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Decolonizing Bodies in Public Health

Nicole Rigler nicolerigler@berkeley.edu


Room TBD

This is a course aimed at recapturing the narrative in conversations surrounding global


health a class that looks at global health from the perspective of the colonized. It will seek
to examine long cultural histories of health, healing and medicine; talk about colonial
gambits that have had longstanding impacts on the health and infrastructure of colonized
populations; about colonial narratives in public health academia, and about how to name
and reframe microaggressions in global health conversations.

There are no prerequisites, but your presence and willingness to learn/engage in dialogue are a must!

GRADING: The course is pass/no pass, so everything will be graded on a satisfactory


completion basis. If your completion of an assignment or your participation in a category is
unsatisfactory, we will reach out to you and work with you to arrange a makeup
participation opportunity or a way to learn the material and make up the assignment. We
want everyone to succeed and grasp the material!

ATTENDANCE: Attendance is mandatory! You may miss no more than 2 classes, excused
absences included. If you have a special circumstance or emergency, please email both of the
course facilitators within 2 days after the missed class and we will arrange a makeup plan for
you earlier is preferred. As we only meet once a week and cover a lot, in-person time is
crucial!

-2-hour lectures each week, with a mix of presentations, discussion, activities and speakers
-reflection papers each week, due Sunday at midnight the day before class. These will
include a brief summary of the readings, 3 questions on the content and 1 objection to the
content/argumentation to get you ready for the discussions we will have each week!
-a presentation & paper on a case study/topic of your choice
-present your own lecture! (optional)

AN IMPORTANT NOTE ON MENTAL HEALTH: Trauma is real and much of this course
focuses on systemic violence, so students may find some of the content to be triggering.
Either way, preserving and nurturing mental health is very important to us, so please make
use of the following resources, and talk to us if we can support you in any way.

Counseling and Psychological Services at the Tang Center: https://uhs.berkeley.edu/counseling

-Please call (510) 642-9494 or stop by the office on the 3rd floor of the Tang Center to make an
appointment with a counselor.
-Drop-in counseling for emergencies: Monday - Friday, 10:00AM - 5:00PM After hours
counseling: In the case of emergencies at night or on weekends, call (855) 817-5667 for free
assistance and referrals. Request to speak with a counselor.
-For emergency support: Call UCPD 911 or (510) 642-3333

24 Hour Crisis Hotlines:


-Alameda County Crisis Line: (offers confidentiality, TDD services for deaf and hearing impaired
callers and translation in 140 languages). Call 1-800-309-2131.
-National Crisis Help Line: Call 1-800-273-TALK
-Crisis Text Line: Text HELLO to 741741
-National HopeLine Network: Call 1-800-SUICIDE

Centers for Educational Justice & Community Engagement: http://ejce.berkeley.edu/


Includes: African-American Student Development, Asian Pacific American Student Development,
Chicanx Latinx Student Development, Gender Equity Resource Center, Multicultural Community
Center, Native American Student Development

Student-to-Student Peer Counseling at Berkeley: https://sspc.berkeley.edu/

Peer Counseling at the Berkeley Free Clinic: http://www.berkeleyfreeclinic.org/peer-counseling/

Week 1: Histories of Health the world of health and healing that existed prior to colonial activity

PRE-READING (we will not be discussing these readings in class until Week 2):
1. PHYSICAL, MENTAL AND SOCIAL FUNDAMENTALS OF ANCIENT INDIAN AND
CHINESE MEDICINE p 4 - 20
2. WITCHCRAFT, SORCERY OR MEDICAL PRACTICE? The Demand, Supply and
Regulation of Indigenous Medicines In Durban, South Africa (1844-2002) p 8 15

Week 2: Brief History of Colonial Activity the Western story of the world, and how the story is told

PRE-READING:
REQUIRED:
o James Cook (TeacherVision/InfoPlease)
o Columbus Activity
o Just Where Was Columbus?

oWhy ethnic studies programs are good for California, and America:
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-remnick-ethnic-studies-alejo-
20140703-story.html
o We Need a Decolonized, Not Diverse Education (Samudzi):
http://harlot.media/articles/1058/we-need-a-decolonized-not-a-diverse-education
SUPPLEMENTAL:
o Decolonizing Pedagogy in the American Classroom:
http://www.innovation.cc/scholarly-
style/buttaro_pecolonizing_pedagogy_3april09final4.pdf
o Decolonizing the Classroom:
http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/23_02/deco232.shtml

Week 3: Colonial Aftermath a look at the immediate impacts of colonial activity on the health of
colonized populations

PRE-READING:
REQUIRED:
o Missionary Medicine in Colonial India
o Penina Uliuli Chapter 9: Colonialism, Acculturation, and Depression among
Knaka Maoli of Hawaii p 180 191
SUPPLEMENTAL:
o Guns, Germs and Steel Chapter 11: LETHAL GIFT OF LIVESTOCK (The
evolution of germs) p 195 214
o Global Health History Online Course Module Colonial Medicine
o THE IMPACT OF COLONIALISM ON HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES IN
TANZANIA (Turshen)

Week 4: Bodies as Battlegrounds how colonialism controlled, classified, and violated bodies as a
mechanism of conquest

PRE-READING:
REQUIRED:
o Sterilization Racism and Pan-Ethnic Disparities of the Past Decade: The Continued
Encroachment on Reproductive Rights p 2-6, 13-14
o Skin Bleaching, Colonialism and Apartheid
SUPPLEMENTAL:
o Homosexuality is not un-African
o Kaw: Medicalization of Racial Features
o The Fleshy Excess of Black Life: Mike Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice

Week 5: Reduced Resilience and Capacity examples of colonizer-created infrastructural disadvantage


with significant health impacts for formerly colonized societies

PRE-READING:
REQUIRED:
o Health crisis in Liberia - the long road to recovery:
http://www.who.int/features/2003/09b/en/
o How paradise became the fattest place in the world:
http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/01/health/pacific-islands-obesity/
o Why Back To Africa? And : How Voluntary Was The Return To Africa of People
of Color and Freed
Slaves? http://www.liberiapastandpresent.org/ColonizationSociety.htm
SUPPLEMENTAL:
o A brief (Western) history of Liberia:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/globalconnections/liberia/essays/history/
o Overweight and Obesity Prevalence among Public School Children in Guam:
Introduction and Discussion only
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4503469/
o Encountering Poverty, Ananya Roy
This is a whole book! Its a reading recommendation, and you will not need
to have read it for this class.

Week 6: Public Health and the Savior Narrative dependency on non-governmental organizations
and other threats to capacity and self-determination in the health of formerly colonized nations

PRE-READING:
REQUIRED:
o Voluntourism: To Hell With Good Intentions (Illich)
o The White-Savior Industrial Complex (Teju Cole)
SUPPLEMENTAL
o #InstagrammingAfrica: The Narcissism of Global Voluntourism:
https://psmag.com/instagrammingafrica-the-narcissism-of-global-voluntourism-
e5001bf57fdf - .qcep9797f

Week 7: Environmental Injustice the politics of disaster relief and critical aid

PRE-READING:
REQUIRED:

oThe Haves, the Have-Nots, and the Health of Everyone: The Relationship Between
Social Inequality and Environmental Quality
o More Like Us Than Mice: Radiation Experiments with Indigenous Peoples
SUPPLEMENTAL:
o A Katrina Retrospective: Structural Inequality, Environmental Justice and Our
National Discourse on Race

Week 8: Universities Participate in Colonialism a look at how universities as institutions can also be
agents of colonial actions

PRE-READING:
REQUIRED:
o ILAC letter to UC Berkeley
o Suspension of controversial Palestine class at UC Berkeley (Guardian)
o The Morrill Act and the UC (Rose Hayden-Smith)

Week 9: SPRING RECESS

Week 10: Public Health in Academia how public health institutions can be blind to bias in research and
employment

PRE-READING:
REQUIRED:
o Faculty of Color in Academe: What 20 Years of Literature Tells Us (Tajullah Sky
Lark)
o Eugenics, Medical Education and the Public Health Service: Another Perspective on
the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (p 310 316)
SUPPLEMENTAL
o Racism and Research: The Case of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
o Best Practices: Recruiting and Retaining Faculty and Staff of Color

Week 11: Inclusive Discourse and Spaces naming and reframing microaggressions in global health
conversations (and a peek at Decolonizing Pedagogy)

PRE-READING:
On trigger warnings:
http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2016/09/21/493913099/content-notice-here-
are-a-few-ways-professors-use-trigger-warnings

PTSD and Microaggressions: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/culturally-


speaking/201509/the-link-between-racism-and-ptsd
Decolonizing Pedagogy in the American Classroom: http://www.innovation.cc/scholarly-
style/buttaro_pecolonizing_pedagogy_3april09final4.pdf
Content-Area Conversations Chapter 1: Why Talk Is Important in Classrooms:
http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/108035/chapters/Why-Talk-Is-Important-in-
Classrooms.aspx
o social determinants shape what participation looks like

Week 12: Students Choice Lecture

PRE-READING: none work on presentations

Week 13: Presentations, Part 1

PRE-READING: sourced by students


Possible topics:
o Gentrification, homelessness and health
o The importance of data disaggregation in public health research
o Cultural healing practices and modern-day appropriation
o Colonialisms impact on beauty and dangers of skin whitening
o Environmental racism: case study

Week 14: Presentations, Part 2

NO PRE-READING

Contributors: Brittney Enin, Seth Holmes, Linh Chuong, Nicole Rigler, Michael Huynh, Miguel Flores,
Monica Casanova, Smitha Gundavajhala, Viviana Lletget, Emaan Siddique