Wrapping it up

We’re nearly there! The end of the semester is upon us!

I always have grand ideas of a nice, thorough post to tie together our journey through the semester, but, alas, it didn’t happen.

Instead, I’d simply like to thank you for showing up this semester. As an instructor, I asked you to do a lot of experimental assignments in this course. While not all of them were successful, I truly appreciate your effort. 

And, of course, covid-19. Y’all have done a solid job of continuing to show up, communicating with me when you’ve run into issues (personal or technological), and engaging with the material despite the chaos that is the new normal. 

That being said, I have one last request for you. Please take 10-15 minutes to fill out this course reflection survey. Student feedback on the course and my teaching (whether they be glowing reviews or brutally honest in their constructive criticism) is so valuable for me in how I develop as an instructor and how I craft my courses in the next semester. Think of it as paying it forward to the next cohort of students that take my courses. 

I hope this summer brings you all health, comfort, and ease. 

A few quick reminders before I sign off: 

Your Course Reflection Paper is due tomorrow, Sunday May 3rd, by 11:59pm EST. 

All assignment grades, up until this point, have been logged in iCollege. If you see any issues, alert me by Wednesday, May 6th

Complete the course reflection survey by Wednesday May 6th. 


COVID-19 Contingency Plans and Updated Course Schedule 

First of all, I hope you are all safe and stable, and this update finds you in good health. These can be anxiety-inducing times, so please remember to take good care of yourself: 

drink water, rest, and connect with loved ones

and wash your hands

In light of the campus closure and course cancellation for the next two weeks (March 13* – March 29), I have adjusted a number of items on the course syllabus.

* Note: Discussion Notes #4 is still due by Sunday, March 15th

If you have not yet met with your group to discuss the readings from Week 8 + 9 and are unable to do so between now and Sunday, please email me directly.   

Please read this updated syllabus carefully and let me know (via comments or email) if you have any questions or concerns.

(Announcement continued below attachment)  


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I will continue to be actively engaged with the course despite classes being cancelled. I’ll be spending the next two weeks getting all grades up to date, giving feedback on projects, and preparing materials for the remainder of the semester (so that should students choose, they can complete the remaining course material in advance).   

I understand that many students will take this time to rest and be with family, while others will focus on finishing as much course material as possible (so that when classes are back in session this course is one less thing to worry about). I support whichever route you decide to take. 

In terms of my own schedule, I will be available to answer emails or set up video conference-calls between 1:30 – 3:00pm or after 8:00pm EST. 

While our course is a little easier to manage because we’re already online, please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you manage the rest of the semester.

As I’m sure you’re aware, these adjustments are difficult for all involved: students and their families, university staff, and instructors. Please practice kindness and compassion for all those around you, and we’ll get through this (coronavirus, the anxiety, and the social disruptions) together as a community.

And for a little bit of levity (and connection to current events and our course…)  

Choice Project: next steps and point value adjustments

Today I commented on all of your individual Choice Assignment pages. Please take a moment to look at my comments. Generally, the feedback and tasks for this week include: 

Curate Content Assignment – Start collecting potential resources and posting them into your project page (in draft form). Also include quick notes about what each source contains content-wise, and link to the website or GSU catalogue permalink. I will comment with gaps and any potential issues I see

Expand a Topic – Start collecting potential resources and posting them into your project page (in draft form). Also start thinking about the flow and topics that your article will cover (ex: Background overview, specific context, subsections)

Attend a Healing Session – On your project page, list the name of the healing business you plan to attend, the scheduled date, and other pertinent details. If you’re planning to attend an Acupuncture or Traditional Chinese medicine session, make sure you’ve read Week 9’s course content before you go. I suggest you attend no later than March 13th to give you plenty of time to attend, reflect, write and post your assignment. 



The “star” values of the “Interactive Timeline” and “Multimedia Presentation” are now worth four stars (☆☆☆☆) instead of two.

I think many of you were opting out of that option because it required both assignments, and that was not a reasonable expectation on my end. Please give these assignments a second look and see if they spark your interest. 

If they do, and you’d like to switch the first project (that I’ve already commented on), please email me directly and then make the changes on your EduBlog. If you decide to tackle either of those projects for the second portion of the class, there’s no need to confirm with me. 

I hope you find this helpful, and thank you for being flexible with me while I figure out this project dynamic!

Choice Project: Attending a CAM healing session

I just checked out the Choice Project Progress googlesheet and realized that more than half of the class has decided to Attend a CAM healing session for the first assignment.

While I’m excited that you’re all open to experiencing new forms of healing and will get the opportunity to integrate course theory with lived experience, I did notice a problem I did not anticipate when I originally constructed the assignment. 

Lots of you are planning to attend a healing session (such as yoga and meditation), but the first submission date (Sunday, March 22) is well before we will have covered those topics in the course. 

An important objective of this course is to give you the social and historical contexts of these different healing modalities — having you attend a healing session without having background knowledge of it both defeats the purpose of the assignment, but also limits you in your ability to integrate course concepts into your reflection and analysis. 

Therefore, I’m asking that you postpone attendance of a healing session until we’ve covered the material in the course.

If you’re planning on attending an Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese healing session or Chiropractic, you’re still good to go, although the turn around on analysis will be very short — again, assuming that you wait to schedule the session until after we’ve covered the material. 

Finally, a few of you have indicated that you want to attend a healing session of a modality we do not cover in the course material. For these instances, I’ve indicated in the assignment instructions that you need to first complete the “Curate Course Content” assignment on that specific modality so that you have socio-historical context before attending a session. 

To wrap up, if you’re one of the students that indicated you wanted to attend a healing session, please put that project on hold and pivot to your second project choice. You can still come back to the attend a healing session later in the semester. Also make sure that you update the Project Progress googlesheet, as well as your project pages on your EduBlogs. 

Week 7: CAM as a Reflection of Social Relations

The past two weeks our readings have focused on the relationship between the Holistic Health movement and the New Age movements, and their influence on the development of complementary and alternative medicine in the 1970’s.

Our focus now shifts to contemporary expressions of CAM. This week we’ll explore a more complicated and nuanced view of who consumes CAM, and why, while also focusing on Baer’s theory of resistance and accommodation in the modern context of CAM practices. Then our exploration shifts to the contemporary manifestations and historical developments of CAM that is inspired by Dharmic (Asian) religious healing systems. 


Discussion Group: 

Discussion Group Notes #3 is due on Sunday, March 1 

Midpoint Self- and Peer- Reflection is also due on Sunday, March 1 via iCollege Assignments

Make sure you read the assignment details and understand my expectations for comments on your self- and peer- participation. Reflections that lack detail, or indicate participation by students that were clearly not present, will be returned and a “zero” assigned until the issues are remedied. 

I suggest you make a copy of the attached document and type directly into the worksheet. Save it as a PDF and submit the reflection to the corresponding iCollege submission folder. 


Choice Projects: 

Keep updating the Project Progress Googlesheet and your individual project pages. 

If I comment on your project pages, make sure you respond promptly. If you need my immediate feedback (such as approval before scheduling to attend a healing session), email me directly in addition. 


Reflection Journals: 

This is a friendly reminder that you should continue to post on EduBlogs at least once a week. At this point, you should have, at minimum, 5 or 6 substantial reflections. 


Reading Prompts: 

I realized that I included the wrong reading on the syllabus. I’ve attached the appropriate reading (the last) and uploaded it to iCollege. 

“The American Dominative Medical System as a Reflection of Social Relations in the Larger Society”, Hans A Baer, (pg 1103-1111) – iCollege

  • How does Baer define “medical pluralism” ?
  • According to Baer, when does the corporate class and state sponsors support alternative medicine? 
  • In your own words, describe the relationship between biomedicine and corporate capitalism that Baer highlights. 
  • What is “social medicine”? 
  • What were some of the unintended consequences of the Flexner report?
  • Describe how the social classes are distributed throughout the biomedical workforce. 
  • According to Baer, what does professionalization provide to CAM providers / healers? 
  • Despite their almost indistinguishable original approaches to healing, how did Osteopathy and Chiropractic diverge in the 20th century to their modern manifestations? 
  • What is the Holistic Health movement as a whole (mainly white, middle class population) protesting? 
  • Despite the counter-culture tendencies of CAM, what similar traits to biomedicine does it exhibit (accommodation)? 
  • If we apply Baer’s theory of protest and accommodation to other communities’ use of CAM, what conclusions do you assume that we’ll be able to draw? 


“Beyond the Barriers: racial discrimination and the use of complementary and alternative medicine among Black Americans”, Tetyana Pylypiv Shippee, Markus H Scharfer, and Kenneth F Ferraro, (pg 1155-1162) – iCollege

  • How do the authors of this article define and differentiate the concepts of “major discrimination” and “everyday discrimination”? Which do they focus on in their study? 
  • Page 1156 describes various minority status communities that self-report discrimination and higher use of CAM. What does this tell use about CAM generally, and how does this relate to Baer’s theory? 
  • What are some of the potential outcomes of discrimination in the healthcare setting? 
  • What is this study’s conclusion about any type of discrimination (whether within medical care setting or not) and CAM use by Black folks?
  • Why would CAM appeal in the specific context of Black Americans? What might these users be resisting? Why might CAM be appealing in this context? 
  • What are the limitations noted in the study? 

“How Does Acculturation Affect the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Providers Among Mexican- and Asian- Americans?”, Jennifer H. Lee, Michael S. Goldstein, E. Richard Brown, Rachel Ballard-Barbash,  (page 302-309) – iCollege

  • Why did the authors of this study pick chiropractic, massage, curanderos and acupuncturists / traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners to focus on? 
  • What were the main takeaways of this study’s results? In relation to Mexican-American immigrants? In relation to Asian-American immigrants?
  • The results of this study are a bit messy and complicated. What can this tell us about our assumptions about CAM use? 




  • Social medicine 
  • Major discrimination (systematic discrimination)
  • Everyday discrimination
  • Agentic Action
  • Acculturation
  • Bicultural identity

Choice Project // Description Videos + Discussion Forum

I realize that the choice project may seem confusing or daunting, so I took some time today to record a number of short videos where I talk through the assignments, both as a larger project and then individually.

I’ve attached those videos below (the last two assignment videos will be live by tomorrow morning, they’re still uploading to YouTube and it’s slow going). You can also navigate to them from the course landing page by Course Documents > Choice Project > Choice Project Videos. 

If you have any initial questions, please comment within this thread or you can email me directly. 

I’ve also added a forum menu where you can ask your peers (and me) questions about the specific projects, share ideas and inspiration, and troubleshoot through technology and research issues.