Spring 2021 - GSWS 321 E100

Special Topics in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies (4)

Pandemics and Poverty

Class Number: 7036

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    15 units.



A specific theme within the field of gender, sexuality, and women's studies, not otherwise covered in depth in regularly scheduled courses, will be dealt with as occasion and demand warrant.


This course will examine the historical and contemporary challenges to public health in a globalized world. Although international cooperation in management of epidemics goes back to colonial medicine, the recognition of health as a “global public good” has released new ways of thinking of the socio-economic determinants that affect health. We will examine the history of global health and show the transformations that have taken place in both institutions and ideas about how to think of health in an increasingly connected world. In this course we will seek answers to questions like why HIV infection results in such varying mortality rates across countries? Why does a treatable disease like Tuberculosis still cause large number of deaths? Why do people continue to smoke even after such widespread knowledge of its risks?

While we have advanced knowledge in genetic predispositions to illness and the pathophysiology of illnesses, physicians and patients have to also account for a multitude of factors like access to healthcare, costs of treatment, and caregiving in order to negotiate their health.  This course will introduce students to the theory and practice of Global Health in order to understand how the biological, social, and ethical absorb each other to determine our negotiations to remain healthy. Throughout our course we look back at the history and various experiences with global health and forward to the challenges that are emerging in order to address questions of success and failure in our interventions. To this extent we look at epidemics that have been eradicated, controlled, and are emerging.


For more detailed information please see the GSWS website: http://www.sfu.ca/gsws/undergraduate/courses/Educational_Goals.html


  • Weekly precis: 30%
  • Midterm Essay: 30%
  • Final Essay: 30%
  • Attendance: 10%


Online- Partially Synchronous Lecture will be held weekly



All the weekly assigned readings will be uploaded on canvas and will be made available through the library. Students will not be required to buy any books. Readings will be around 50-75 pages, and students will be expected to do these readings before the lecture.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).