Bodies Speaking Out: Critical Studies of Health, Disability, and Community Advocacy

Fall Open
Class Standing
Carolyn Prouty
Eric Stein

Fall quarter builds the theoretical and applied foundations of our studies in health, disability, and community advocacy. Through medical anthropology we will emphasize the importance of both cultural competency and structural competency: what health practitioners need to know about how a diversity of peoples understand the body, health, and sickness; and how people experience economic, spatial, and socio-political inequalities, in order to effectively care for them. Through public health, we’ll examine the social determinants of health: how differential access to resources, agency, and institutional power drive economic, racialized, and other health disparities.

Critical disability studies will consider histories of medicalization, stigma, and activism, including ongoing networks of care and mutual aid people with disabilities have established to build community and address needs in the face of institutional limits and discrimination. In this time of social and ecological turbulence, our examination of community resilience and critical hope will provide gateways to explore elements that inspire and sustain resilient transformation, and their connections to action and activism.

Students taking the program for 12 credits in fall can earn the following credits: 4- Medical Anthropology, 4-Introduction to Public Health, 4-Critical Disability Studies. Students enrolled for 14 credits can earn the above 12 credits, plus 2 credits in Community Resilience Studies. Therefore, first year students registered for 14 credits fall quarter will not take the 2 credits in Research and Internship Cornerstone. Students enrolled in the program in fall for 16 credits can earn the above 12 credits plus 2 Credits in Community Resilience Studies and an additional 2 Credits in a Research and Internship Cornerstone, which provides preparation for more advanced work and community based internships in winter quarter.

Winter quarter will emphasize more intensive scholarship in critical health studies, applied research, and community based work. For the advanced seminar in medical anthropology, we will read and write about contemporary ethnographies on health disparities and advocacy, developing a grounded, detailed understanding of how peoples’ lives are enmeshed in cultural, social, economic, and political realities. Close, focused consideration of individual illness stories will be central to our work in narrative medicine, furthering our understanding of how people’s experiences are centered culturally, socially, and historically.  Drawing on this work, in our studies of applied anthropology, we will research the complexities of local experiences of sickness, health, and disability and consider engaging in forms of advocacy, intervention, and activism. Students taking the program for 12 credits can earn the following: 4 Applied Anthropology, 4 Advanced Seminar in Medical Anthropology, 4 Narrative Medicine. Students taking the program for 14 or 16 credits will also include a 2 or 4 credit Community Based Learning and Action component that requires volunteering or internship work with local organizations.

This program is coordinated with Greener Foundations for first-year students. Greener Foundations is Evergreen’s in-person 2-quarter introductory student success course sequence, which provides first-year students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive at Evergreen. Student joining in winter quarter that are expected to take Greener Foundations will be prompted to register for a 2-credit Greener Foundations course in addition to this 14-credit program during registration. Students that took Greener Foundations in fall quarter will be automatically registered in winter quarter to complete the 4-credits of Greener Foundations.


Academic Details

Work inBodies Speaking Outwill prepare students for continued study and eventual employment in these fields: health, health care and medicine, community organizing, social work, disability support, education, public health, and public administration.


Fall quarter: $210 fee covers museum visit ($20) and hotel, transportation, and meals for an overnight field trip ($150).

Winter quarter: $20 fee covers museum visit

Students will complete an applied research project in winter quarter.

Health & Social Work (Variable Options), Winter Quarter


In Person (F)
In Person (W)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Schedule Details
<p>Fall 2027- Winter 2028</p>