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Paper Prompt: The Spirit Catches You…” and You Write a Paper
Directions: Reading
1. Read the entire Fadiman book.
2. Then read the following:
Jun Hu (2000) Anthropology dissertation “Under the Knife: medical “Non-compliance among Hmong Immigrants” Part 1 – “Charlie Vang’s Case” Pp 1-136. Chapter three – is more or less a chart review — so you can basically skim it. The Introduction to the dissertation is valuable. Pay particular attention to the quantitative information in the second part of the Abstract.
· You can access this dissertation through the library website (DiscoverE), as an on-line resource; it is easiest to download it. This piece is a bit long (like most dissertations) but it is a valuable counter-example to Fadiman. You do not have to read it carefully, but this will give you an idea of what a dissertation in medical anthropology looks like. Hu is a Chinese surgeon and anthropologist (an alum of Emory), so this dissertation also resulted in a short article in a prestigious biomedical journal. That article is on the Canvas site, and it might be helpful also.
Make sure you read the assigned readings from classes #14 through #16. Pay particular attention to #33 Kleinman and Benson “ Anthropology in the Clinic: the Problem of Cultural Competency and How to Fix It.” Making connections with issues we have raised in class is important.
The following resources are also available on the canvas site and will be very useful for students intending to write the highest quality paper:
· Hoang, Giao N., and Roy Erickson V. “Cultural Barriers to Effective Medical Care Among Indochinese Patients.” Annual Review of Medicine 36.1 (1985): 229-39. (on Canvas).
· Kathleen A. Culhane-Pera Healing by Heart: Clinical and Ethical Case Studies of Hmong Families and Western Providers. Silver Arch. Personal Copy on Woodruff Reserve. This is a great collection of medical case studies each of which is co-written by a physician and a Hmong person.
· Kathleen A. Culhane-Pera et al (2004) “Hmong in Laos and the United States” Pp729-742. In Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology. Vol 2: Cultures. C. Ember and M. Ember (eds) NY: Kluwer Academic
· Janelle Taylor (2003) The Story Catches You and You Fall Down: Tragedy, Ethnography, and ”Cultural Competence” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 17:159-181
· Elizabeth Jacobs (2011) Providing Better Care to Hmong and Spanish Speakers.. Grand Rounds
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx6amryrsww (Links to an external site.)
There are very many other works on the Hmong and this topic. In other words, don’t take Fadiman’s story of Lia Lee as the final word. I am looking for a deeper, critical analysis
Directions: Writing.
Write a paper of at least six pages (double spaced, 11 font) plus the “references cited”. Try not to exceed 8 pages. The paper can be any structure that you want. Originality and clear evidence of your medical anthropological analysis are important. The best papers will go well beyond a description of the Fadiman book. Please assume that I have read the book and I do not need a description of the plot. I want you to think deeper and make connections with Jun Hu’s work and the other readings. Use any formal citation format (e.g. Chicago, APA, MLA, etc.). Make sure you have a title and use section headings.
There are many medical anthropology themes that you can concentrate on. Try to stay with one or two – I am more interested in depth than breadth. Themes that come to mind, include: Ethnomedicine, shamanism, medical pluralism, ethnocentrism (on both sides), “noncompliance,” explanatory models, stigma, culture shock, cultural history, acculturation and assimilation, cross-cultural communication, health literacy, respect, hierarchy of resort in health care seeking, applied medical anthropology, “what’s at stake” (Kleinman and Benson), cultural variations in interpretation of a life-worth-living, family, doctors being “biomedically competent”, the difference in the cultures of surgery (Hu) and Medicine (Fadiman), changes that have occurred since Fadiman’s book was published. But there are many others topics you might want to explore.

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