GLBS 2800: Contemporary Issues in Global Health

Contemporary Issues in Global Health
Course in Global Studies
Course Description:

This course focuses on how social, political, and economic forces—increasingly global in nature—influence how biomedical diseases are experienced, understood, and treated. The course covers topics such as structural violence, narratives of illness, and global pharmaceuticals. The larger approach in the course is that of medical anthropology where disease, health, and treatment are understood in their social contexts. As we explore how people in different global contexts confront and are affected by disease, poverty, and unequal access to treatment and information, students gain an understanding of the interconnectedness of the issues that the larger “global health project” seeks to uncover and address. Specifically, students learn some of today's most pressing global health issues; learn how to explain the connections between social, economic, and political systems and health outcomes for individuals and groups; and develop their own toolkit for engaging with global health issues. All readings are available in the course site.

Course Credits:
1 course unit (c.u.)*
Term Format:
Accelerated 8-Week Term
2024 Term Offered:
Summer 1 (accelerated): May 28 – Jul 23, 2024

*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.


  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania

Michael Joiner has been at Penn since 2006; he previously worked with Wharton Interactive and currently teaches courses in Penn’s Department of Anthropology. He holds a PhD in anthropology from Penn and an MS in linguistics from Georgetown. His work and research interests include ethnography, serious play, and knowledge… Read more


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