2018-19 Pomona College Catalog 
    
    Nov 14, 2018  
2018-19 Pomona College Catalog
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ANTH189A PO - Culture and Mental Health

When Offered: Spring 2019.
Instructor(s): T. Hecht
Credit: 1

In a few swift decades, psychiatry has become less a treatment of the mind and the disarray of human experience than a means of managing the brain, conceived of as an organ like any other in the body and responsive to chemical regulation. Beginning with a familiar vantage point (say, the college campus), the course casts a wide net and asks, is what we call depression in the suburbs of Los Angeles fundamentally the same thing in Mumbai and in the rural areas of South Africa? What does the burgeoning number of children in the United States diagnosed with ADHD say about changes in American childhood and in the medical profession, in cultural understandings of the brain and of human behavior? How does the proliferating use of psychoactive drugs affect conceptions of the self and of well-being? This course examines, in short, the intersections of mental health with lived experience in a cross-cultural context, juxtaposing the writings of medical professionals with the narratives of those experiencing mental illness in the most varied circumstances from the residence halls in Claremont to the streets of Brazil. It introduces students to the idea that the science of mental health is itself a culturally informed and shifting terrain. Yet the course may also lead one to wonder whether certain manifestations of suffering and the desire for health are not also intrinsic to a shared human experience that transcends our moment in time and our most familiar surroundings.
Satisfies the following General Education Requirement(s), subject to conditions explained in the Degree Requirements section of this Catalog:
Area 2



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