Summer 2020 - HSCI 308 D100

Sickness and Wealth: Health in Global Perspective (3)

Class Number: 3221

Delivery Method: Distance Education


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • 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.


Instructor: Dr. Susan Erikson
Email: (Correspondance should include HSCI 308 2020 in subject line.)

This course runs during what is called the Summer Session (not Intersession or Summer Semester). The dates of this course are from July 6, 2020 to August 10, 2020.

Real-time and Online
Two 3-hour classes/week, synchronous real-time
PowerPoints will be posted after class. Classes will not be recorded.
Time:  Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:30-5:20pm

Prerequisites 45 undergraduate units and HSCI 130. (45 undergraduate units are the minimum for this course and will not be waived.)

Course Description This course has been revised to cover the political economy of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pandemics are not exclusively viral events; they are shaped by political, economic, and social factors. What political and economic arrangements increase(d) the likelihood of sickness? Of well-being?
In this course we explore:
1) institutional arrangements and everyday practices that shape human vulnerabilities to COVID-19
2) relations of power between and within nation-states that enabled sickness and wellness likelihoods
3) economic and political ideologies that set the stage for the COVID-19 pandemic


By the end of course, students will be able to:
1.  Identify global institutional arrangements that increased the likelihood of pandemic COVID-19
2.  Identify and weight the complex sets of political, economic, and social factors of COVID-19


  • Participation 10%, as determined by online attendance 10%
  • Reading Questions 10%, quality counts. Due dates vary 10%
  • Four Quiz Grades 80% (20% x 4): Online Real-time Quiz Schedule: July 8, 15, 22, 29, Aug 10 – One quiz grade dropped 80%
  • This course is Pass/Fail 0%


1. Grading:  This course is Pass/Fail.
2. Students must be able to participate in real-time weekly quizzes on July 8, 15, 22, 29, Aug 10. Plan accordingly.
3. The course material is challenging, and we will not be able to engage in the usual learning and simulation activities, which aided high levels of course comprehension in previous course offerings. Students will have ample opportunity to ask questions before quizzes, but you won't be able to do well if you don't read the assigned material. The quizzes will be strongly correlated to the readings. Reading is key to passing the course.
4. For as long as I've taught HSCI 308, grades in HSCI 308 have meant something. If you know someone who has taken HSCI 308 before, if they got an A, they worked hard for that A. There was no other way to get an A. The course is hard, but over the years, the class average has consistantly been in the B to B+ range.

Here is why the course is Pass/Fail in Summer 2020: (Yes, during Spring 2020, students decided whether to take the course pass/fail or for a letter grade. In Summer 2020, instructors make the decision.)
When I teach the course in person, there is a kind of personal encouragement that I can offer because I can see and feel where students struggle. I can tell who needs my time and the extra instruction to master the material, and, significantly, I can also tell who is cheating and shorting the work. I cannot make those assessments remotely, which means I cannot letter grade fairly. For these reasons, the course is being offered only as a Pass/Fail course in Summer 2020. If you need to take a course this summer for a letter grade, you'll have to take an different course.

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.


Please note that all teaching at SFU in summer term 2020 will be conducted through remote methods. Enrollment in this course 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.

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 ( or 778-782-3112) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.