Fall 2020 - HSCI 870 G100

Global Health and International Affairs (3)

Class Number: 6347

Delivery Method: Distance Education


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM



Intersection of international affairs and global health. Pressing global health issues are analyzed as they intersect with the global economy, international development, and security.


Global Health and International Affairs: What are governments good for? What has the COVID-19 pandemic shown us about good government? Bad government? What about the private sector, what is its proper role in pandemic times and beyond? And what is a pandemic bond?

I worked in a big federal agency before becoming a professor and I share with you what I saw in embassies and consulates around the world. I've conducted research in medical corporations and on factory floors, and now I'm researching humanitarian finance at the World Bank. 

In Fall 2020 course, our backdrop is the pandemic, and we will read about soft power and military mission creep; racialized economies; how the old world order is collapsing under the weight of internal contradiction; and what a new world order could look like if people use the pandemic to reboot relationships between people and states.

This course orients you to the global health politics that shape human health and well-being.  This course will be especially useful for students who want an international career or to learn about where health fits with other International Affairs concerns. In this course, we pay attention to how both wealthy and impoverished countries are operating, rather than stick with 'global health's' current usage which typically connotes attention  to countries with low overall wealth. We ask "Whose got the power?" “Who is benefiting from what?” and "What is happening behind the scenes"? This course is taught from the disciplinary perspective of critical medical anthropology.


At the end of this course, ideally you will have practiced several skills: 1) content preparation (readings), as much as you should if you were preparing to participate in a meeting at the United Nations, MSF, WHO, or any other organization.  You will have thought about and practiced 2) goal setting and 3) getting a group to meaningfully discuss some of the world's most difficult health challenges, even with people who may or may not agree.  When you are finished with this course, you will recognize that 4) synthesizing and 5) analyzing unrelated texts and information to 6) generate new ways of looking at old global health problems are skills.  Analysis is one of the highest orders of skill attainment and employers report that it is one of the most under-developed aspects of the global health workforce. 

Specific Course Learning Objectives
Upon completion of the course, you should be able to:
1) engage in persuasive speech
2) discuss global health themes in a large group (≈15 people)
3) synthesize texts by common themes; analyze1 and analyze2 texts
4) develop confidence in engaging in civil debate and deliberation
5) get your voice heard in a group  (≈15 people) through persuasive argument
6) write concise papers
7) lead discussions
8) present information and analysis in an interesting and engaging way


  • Weekly Participation 10%
  • Analysis & Synthesis Paper Submission 1 30%
  • Analysis & Synthesis Paper Submission 2 0%
  • Big Idea Facilitation 30%
  • 7 Quizzes (6 x 5%, drop 1) 30%


* The 0% for Analysis & Synthesis Paper Submission 2 is not a mistake; you may rewrite the paper for a higher grade, but you do not have to .

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

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 fall 2020 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).