Hotline: 24-hour online and phone hotline – 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673).

I hope you all have a good week.

Happy Learning!

Fourth Week of Class: 7/22/2019 PLEASE READ

Hello Class!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I enjoyed reading your posts this week, and I was happy to see that many of you were challenged by the processes of birth and death presented in the class and in your own countries. In our authoritative biomedical model we often assume that giving birth in the hospital in one of the healthiest options for mother and child. When there are many things about giving birth in hospitals that are problematic, such as giving birth lying on your back, having movement restricted, having unnecessary c-sections, or not receiving perineal massage. Oftentimes when you have assistance from a doula or a midwife surgical procedures can be avoided since they have non-invasive medical knowledge, such as massage, that can make these things unnecessary.

IMPORTANT: I really want you all to read this post before you dive into the material. This week we will be looking at gender based violence (GBV), and some of the material may be triggering as it deals with sexual assault, rape, and domestic violence. If you are worried that certain material will trigger you, you do not have to review that material, but you still have to do the assignments. I also want to make you all aware of MSU’s policy on mandatory reporting. As an employee of MSU I am required to report on issues surrounding sexual assault or abuse if you disclose that information regardless if you want me to report it or not. I do not agree with this policy, since it takes control away from the survivor, but it is not something that I can challenge. If you need to talk to someone about a particular issue that you have faced you can contact these resources.MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services, U-Lifeline (online mental health resource), National Sexual Assault Hotline: 24-hour online and phone hotline – 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673).

I also wanted to address some of your activity posts. I’ve noticed for your international/foundation source for your activities many of you are posting stuff from charities and international foundations that are focused on humanitarian projects. These are not reputable sources and I will not be accepting these as sources in the future. Instead I recommend you look at WHO, NIH, UNICEF, Die Spiegel, BBC, Al Jazeera, Times of India, academic journals, or any other reputable informational source.

I also noticed that some of you who used Long’s article in your blog post struggled with using concepts from her article. I understand completely, because the concepts that she was talking about were quite abstract, and quite advanced in some ways. The main points of her article was that with biomedicine changes traditional ideas around death and how death occurs, changing the script. For example, instead of dying in your home surrounded by family it is becoming more common to die in a hospital/hospice house where they can more easily take care of the remains or intervene to make things less painful. She also focuses heavily on how biomedicine shapes how we think about good and bad death, or how to die well. Biomedicine complicates death by drawing out the process or keeping our bodies alive when everything else has shut down, and these things have added to different cultural concepts of dying well. If you have any more questions about this please let me know.

You all are doing fantastic! Keep up the good work, and keep plugging away!

Third Week of Class: 7/17/2019

Hello Class!

Congratulations, we are at the end of week three in the class which means we are almost halfway done with the course! I hope you all are enjoying the material. As I said in the last post I think a lot of you will like this week do to the subject matter. I forgot that a lot of the stuff on birth is centered on Inuit birthing practices, and while I personally wish there was a bit more diversity in the material on births, there is still a lot you can learn about this topic even if we just focus on this specific example. I should also note that there is a bit of misinformation in the lecture video on Inuit Birth. The Canadians did not have good intentions on relocating the Inuit and attempting to make them a sedentary people. There goal was to assimilate them, to claim their land and to erase them from the population. It was not to help them in any way. In no way is that a good intention, and there is no way that that can even be misconstrued as good.

Looking over the material for this week you may have noticed that there is a lot of reading material for this week of the course. To get through this I recommend that you read strategically, specifically the article Inuit Way article. It is over forty pages long, and you are not expected to read the whole thing. I would suggest just reading the section on Childrearing, family dynamics and modern family dynamics as well as anything else you might find interesting. Also, do not be scared off by the page length from Jordan’s article on authoritative knowledge, it says its sixty pages but the last twenty pages are interview transcripts. It’s a really good article and I recommend any of you who are interested in childbirth, birthing practices, or medicine to read this article.

In addition, if you guys have any questions about how to do the assignments or if you want to do something a littler different for an assignment please reach out to me. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and if I don’t get back to you please email me again. I get a lot of emails and things don’t always show up in the right folder.

I hope you guys have a great weekend!

Third Week of Class: 7/15/2019

Hello Class!

Sorry this is coming a few hours late, I’ve been quite ill and I’m running behind on a lot of things. Despite being sick, I really enjoyed reading your posts this week. Many of your blog posts were quite personal, and I’m glad that you were able to share some of that information with the rest of the class. Some of you even boldly shared your experiences with periods, which made me really happy that you were comfortable enough to share your experiences.

I also read all of your activity posts, and I wanted to point out a few things. It is very easy to pigeon hole people and to think of them as one or two dimensional people, or to stereotype them based on their cultural backgrounds. It’s important to recognize that culture and people are fluid and coming from a cultural background does not dictate how you will act or behave. It’s also important to recognize that culture is dynamic and changes over time. For example, a lot of you are researching African countries or Asian countries that have a history of colonization, and many of them have had their ideas about women corrupted or altered based on the colonizing powers. Likewise, the stability of a country can also effect how women are viewed and treated.

There may have been an issue with your comments. For some reason there have been a lot of technological glitches this summer involving these wordpress sites, and it may have effected your ability to post comments on your colleagues blogs. If you posted a comment and have not retrieved a grade for it please contact me because that means that I have NOT seen your comment. As of now I have updated all of the grades, so if you have a zero for something you did, please let me know. Also if you have any issues posting or commenting in the future, please reach out to me

As for this week, I think a lot of you will like the material. This week is on maternal health and life cycles. A lot of you have expressed interest in learning about this topic, so it should be enjoyable for a lot of you! Even if you are not interested in maternal health or the human life cycle, you will probably still find this week to be quite interesting.

I hope you all have a fantastic time learning.

Second Week of Class: 7/10/2019

Hello Class!

I hope you have all got a chance to start in on the material, and that you find this week to be interesting. Honestly, when I first read the articles for this week and watched the movies I giggled a bit and felt uncomfortable even though I am a female bodied person. But the information is very good and definitely worth the uncomfortable feelings! This is incredibly important information for you to know, not just for this class but for your life. Even if you are not a woman and will personally never experience menopause, menstruation, or PMS these issues will still profoundly effect you and those you most deeply care about in your life. It might be a bit awkward and embarrassing to watch, read and write about this stuff but that doesn’t mean you should avoid it.

Please make sure you do the activity post, the blog post, and comment on other people’s blogs. I will also be commenting on your blog posts as well. Also make sure you read the prompts thoroughly and ask questions if you are unsure and provide proper citations! If you have trouble with posting please contact me or and they can help you with the technical stuff.

Happy Learning!

Second Week of Class: 7/8/2019

Hello Class!

I hope you had a great Fourth of July and enjoyed spending time with your friends and family. I was able to see some of my own friends and family this week, and eat some really good grilled food. As a Michigan native I am especially a big fan of Kogels hot dogs.

First off, I’m working my way through your posts. As of this time I have graded all of your activity posts, and awarded you points for commenting on each others blogs. I will most likely be done with grading your blog posts today. Tomorrow I will grade your introductory posts, which are due tonight by midnight so if you haven’t done that there is still time. Also, apparently there was an issue with the servers last night so some of you were not able to submit your comments on time. Because of this I will accept late comments but you must do it by the end of today and send me a notification.

A few things on your posts. First off, you guys did a great job, but I wanted to talk about some things. When I was reading your posts I noticed that almost all of you did not provide in text citations for your sources, and I’m pretty sure no one provided proper formatted references. From this point on I want you to provide in text citations and formatted references, you can do it in MLA, APA, Chicago or any type of citation style otherwise from this point on I’ll dock points. I also noticed that a lot of you forgot to include 3 extra sources in your activity posts, which resulted in a loss of five points. Make sure you read the whole prompt carefully and message me if you are unsure of anything.

I also want to make sure you understand what medical systems are. Medical systems are different types of systems composed of cultural ideas, theories, and different sciences that inform how doctors treat patients. In biomedicine doctors rely on biology, chemistry and western science to treat patients. While in Ayuveda physicians use religion, cosmology, and herbalism. Biomedicine is practiced all over the world, but it can still be influenced by the culture that is using it. If you have any questions on this please let me know.

First Week of Class: 7/3/2019

Hello Class!

I hope your weekend is going well! I want to give everyone a quick update on how things are going so far. I thought I would just take care of some housekeeping things as well as address some common issues that have come up.

I have received quite a few emails about people not being able to access the course materials, the password you need to access the materials is both on the announcement page on D2L and in that mass email I sent you. It is NOT your msu password. It is also important that you create your wordpress account using your MSU email and information, if you use your personal email account you will not be able to access the materials. Likewise, if you have not received an email to edit the course page you should email me ASAP. Also, if you tried to access this website yesterday morning and were not able to access it, it was because the course servers went down. The problem should be fixed and you should have no problems accessing the site.

I am also very happy to see that quite a few of you are taking advantage of the extra credit assignment. If you haven’t written your introductory post yet I would highly encourage you to do so, not only is it worth 15 pts of extra credit or one whole assignment, but it’ll help us all get to know each other a little better.

First Week Of Class: 7/1/2019

Hello Class!

Welcome to Anthropology 270: women and health. Hopefully you have all gotten my email that I sent out last week and have read the previous announcement. I will be posting on the home page under announcements every Monday, and every Wednesday so make sure to check this website at least twice a week. Previously I said I would only do announcements once a week, but I realized that might not be enough to keep everyone on the same page. I will keep previous announcements on this page so that you can go back and look in case you missed an announcement. I will also send out emails throughout the course too, but if you have questions please feel free to email me ( or write in the question section of the website.

This week is split into two halves. The first half of the week we’ll be discussing five different types of anthropological theory. The second half of the class is more focused on biomedicine and different types of medical systems. The movie that is posted for you to watch “Vanishing under the knife” is a bit dated, but is still very relevant and worth paying attention too. Especially if you are interested in a career in medicine. I also have some issues with the links to the Chinese and Ayuvedic medicine pages, since they are written in an ethnocentric way, if you would like to talk about these links or anything that you find problematic about any of the materials for this class please do so.

Based on the material presented this week you have three assignments you need to complete. You need to complete an activity post based on the prompt written for the assignment, that will be due on Friday by Midnight. You will also need to post a blog post under the “class blog” heading in the menu based on the prompt, this is also worth 15 pts and is due Friday. Your last thing you need to do for this week is to comment on one persons blog post, this is worth 15 pts and is due on this upcoming Sunday. The specific details of this assignment are written up under the “Schedule” heading in the menu bar under “Week 1.”

BONUS: If you have extra time this week and are interested in some extra credit, you can write an introductory post for a whopping 15 pts of extra credit! This is due next Monday (7/9/19) by midnight.

Look forward to hearing from you,

Livy D.

First Announcement!

Congratulations! If you are reading this that means that you have found the correct website that we’ll be using for this course. Just to give you some information about myself, I am your instructor of record, Livy Drexler, I’m a third year anthropology PhD student and I specialize in Native American and disability studies. A lot of what I do is tied to gender and sexuality even though I’m not directly studying it. It’s amazing how many aspects of our lives are impacted by gender and sexuality especially when it comes to health and our bodies. It’s important to learn about their impact not just for academic purposes, but for ourselves whether we be man, woman, or non-binary.

Every week on Monday I will be posting an announcement regarding your assignment and materials for the week, and I’ll be alerting you to course updates as well so it is very important you check this website on a regular basis. D2L will be used only for posting grades.

If you have any questions with the content of this course, reading materials, projects, or problems you might be having in the class feel free to reach out to me. I can’t promise I’ll get back right away, but I’ll respond as soon as I can. My email is, please make sure to include your name and course number in the subject bar. Also, PLEASE don’t call me ms., mrs. or Ma’am. If you need to give me a title you can call me TA Drexler, or TA Livy, but I would prefer you just refer to me as Livy.

If you are having technical problems with the course, such as having trouble accessing wordpress, or any problems associated with this website please email They’ll be more than happy to help you, but remember to put your name and course number in the subject bar.

I hope you all enjoy this class and that you learn a lot!

Livy D.