Summer 2020 - HSCI 308 D100

Sickness and Wealth: Health in Global Perspective (3)

Class Number: 3221

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    BLU 9011, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units. Recommended: HSCI 130.



New formations of wealth and power that contribute to international health disparities and consideration of the relations of power both between and within nation-states that make some people sick and keep others well. Economic and political collusions that make people sick. Infectious disease and child survival, health implications of war, biotech, and the politics of food and water.


This course runs during what is called the Summer Session (not Intersession or Summer Semester). The dates of this course are from June 30, 2020 to August 10, 2020.

Time:  Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:30-5:20
Meeting Place: Blusson Hall 9011
Instructor: Dr. Susan Erikson
Email: (Include HSCI 308 2020 in subject line.)  

Course Format Six-week intersession, two 3-hour classes/week, mixed pedagogy. High participation requirement. Intense coursework, assignment, and exam schedule.

Prerequisites 45 undergraduate units and HSCI 130. (45 undergraduate units are the minimum for this course and will not be waived. The HSCI 130 prerequisite may be waived in favor of Anthropology or International Studies credits. Interested Anthropology and International Studies students may contact instructor and send your Ugrad transcript with request for course enrollment permission. Student requests will be reviewed on case-by-case basis.)

Course Description This course is about the political economy of global health. What political and economic arrangements increase the likelihood of sickness? Of well-being? We examine the uneven playing field created by supra-national organizations like the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. We explore 1) the institutional arrangements and everyday practices that contribute to and often maintain global health disparities; 2) the relations of power between and within nation-states that keep some people well and make others sick; and 3) the economic and political collusions that make people sick and well. In rich and poor countries alike and particularly in arenas of human services and critical public infrastructures, we are witnessing not only old forms of inequity and disorder, but also newly chaotic and exploitative social spaces.  Topics covered include colonial histories of health; health finance; water; food; medicine; indigenous and territorial rights to health; and Ebola. The course takes place on the traditional and unceded territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, Katzie, and Kwikwetlem peoples, on whose traditional territories Simon Fraser’s three campuses occupy.

NOTE: The course is rigorous, fast-paced, and not for students looking for an easy A-grade or easy summer course. Do not take the course if you expect to miss classes or won’t do the assigned readings.


By the end of course, students will be able to:
1.  Identify global institutional and economic arrangements that increase the likelihood of sickness
2.  Identify and weigh impact of contributing and complex factors of human health phenomena
3.  Demonstrate critical thinking in preparatory, oral, and written work, specifically demonstrating an ability to identify fallacies of reasoning and strength of evidence    


  • Participation 20%
  • Exam 1 (likely Monday, 20 July 2020) 30%
  • Exam 2 (Monday, 10 August 2020) 30%
  • 2 Critical Thinking Assignments (totalling 20%). Plan accordingly. 20%

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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.