Courses: Diseased Bodies: AIDS, Culture and the Anthropology of the Body (ANTHH254B01)

Spring 2013

A study of discourses of cultural and medical management and stigmatization of the diseased human body. We will look at how cultural perceptions of disease generate binaries of taboo/restoration, sin/redemption, dying/living, decay/heal. We will look at how responses to HIV/AIDS embody this ambivalence of the diseased body in ideologies of social subjectivity. The course will be informed by an approach to this problem which views the human body as society's investment in its cultural and material reproduction while also serving as an ideological frontier separating socialized subjectivity from potentially antisocial libidinal forces of the biological self. Within this framework we will pursue the question: in what specific ways does disease, HIV in particular, represent a breach of the boundary between the body as social order and the carnal forces of its disruption? With HIV as an organizing problematic the course will be structured around themes including religious notions of the body, sin and redemption; Western philosophical opposition of the body to the faculty of reason; interventionist technologies of modern medicine and the secularization of illness; African notions of the social body and disharmonies of disease. We will conclude the course reflections on how my work on HIV prevention in South Africa has addressed these cultural issues in local communities.

Prerequisites: At least one 100 level course in Social Sciences and consent of the professor

Fulfills: SO I Limit:25


Anthropology (Web site)

Taught By

Zolani Ngwane


Haverford, Hall 007

Meeting Times

TTh 11:30-1:00