Summer 2020 - HSCI 486 D100

Senior Seminar in Global Health (3)

Class Number: 3231

Delivery Method: Distance Education


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu, Th 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    90 units, including at least 15 upper division HSCI units. Other prerequisites may vary according to topic.



Treatment of current global health issues. Students will examine several topics from theoretical, methodological and policy perspectives.


This course has been revised to take up the COVID-19 pandemic and related events from a critical medical anthropology perspective. What is medical anthropology?  How can medical anthropology help us to think meaningfully about the vexing social problems related to and resulting from COVID-19?  This course uses anthropological tools to help think deeply and meaningfully about the social effects of COVID-19. The course is designed to complement traditional international population and public health approaches. By the end of this course, you should be able to think deeply, critically and systematically about the challenges of COVID-19 as a viral as well as social global phenomenon.

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 6, 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:  Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:30-5:20pm

Prerequisites 90 undergraduate units. (90 undergraduate units are the minimum for this course and will not be waived.)


By the end of course, students should be able to:
1. Explain theoretical frameworks relevant to understanding medical anthropology as an expertise and discipline
2. Apply medical anthropology interpretive frameworks to COVID-19 phenomena
3. Demonstrate critical reflection and analysis of COVID-19 related issues and events


  • Participation, as determined by online attendence 10%
  • Artifact Presentation 10%
  • Four Quiz Grades (4 x 15%): Online Real-time Quiz Schedule: July 7, 14, 21, 28, Aug 6 - One quiz grade dropped 60%
  • Reading Facilitation 20%
  • 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 7, 14, 21, 28, Aug 6. Plan accordingly.
3. We will not be able to engage in the usual HSCI 486 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.

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.


90 units are required, and the course is geared to upper division students. Students from other departments are welcome; different ways of thinking about problems will make the course most interesting. Please don't take the course if you'll miss classes or won't do the readings.

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.