Concept of Health: Students will discuss the concept of “health”

Concept of Health: Students will discuss the concept of “health”

Paper guidelines:
• Students will discuss the concept of “health” from a variety of theoretical perspectives
including biomedicine, critical medical anthropology (CMA), and lay/popular beliefs about
• Students will conduct an analysis of a current health issue using CMA
• Students will consult primary sources, critically assess findings and compare results.
• Students will develop competence in scholarly writing including the following: development
of a well-structured argumentative paper that contains a thesis statement; use of
introductory and concluding paragraphs; use of appropriate grammar; constructing wellstructured
sentences and paragraphs; and citation and references for primary source
In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, journalist Rebecca Skloot (2011) tells the story of
how the descendants of Henrietta Lacks come to terms with the story of her death from
cancer and the use of her cells for biomedical research. Essential to that story is the conflict
between the powerful biomedical system and the beliefs held by Henrietta’s family about
cancer and the body. Critical Medical Anthropology (CMA) uses a theoretical framework that
is expressly political to analyze conflicts between biomedical practitioners and others (Baer et
al 2003).
Baer H, Singer M, Susser I. 2003. Medical Anthropology and the World System, 2nd Ed.
London UK: Greenwood.
Skloot R. 2011. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. New York: Broadway/Random House.
1. Locate three examples from the book where the beliefs of a family member come into
conflict with those of a biomedical practitioner (doctor, nurse, researcher or other). For
each example:
• Describe the belief system of the family member and speculate on how this belief
system may have been formed
• Describe the belief system of the biomedical practitioner and speculate on how this
belief system may have been formed
• Describe how these belief systems come into conflict
• Describe the outcome of that conflict for both individuals

2. Use a Critical Medical Anthropology (CMA) approach (such as that proposed by Baer et al
2003) to analyze the social relations described in the book. Consult CMA theorists and
researchers to support your arguments and use examples from Skloot (2011) to illustrate
your responses to the following questions:
• Who has power over the agencies of biomedicine?
• How and in what form is this power expressed?
• How is power evident in the social relations described in the book?
• What are the consequences for Henrietta’s family of the power relations that
characterize biomedicine?
3. Describe an incident in the book where a biomedical practitioner acts differently,
overcoming the power relations typical of biomedicine in an effort to meet the family’s
• Describe the incident
• In your opinion, does this action make any difference for the family?
• Why or why not?
4. Provide a point-form outline indicating the responses and examples you will use to answer
questions 1 and 2 above. Provide 3 preliminary references from CMA theorists or
researchers that will support your arguments. The format for the outline is 1-2 pages
including references. The Term Paper Outline is due in class Oct 28.
5. The format for the Term Paper is 8-10 pages (including title page and references) doublespaced,
12-pt font with minimum 2 cm margins. Provide a title page listing the name of the
assignment, your name, your student number, the course number, the instructor’s name
and the date. Use page numbers. In the body of the paper, use as many paragraphs as
necessary, but be sure to include introductory and concluding paragraphs. You may write
in the first person voice. You are required to consult a minimum of three (3) published
primary sources for your interpretations. Provide citations in text for these sources.
Provide a reference list. A Citation and Referencing Style Guide is provided on the next
page. The Term Paper is due in class Nov 11.

Term Paper Outline Grading Scheme
Section Component Marks
available by
Detailed mark
Outline • belief system of family member X 3
• belief system of practitioner X 3
• conflict X 3
• outcome X 3
• who has power, reference
• how expressed, reference
• evident in social relations, reference
• consequences, supported by reference
10 0.5 X 3
0.5 X 3
0.5 X 3
0.5 X 3
Total 10 10
This assignment is worth 5% of your overall grade in this course.
Term Paper Grading Scheme
Section Component Marks
available by
Detailed mark
Content • belief system of family member X 3
• belief system of practitioner X 3
• conflict X 3
• outcome X 3
• who has power, supported by references
• how expressed, supported by references
• evident in social relations, supported by references
• consequences, supported by references
• example of different action, opinion on outcome, why
50 2 X 3
2 X 3
2 X 3
2 X 3
Style • structure of argument, thesis statement, introduction and
• format: margins, font, title page
• grammar, spelling, sentence and paragraph construction
10 5
Article selection,
citation and
• select articles (minimum 3) from published, peerreviewed
• cite in text according to guidelines
• provide reference list according to guidelines
10 6
Total 60 60
This assignment is worth 30% of your overall grade in this course.
Fall 2015
Library Support for this Term Paper:
The majority of materials for this paper can be located using a health-related search engine
such as PubMed: Enter search terms such as “Critical
Medical Anthropology” and examine the results for relevant papers.
An alternative approach, oddly called “hand searching”, is to select a journal and then use that
journal’s search engine or tables of contents to locate relevant articles.
For help
determining if a journal provides peer-reviewed scholarly articles we often use
For general questions about how to conduct research for this project, or for additional support
with citation and referencing, use the library’s research online or face-to-face consultation
options. You can chat with a librarian during office hours using the UTM library’s ASK
function: You can also make a face-to-face appointment for help
using the library’s online booking function:
In most cases the consultations will be referred to a science liaison librarian.
The staff at the Reference & Research desk (on the main floor of the library) will also be able
to provide support.
If you are unsure of whether the articles you have located are appropriate, you may ask the
course Instructor. Contact or pay her a visit during office hours.
Fall 2015
ANTH 432H5F Citation and Referencing Style Guide
The citation and referencing style guide provided here is one adapted from a number of
anthropology journals. It is simple yet still provides all necessary information. You must both
cite and reference scholarly publications that support your writing.
1. Citation
• The process of supplying sources in the text or body of your work is called citation. Different
formats exist for citation, including footnotes, endnotes and citation in text. For this course,
you are required to cite in text, supplying the source of ideas or quotes directly after the
material. That means the citation occurs within the same sentence. Citations must include
the author’s name, the date, and, if quoted from published text, the page number from which
the information is taken. In this way, you give the author credit for original ideas. I would
rather you cite too often than too little.
• Quoted sources are extremely rare in academic writing; unless the passage is a classic
piece of scholarly analysis, authors tend to paraphrase and provide a citation.
Example: Galloway (2006) measured the stature of 504 schoolchildren attending six schools
in Grey and Bruce Counties, Ontario. The results indicated that, “like their urban
counterparts, rural Ontario schoolchildren have elevated risk of overweight and obesity”
(Galloway 2006:12).
• If the source has two authors, both names are cited in text.
Example: Research on North American children’s growth has demonstrated that children
living in low-income urban areas suffer greater risk of childhood obesity (Moffat and Galloway
• If the source has three or more authors, list the first, followed by “et al”. By convention, the
“et al” signifies: “and colleagues” which is how you state it when presenting orally.
Example: Obesity risk was highest in children living in Low-SES B (Moffat et al 2005). These
children may be caught in a “double-jeopardy following a pathway of early childhood undernutrition
with subsequent over-nutrition in late childhood, adolescence and adulthood” (Moffat
et al 2005:363).
2. Referencing
• Because citation in text only supplies limited information (author, date, and sometimes page
numbers), it is necessary to provide complete details (references) about the source of the
cited work. List only those articles that have been cited in the body (text) of the paper.
Fall 2015
• All sources for this course will come from peer-reviewed scholarly journals. If you are unsure
whether a journal uses peer review, read the information on the journal’s homepage. Journal
titles may be abbreviated using the abbreviations or acronyms used by PubMed.
• The referencing format is provided below. Articles are listed alphabetically according to the
surname of the first author. The list is not numbered. If there are two or more references
with the exact same author(s), they are assigned letters “a”, “b” etc. and cited that way in
Galloway T. 2006. Obesity rates among rural Ontario schoolchildren. Can J Public Health
Moffat T, Galloway T. 2006a. Adverse environments: investigating local variation in child
growth and health. Am J Hum Biol 18(5):345-379.
Moffat T, Galloway T, Latham J. 2005. Stature and adiposity among children in contrasting
neighborhoods in the City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Am J Hum Biol 17:355-67.
• Internet Sources: If the scholarly article you used was accessed online, use the following
format for references.
Example: Woehrle T, Fox S, Hoskin B. 2007. An examination of the balanced school day
schedule. Ontario Action Researcher 10(1):2245-9. Available at: (accessed 22 Aug 2012).
• Include the date you accessed the source, in case the page has been updated or removed
• If there is no author listed, use the name of the organization hosting the webpage. If there is
no year of publication listed, scroll down to the bottom of the webpage and provide the year
listed in the date last updated.
Example: 2014. Children identify inconsistencies in what adults say.
Available at: (accessed 21
Sept 2015).

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