Jan 17, 2022  
2019-2020 Academic Catalog 
    
2019-2020 Academic Catalog [Published Catalog]

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GHHE 000/5190 - Diseases and Social Perception (3 cr.)



Description
Diseases have meanings and those meanings translate into the way in which sufferers and society perceive and engage with their disease. Discourse on disease is often most charged when the disease in question threatens to cross borders, socioeconomic, national, or otherwise and, in these instances, the media is often complicit with “othering” the disease in a way that may have very real, material consequences. Examples from recent media coverage that have “otherized” the etiology of diseases, whether the disease covered is SARS as an Asian disease, the swine flu as a Mexican disease, Tuberculosis as an immigrant disease, or HIV/AIDs as a Haitian disease. In addition, effective therapy and support is often hampered by how social perception stigmatizes diseases such as mental illness, autism, Down syndrome and the like. This is no less so in the case of the sufferer’s self-image: when a woman undergoes a radical mastectomy, or when one is the victim of a disfiguring accident. The outcome, in terms of disease management and resources, is further influenced by the media’s shaping of society’s perception of the “disease of the day” through language. Through a look at several case studies and current literature, this course will focus on the ways in which disease takes on meaning and, in many cases, emerges as a signifier for something altogether different.



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