The university of calgary
THE UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY
FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY
Sociology 403.02: Gender and Health
Class Time and Location: TR, 11:00 AM- 12: 15 PM, SH 278
Instructor: Rebecca J. Carter
Office hours: TR, 9:45 AM-10:45 AM, SS_, or by appointment
This is a senior-level seminar focused on a gendered analysis of health, illness and medical
care. This course will chiefly explore how and why the social construction of gender differentially structures women and men’s experiences of health, illness and resultant medical care. In exploring these issues, students will develop an understanding of the gendered discourses and practices underpinning contemporary definitions of ‘health’; the development and legitimizing (or resistance) of medical knowledge; the various ‘treatments’ for illness and the methods used to administer them; the health care workforce that administers treatment; and finally, the non-medical institutions that also influence health, illness and medicine (including the criminal justice and educational systems). Exploring these issues will elucidate how gender inequalities are produced and reproduced in the context of health, illness, and medicine, and how this may impact other aspects of social life, including the family, workplace, and political arenas.
Course content will aim to develop a gender ‘lens’ with which to examine contemporary
health/illness/medical topics by synthesizing theoretical perspectives from the sociology of gender
relations and the sociology of health, illness and medicine. Utilizing this gender lens, the course will
explore a broad range of substantive topics, including: menopause and menstruation; AIDS; disease
epidemiology; birthing of and caring for children; violence and its connections to health; cosmetic and
gender (re)assignment surgeries; contraception; mental health; eating disorders; obesity; cancer; and
the gendered organization of health human resources. The confluence of gender with race/ethnicity,
class and ability will be emphasized throughout the course. Required Reading
1. Lorber, Judith and Lisa Jean Moore. 2002. Gender and the Social Construction of Illness,
second edition. Plymouth, UK: AltaMira Press.
• This text is available for purchase at the University of Calgary Bookstore.
2. A series of peer-reviewed journal articles, available for viewing and/or printing through
Blackboard (accessible through blackboard.ucalgary.ca or my.ucalgary.ca)
• These articles will be posted in the ‘Assigned Readings’ section of Blackboard, and
will be posted at least one week (i.e., two classes) in advance.
There are five components of the student’s grade:
A first mid-term examination, to be held in class on Tuesday, February 10, 2009: 25% of final
• The mid-term will be comprised of lecture and reading material from the January
A second mid-term examination, to be held in class on Thursday, March 19, 2009: 25% of final
• The mid-term will be comprised of lecture and reading material from the February
• Topics and potential questions will be distributed one week prior to each mid-term
examination. Additionally, students will be permitted a one-page, single-spaced, typed (1 inch margins, 12 point font) ‘cheat sheet’ during the exam. This is intended to focus study and reinforce key points, rather than concentrate on memorization.
An in-class oral presentation, to be held in class during the April 2-April 16, 2009 sessions:
10% of final grade.
• Students will briefly summarize the focus and proposed organization of their final
paper. This will provide students with an opportunity to plan and discuss their work with fellow students.
• Presentations will be entirely oral (i.e., no Power-Point or overheads) and no longer
than 10 minutes. Students should offer a 5 minute summary of their proposed work and allow for 5 minutes of questions/discussion.
• Students will begin to sign up for presentation times on Tuesday, March 19, 2009.
A term paper, due Monday, April 20, 2009: 30% of final grade.
• Papers will be on a course-relevant topic of the student’s choice. • Papers must be 3000-4000 words in length and integrate at least 10 peer-reviewed
journal articles (other sources are certainly permitted and encouraged, but not required).
• More detailed instructions for the final paper will be posted on Blackboard on
Tuesday, February 10, 2009 and discussed in class on Thursday, February 12, 2009. Office hours for the collection of papers will be arranged and communicated.
5. Class participation and attendance: 10% of final grade.
• Students are expected to attend class regularly, complete all readings in advance
and participate in class discussions and film viewing. Engagement in these activities will be noted throughout the term.
The following grading scale will be used to convert percentage grades to letter grades:
Course sessions will consist of lecture material, class-based discussions, videos and guest
lectures. Attendance and participation in all of these activities—particularly class discussions—is expected and will be noted throughout the term. Additionally, questions or ‘guides’ to accompany the assigned reading will often be posted on Blackboard. The posting of these questions or guides will be announced at least two classes in advance, and are expected to inform the basis of our class discussions. All students are expected to formulate informal notes and/or thoughts around these questions in advance of the session we discuss them.
1. Conrad, Peter.
(1992). Medicalization and
social control. Annual Review of Sociology,
1.Cahill, H.A. (2001). Male appropriation and
medicalization of childbirth: an historical
analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 33(3): 334-342.
2.Lock, M. & Kaufert, P. (2001). Menopause, local biologies and cultures of aging, American Journal of Human Biology, 13:494-504.
1. Gillespie, R. (1996). Women, the body and
surgery and the paradox of choice. Women &
*Mid-Term Examination 1 (25%
of final grade)*
*Term Paper Instructions
Posted on Blackboard*
1. Courtenay, W.H. (2000). Constructions of
masculinity and their influence on men’s
well-being: a theory of gender and health.
Social Science & Medicine, 50(10): 1385-
2. Cameron, E. & Bernardes, J. (2008). Gender and Disadvantage in Health: Men’s Health for a Change. , 20(5): 673-693.
1. Chapple, A. & Ziebland, S. (2002). Prostate
cancer: embodied experience and perceptions of masculinity. Sociology of Health & Illness, 24(6): 820-41.
2. Drummond, M.J.N. (2002). Men, Body Image, and Eating Disorders. Men's Studies Press, 1(1): 89-103.
medicalization of body size and women’s healthcare. Health Care for Women International, 29(3): 227-243
1. Blum, L.M. & Stracuzzi, N.F. (2004).
discourse and productive femininity. Gender & Society, 18(3): 269-286.
2. Hartley, H. (2006). The ‘pinking’ of Viagra culture: drug industry efforts to create and repackage sex drugs for women. Sexualities, Volume 9(3): 363-378.
Female Genital Mutilation, Circumcision and Inter-sex
*Mid-Term Examination 2
(25% of final grade)*
1. Lorber, Chapter 3 2. Evans, Joan. (2008). Men in nursing: issues of gender segregation and hidden advantage.
1. Wood, K., Maforah, F. & Jewkes, R.
(1998). “He forced me to love him”: putting violence on adolescent sexual health agendas. Social Science & Medicine, 47(2): 233-242.
2. Long, S. (2004) When doctors torture: the anus and the state in Egypt and beyond. Health and Human Rights 7(2):114–141.
1) Deadlines and Submission of Course Components
: Graded course components submitted late
will be penalized by a deduction of 5% per day, except in the case of documented illness and/or extenuating circumstances brought to the instructor’s notice in advance of the due date and time.
If at all possible you must provide advance notice to the instructor if you are unable
to take a test or pass in an assignment or essay on time. All requests for deferral of a course component due to health reasons must be accompanied by written documentation as outlined in the University Calendar and should be obtained while the student has the physical or emotional problem rather than after recovery. Deferrals will be allowed in the following circumstances: illness, domestic affliction or religious conviction. Travel arrangements and misreading of the syllabus are not valid reasons for requesting a deferral. Deferrals will not be granted if it is determined that just cause is not shown by the student.
3) Missed Examinations
: If a mid-term examination is missed due to documented illness and/or
extenuating circumstances brought to the instructor’s notice in advance of the exam, the student may either ‘make-up’ the exam as close in time as possible to the original test OR transfer the percentage weight of the exam to the other midterm examination. If the student chooses to ‘make up’ an examination, its date and location will be determined by the Department of Sociology.
4) Ethics Research:
Students are advised that any research with human subjects--including any
interviewing (even with friends and family), opinion polling, or unobtrusive observation--must have the approval of the Departmental Ethics Committee. In completing course requirements,
students must not undertake any human subjects research without discussing their plans with the instructor, to determine if ethics approval is required.
5) Academic Misconduct:
cheating is regarded as a serious academic offense. Students are
advised to consult the University Calendar, which presents a Statement of Intellectual Honesty and definitions and penalties associated with cheating, plagiarism, and other academic misconduct.
6) The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP)
legislation disallows the
practice of having students retrieve assignments from a public place, e.g., outside an instructor’s office or the Department main office. Written assignments must be returned to students individually, during class, or during the instructor’s office hours; if a student is unable to pick up her/his assignment s/he may provide the instructor with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to be used for the return of the assignment.
: The University of Calgary provides a “safe walk” service to any location on
Campus, including the LRT, parking lots, bus zones, and campus housing. For Campus Security/Safewalk call 220-5333. Campus Security can also be contacted from any of the “Help” phones located around Campus.
8) Handing in Papers Outside of Class, Return of Final Papers, and Release of Final Grades:
• When students are unable to submit papers at class, they should make arrangements
to hand in their papers directly to the instructor or teaching assistant rather than at the Sociology Department main office.
• Final papers will not be returned through the Sociology Department main office. The
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) legislation disallows the practice of having students retrieve assignments from a public place, (i.e., outside an instructor’s office, the department office, etc.). Students who want their final papers returned by mail must attach a stamped, self-addressed envelope with the paper. Otherwise final papers will only be available for pick-up during the instructor’s office hours at the end of this term or the beginning of the next term.
• Final grades are not posted by the Sociology department. They are only available
9) Academic Accommodation:
Students with a disability, who require academic accommodation, need to register with the
Disability Resource Centre (MC 295, telephone 220-8237). Academic accommodation
letters need to be provided to course instructors no later than fourteen (14) days after the first
It is a student’s responsibility to register with the Disability Resource Centre and to
request academic accommodation, if required.
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