STIA-354 War, Trauma, and Recovery
Spring for 2017-2018
Increasingly healthcare professionals are being asked to assess and treat refugees, internally displaced people, and migrants who have experienced traumatic events due to war and other forms of violence. Much of the assistance provided to survivors of wars and armed conflict is based on an unduly mechanistic and medicalized view of human experience that suggests that the pathological effects of war are found inside a person and that the person recovers as if from an illness. Drawing on a variety of genres, but with a focus on ethnography, we will analyze armed conflict, war, genocide, political violence, and migration as examples of social suffering. We will debate the social and political roots of disease and illness; the local intersection of the individual body, the community, and the state; survivor narratives of pain, loss, and trauma, and the ways that various public policies and interventions aimed at alleviating suffering can actually exacerbate it. We will also review the ethical and practical responsibilities of anthropologists and other social scientists as well as practitioners engaged in understanding and responding to different forms of human suffering.

The format of the course will include lectures, classroom discussions, individual and group assignments (written and oral). The course should be of interest to undergraduate and graduate students in anthropology, sociology, psychology, nursing, public policy, Foreign Service, and law interested in forced migration, humanitarian relief, development, and human rights.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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