Health, Power, and Justice

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Winter 2017 quarter

Taught by

Note: This program is a repeat of a program offered fall quarter.  Students who took the fall program should not register for the winter repeat.

What are the factors that determine our health? In what ways do race, class, and gender affect the health of individuals and communities? In this introductory program we will explore health and well-being within the contexts of narrative, power, and social justice. We will use an interdisciplinary lens of science and the humanities to question the embodied experiences of sickness and healing. Our focus will be on the linkages between Northwest places and Native American and Indigenous peoples, framing our discussions of health around themes of environmental and economic sustainability, social justice and education, and popular culture. We will question and examine competing public narratives, particularly how the health and wellness of Native people are portrayed in the medical field, museums, case studies, films, and texts. From the biological perspective, we will analyze the physiological and genetic basis for the apparent health disparities in these communities. We will explore scientific articles and texts about the effect of culture-based diets and nutrition on disease and immunity.

Through program workshops, students will develop a variety of skills, including the scientific method, historical research, quantitative and qualitative analysis of data, policy research and writing, film critique, interviewing, and oral history. Students will use these skills to become stronger writers and researchers, and importantly, community members. We will help students learn to listen and observe attentively, do close and critical reading with challenging texts, contribute clear and well developed writing, make relevant contributions to seminar discussions, and acquire research and laboratory skills in biology, history, and Native American studies. Guest presenters, documentary films, museum exhibits, and two field trips to tribal museums and urban community organizations will support our analysis.

Program Details

Fields of Study

biology cultural studies health history

Preparatory For

Native American studies, biology, cultural studies, health, and history.


Winter Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First class meeting: Tuesday, January 10th at 9am (Sem II B1107)

Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online


$20 for entrance fees to museums.


2016-12-21This program now accepts students of all class levels (Fr-Sr).
2016-11-21Five sophomore seats have been reserved for first year students who have transferred in with credit.
2016-06-07Title changed (formerly Health, Humanities, and Social Science).
2016-05-09New winter opportunity added.