Anth 393 (S02) cultural constructions of hiv/aids class Time: t w f 9: 30 –10: 30am Instructor

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ANTH 393 SPRING 2005 (S02)

ANTH 393 (S02)

Class Time: T W F 9:30 –10:30am Instructor: Josephine MacIntosh

Classroom: Cornett B107 Office: Cornett A357

Class Website: Phone: 472-4735

Office Hours: T F 10:30-11:30 or by appointment E-mail:

In multiple, fragmentary, and often contradictory ways, we struggle to achieve some sort of understanding of AIDS, a reality that is frightening, widely publicized, yet finally neither directly nor fully knowable. AIDS is no different in this respect from other linguistic constructions that, in the commonsense view of language, are thought to transmit preexisting ideas and represent real-world entities yet in fact do neither. (Treichler, 1999:11)
Brief course description

As its name suggests, this course examines the role culture plays in the global response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It is designed to challenge your thinking around the language and assumptions that have been attached to this fatal sexually transmitted disease. We will explore the biological and social outcomes of the pandemic thus far, discuss the role of human sexuality and investigate how stigma and discrimination serve as barriers to HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment. You will be encouraged to think critically about how a variety of solutions applied to HIV/AIDS may impact population health. Success in this course requires active and consistent student involvement through steady reading, class attendance and discussion. Tuesdays and Wednesdays will generally be lecture type classes, Fridays discussions.
Required Text

Treichler, Paula A. (1999). How to have Theory in an Epidemic: Cultural Chronicles of AIDS. Durham: Duke University Press.


Sanders, Stephanie. A. and June Machover Reinisch. (1999). “Would You Say You “Had Sex” If…?”. Journal of the American Medical Association, 281 (3): 275-277.
McGrath, Janet. (1991). “Biological Impact of Social Disruption Resulting from Epidemic Disease.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology 84: 407-419.
McGrath, Janet. (1992). “The Biological Impact of Social Responses to the AIDS Epidemic.” Medical Anthropology 15: 63-79.
Others TBA: On reserve at the library and posted online when possible.
Online Resources

The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. Francoeur, Robert T. (1997).

Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia. Bullough, Vern L. and Bonnie Bullough. (1994).

The Anthropology Student Guide to Better Grades

How to do Internet citations correctly

Selected Abstracts on HIV/AIDS Stigma

Annotated Bibliography on Gender and HIV/AIDS

History of Cultural Anthropology Theory

American Anthropological Association Statement on "Race"
(May 17, 1998)

150 Basic HIV Facts (with links)

AIDS Clock:

Info card: Name, student #, program, year of study, please note if you are waitlisted (required), DOB, your interest in HIV/AIDS (academic and/or personal), an aspect of human sexuality you are interested in (academic and/or personal), a culture you are interested in and a place in the world you would like to visit/work/live (optional). No grading, one mark for handing it in.

  • 1% of grade

Weekly Webboard chapter comments and questions: 300 to 500 words, most weeks.

Part 1: Reflective summary/reaction to the chapter (1 mark/chapter, pass/fail grading).

Part 2: Write two relatively short exam type questions which you think cover key issues in the chapter and provide the answers (1 mark/Q&A, pass/fail grading).

Log on to the ANTH 393 WebBoard at:

Use your Netlink user name and ID. If you are new to webboard log on to the “New User Board” first.

Due dates: Comments are required to be posted on the Webboard by 6pm the Tuesday prior to in-class discussion of the chapter. Comments are required on 9 of the 10 chapters (which include the prologue and epilogue). You are expected to read the comments posted by the members of your small group (TBA). You may miss one week but I suggest you save this option for later in the term.

  • 27% of grade (9 x 3%)

Quizzes: In-class quizzes will test your grasp of the basics. Each of the three 15-20 minute quizzes will consist of 10 questions worth ½ mark each.

  • 15% of grade (3 x 5%)

Research paper proposal and annotated bibliography on the construction of HIV/AIDS in a culture or subculture of your choice: I would suggest a paper that deals with the sexual transmission of HIV and which reviews the sexual attitudes and behaviour patterns of the culture/subculture of interest. However, because this paper should reflect your own specific interests in HIV/AIDS and cultural anthropology, it may focus on cultural issues surrounding other transmission routes. In this assignment you will outline your proposed paper and write a (short) annotated bibliography of the sources you intend to use. The expectation is that you will use at least five sources, three of which are primary sources. Be sure there is enough literature on your subject, and if there is too much literature, narrow your field. The outline should be in standard form with descriptive headings, subheading and points. This should be typed, double-spaced and printed with a 1-inch margin on all sides, in 12 point Times New Roman or Arial font. Please number your pages. The annotated bibliography should provide proper citations for reference materials with a short paragraph describing the key points and their relevance to your planned research paper (DO NOT cut and paste the abstract!). References may be formatted in the accepted style of your major discipline; all I ask is that you use a consistent style. Style sheets will be available. You will be asked to post this bibliography on the Webboard. Grading will be generous, as will my comments.

  • 12% of grade

PowerPoint of your research paper outline: One of the fine arts of research is learning how to summarize the important points of a well thought out (and often long) research paper on 10 to12 PowerPoint slides for a short (10-20 min) presentation. Equally, taking an outline of an idea and fleshing out the major points for a PowerPoint presentation is also a good way to inspire the writing of that well thought out research paper. In this assignment you will create a conference grade academic PowerPoint presentation summarizing the important points you will address in your research paper. Grading will depend on clarity of points and ease of reading (discussed further in class). This assignment will be handed in to me in paper format and you will be required to post it on the Webboard for your small group.

  • 15% of grade

Research paper: Your paper should be 10 to 12 250-word pages (2500-3000 words), not counting your bibliography. This should be typed, double-spaced and printed with a 1-inch margin on all sides, in 12 point Times New Roman or Arial font. Please number your pages. Direct quotes should be carefully documented. Reference in a consistent style. Grading will depend on structure, grammar, style and content (discussed further in class).

  • 30% of grade


Assignment Due Date Returned Value (%)

Info card For enrolment Last class 1

Weekly Comments 6pm Tuesdays Posted on Webboard (3 x 9) 27

Quiz Wed Jan 12 ASAP 5

Quiz Wed Feb 2 ASAP 5

Research Proposal Fri Feb 25 By Tues Mar 8 12

Quiz Tues Mar 8 ASAP 5

PowerPoint of your outline Fri Mar 18 Wed Mar 23 15

Research Paper 4pm on the day of the scheduled exam 30



90- 100 = A+ 85-89 = A 80-84 = A- <50 = F

75-79 = B+ 70-74 = B 65-69 = B-

60-64 = C+ 55-59 = C 50-54 = D


The University of Victoria is committed to promoting, providing, and protecting a positive, supportive and safe learning and working environment for all its members" (Senate Resolution, January 13, 1999). As part of our commitment to equity, the Department of Anthropology has established an Equity Committee. If you have concerns regarding equity issues in the classroom, you may contact a member of the Equity Committee. The Department Secretary can provide you with the names of the current members of this committee.

Note: To promote academic integrity, I will be using the UVic Turnitin plagiarism prevention service; therefore you must submit BOTH paper and electronic copies of your final paper. You can read more about Turnitin at: I will NOT begin marking your paper final paper until I have received the e-copy.


I. Review of Cultural Anthropology and Language: Jan 5-14

A review of cultural anthropology, the scientific method, ethnocentrism, cultural relativism and the role of language in the transmission of culture.

  • Readings (optional): History of Cultural Anthropology Theory (see online resources)

  • Webboard comments due @ 6pm Tuesday: N/A

FRIDAY JANUARY 14 – Webboard groups assigned
II. AIDS Overview: Jan 18-21

Definitions, risk behaviours, transmission routes, transmission patterns, global statistics.

Tuesday January 18 – last day to withdraw with 100% fee reduction

  • Readings (required): Treichler Prologue

  • Webboard comments due @ 6pm Tuesday: Jan 18

III. Responses to Infectious Disease: Jan 25-28
Appropriate biological and social responses, obstacles to appropriate responses.
  • Readings (required): Treichler Ch 1, McGrath 1991 and 1992 (on reserve)

  • Webboard comments due @ 6pm Tuesday: Jan 25

IV. Attitudes, Stereotypes, Prejudice, Stigma and Discrimination: Feb 1-4

How and why attitudes, stereotypes, prejudices, stigma and discrimination influence our responses to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

  • Readings (required): Treichler Ch 2

  • Webboard comments due @ 6pm Tuesday: Feb 1

Wednesday Feb 2 – QUIZ 2
V. Gender, Sexuality and Media: Feb 8-25

A review of definitions and the role of gender, human sexuality and the media.

Tuesday february 8 – last day to withdraw with 50% fee reduction
Readings (required): Treichler Ch 3

  • Webboard comments due @ 6pm Tuesday: Feb 8

FEBRUARY 15-18 READING BREAK (no classes)

  • Readings (required): Treichler Ch 4

  • Webboard comments due @ 6pm Tuesday: Feb 22

Friday FEBRUARY 25 Research Proposal Due
Monday february 28 – last day to withdray w/o Academic Penalty

VI. Sexual Health Approach: Mar 1 - 4

A review of the most recent guidelines for promoting sexual health in light of the pandemic.

  • Readings (required): Treichler Ch 5, PAHO Guidelines

  • Webboard comments due @ 6pm Tuesday: Mar 1

VII. HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Treatment: Mar 8-25

Models of behaviour change, access to prevention, care and treatment, monitoring and evaluating programs.

Tuesday March 8 – Research proposals returned
Tuesday March 8 – Last Quiz

  • Readings (required): Treichler Ch 6

  • Webboard comments due @ 6pm Tuesday: Mar 8

  • Readings (required): Treichler Ch 7

  • Webboard comments due @ 6pm Tuesday: Mar 15

Friday March 18 – PowerPoint Due (post on webboard also)

  • Readings (required): Treichler Ch 8

  • Webboard comments due @ 6pm Tuesday: Mar 22

Wednesday March 23 – PowerPoint returned
Friday March 25 – Good Friday (no class)

VIII. Making Sense of It All: Mar 29 – Apr 8

Do we have theory in this epidemic? Which are the most culturally relevant?

  • Readings (required): Treichler Ch 9

  • Webboard comments due @ 6pm Tuesday: Mar 29

  • Readings (required): Treichler Epilogue

  • Webboard comments due @ 6pm Tuesday: Apr 5

Scheduled exam day – research papers due

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