Fall 2023 - SA 318 D100

Technologies of Health and Expectation (A) (4)

Class Number: 5469

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 11:30 AM – 2:20 PM  2023-09-06  2023-10-06
    AQ 4130, Burnaby

    Tu 11:30 AM – 2:20 PM  2023-10-11  2023-12-05
    AQ 4130, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Michelle Walks
    Office: AQ 5068
    Office Hours: TBD
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



Investigates how medical technologies are altering ways we perceive our bodies, frame moral questions about health, and imagine human possibilities. Case studies from around the world are used to examine the social, ethical, and political dilemmas that surface when people interact with biomedical objects under different conditions.


With a focus on how medical technologies impact cultural understandings and experiences of bodies and health, this course pays particular attention to Sexual & Reproductive Health; COVID-19; cross-cultural understandings, negotiations, and morality related to technologies; and biolegitimacy. Moreover, discussions of what constitutes ‘technology’, and how cultural factors (politics, religion, ethics) impact decisions and negotiations with medical(-related) technologies will be present throughout the course. Individual agency and creativity will also be highlighted, with regard to how individuals and cultures navigate, and make decisions regarding medical technologies, and solutions to medical problems.


  • Participation 15%
  • Quizzes [Canvas] 15%
  • Quotes & Question Assignments 20%
  • Paper Proposal/Annotated Bibliography 20%
  • Final Paper 30%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Honesty and Student Conduct Policies: The Department of Sociology & Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T20.01), and academic honesty and student conduct procedures (S10‐S10.05). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style. It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.

The Sociology and Anthropology Student Union, SASU, is a governing body of students who are engaged with the department and want to build the SA community. Get involved! Follow Facebook and Instagram pages!



1. Hamdy, Sherine and Coleman Nye. 2017. Lissa: A Story about Medical Promise, Friendship, and Revolution. University of Toronto Press. [ebook available through SFU library, for 3 simultaneous users]

2. Additional readings available online through Canvas or the SFU library.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.