Geradline Mereno-Black



Anthropology 174: Anthropology of Food and Health
This course will provide an overview of a number of central themes in Nutritional Anthropology and Medical Anthropology. It is designed to emphasize and question the biocultural approach to human nutrtion, health and illness. During the quarter we will examine past and present diet and health problems, roles of healer and patient, and anthropological perspectives of illness and treatment strategies. Discussions will also focus on current health issues. The first part of the course will discuss diet and nutrition in past and present human populations from a biological anthropology approach. The dominant paradigms in biological anthropology will be presented and discussed through focusing on perceptions of how biocultural factors influence diet, nutrition and disease patterns. The second part of the course will explore illness, sickness and healing from anthropological perspectives that expand and diverge from the prevailing views in Western society. In this section of the class we will discuss alternative ways of viewing illness and healing as well as discussing the validity of perceiving western biomedicine as a cultural system.

Anthropology 199: Health and Healing: Cross Cultural Perspectives. (Freshman Seminar)
This seminar is intended to serve as a forum for discussion of the health problems and healing practices. In all societies beliefs and practices relating to health and illness are common occurrences. The values and customs associated with ill-health are part of the wider culture and are influenced by the social, economic and political history of the society and region. Through films, readings and class discussion we examine past and present health problems, environmental factors in disease causation, roles of the healer and the patient, and traditional methods of treatment.

Anthropology 270: Introduction to Biological Anthropology
This course examines the biological aspects of the human species from comparative and evolutionary perspectives. It is designed to be a comprehensive introduction to biological, or physical, anthropology. In brief, biological anthropology is the study of human biology within the framework of evolution. In this course, we will investigate human biology through the study of genetics, inheritance, populational biology, and the principles of evolution. Since the comparative method is a key method in biological anthropology and other sciences, we will review the evolution, ecology, and behavior of the living non-human primates. We will also evaluate the evolution of human adaptability and investigate the various ways in which the human species has adapted -- and is continuing to adapt -- to habitats around the world. Finally, we shall examine the fossil record of the evolution of the human lineage, starting in the Miocene and concluding with the emergence of anatomically modern human beings.

Anthropology 360: Human Ecology
The objective of the course is to develop a foundation for understanding and evaluating human populations and their relationship with the environments. The field of human ecology provides a framework for understanding the interactions between human populations and the environments they inhabit. In this class we will explore a number of theories relevant to human ecology, selected from the broader domain of this area of study. We will review classical material from ecological anthropology about human adaptations to ecosystems. The emphasis in this class is on studies that utilize an ecological perspective, a political economy framework, and highlight issues concerning food and disease because they are at the core of most ecological theory and are social and political issues in most of the world today.

Anthropology 365: Food and Culture
Human nutritional requirements are part of our biological inheritance. Cultural considerations, however, shape our diet both in terms of what we define as food and how much of it we eat, and may even supersede biological needs. For humans, eating is not a simple biological act; food and nutritional status are influenced by demography, habitat, social traditions, religious beliefs, gender roles, status and aesthetics, among other factors. Consequently this course is devoted to analyses and discussion of the social, environmental, and symbolic aspects of food. The class will be divided into three major sections: 1) the characteristics of human food systems, 2) the symbolic roles of food, and 3) social, political and economic issues.

Anthropology 367: Human Adaptation
The study of human adaptability focuses on the interactions of human populations in their environmental context. In this class we will explore and integrate current knowledge and ideas on the anatomical, physiological, and behavioral adaptations and the evolutionary events that produced them. We will concentrate on a number of different case examples of human adaptation in an evolutionary context. For each example we will: 1) discuss the adaptation; 2) place the adaptation in an evolutionary context and then 3) discuss current ramifications of the adaptation. In particular we will focus on such adaptations as: bipedalism; temperature regulation; food production and diet; and disease patterns. By the end of the term, we anticipate that you will understand the significance of several fundamental concepts of human evolution and adaptation. The content of this course is divided into segments which focus on a particular case study of an adaptation. In each module we will trace the evolution and impact of the adaptation. The first segment will also include an introduction to the fundamental concepts relevant to the study of human adaptability. All of the case studies will integrate behavioral, physiological and anatomical adaptations.

Anthropology 460/560: nutritional anthropology
This class, Nutritional Anthropology, was developed to provide us with a forum for examining the relationship between human dietary patterns and human biology. Food is the "stuff" of life. We eat food for social and cultural reasons. And, we eat food because food contains nutrients, which fuel our cells and allow us to function -- grow, think, reproduce, work, resist disease and live. Too much, too little or an improper mix of nutrients can lead to health and biological problems. Therefore, the quest for food has been a major force in evolution and continues to have a profound effect on ecological systems, societies, human biology and human behavior. In this class we will focus our discussions on three main issues: 1) how the human diet has evolved and changed over time; 2) how food and dietary patterns are related to human growth and development and 3) how hunger and satiety are perceived in the social and biological body. These three issues are interrelated and build on each other, consequently we will return to and reexamine the material throughout the quarter. This class centers on a modified Problem Based Learning format. The concept of "Problem Based Learning" is defined differently by each individual, however the general idea is that students use inquiry and self-discovery, based on real data, to form hypothesis as opposed to learning via lecture-fact memorization In this class we will use brainstorming, discussion, hands-on exercises, group reports, and other in-class activities to foster understanding among all learners.

Anthropology 464/564: Methods and Perspectives on Human Biology.
This course focuses on the perspectives and methods which are part of the field of human biology. These methods and perspectives are based on evolutionary biology, genetics, statistical expression of human variation, environmental adaptation, an understanding of the human life cycle, and the interaction of behavior and biology. In this class we will emphasize the application of human biology and biological anthropology to broad issues. Many of the issues of human welfare requiring public action involve small biological effects on large numbers of people, consequently the material discussed in this class has been selected to stimulate thinking about the application of bioanthropology to matters of public concern.

Anthropology 465/565: Gender Issue in Nutritional Anthropology
This course explores the connections among nutrition, anthropology and gender. We will focus on examining some of the models, theories and questions which relate the role of food to human biology and adaptation. During the quarter we will utilize information from anthropology, nutrition, medicine, political economy, agriculture to name just a few disciplines. We will focus on gender sensitive assumptions about the cultural regulation of dietary intake and women as gatekeepers of the food system and mediators between the food produced and food consumed. We discuss male and female differences in biological utilization of nutrients and thus nutrient requirements. We also pay particular attention to special nutritional diseases and health problems. Hunger and world food issues will also be discussed.

Anthropology 469/569: Anthropological Perspectives on Health and Illness
This course provides an overview of a number of central themes in Medical Anthropology. It is designed to emphasize and question the biocultural approach to human health and illnes. We examine past and present health problems, environmental factors in disease causation, roles of healer and patient, and anthropological perspectives of illness and treatment strategies. Discussions will also focus on current health issues. We discuss alternative ways of viewing illness and healing as well as the validity of perceiving Western biomedicine as a cultural system.