Ontario College of Art & Design

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Health & Wellness: Ethics & Cultural Politics
0.50 Credit(s)
Academic Course
Prerequisite: 10 credits, including 1.0 credit of second-year liberal studies (including 0.5 VISC credit).
A study of the ethics and cultural politics in the current debate between the conventional medical profession and proponents of health and wellness. It will focus on the public debate of issues related to the state-control of health matters, for example, the power and dominance of conventional medical organizations, the social value of the illness-oriented practice of medicine, the politicization of medical research, the gender-bias in medical reproductive technology, medical lobby-groups and the management of mass media discourse on health, the appropriateness of drug therapy, and the propriety of the relationship between doctors and drug companies. This will include consideration of the politics of cultural difference and its impact on the scientific and ethical validity of medical methodologies used in alternative practices like Chinese herbalism and acupuncture, European homeopathy, Indian Ayurvedic medicine and Yoga, and North American indigenous medicine.

It will also include reference to ethical dimensions of the representation of the illness and health of the body in cultural production, for example, the depiction of the AIDs epidemic in the work of General Idea, the use of body fluids in relation to religious icons in Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ, the feminist implications of cosmetic surgery in Orlan’s video-taped operating-theatre performances, the marketing of human remains in Body Worlds Show of plastinized works by Gunther von Hagen, the fetishization of wounds in David Cronenberg’s Crash, and the consecrated medicine of native Canadians in the art work of Jane Ash Poitras. Students will learn about ethical theories from around the world, and they will develop skills in critical ethical thinking by applying these theories to the analysis of the issues identified above.
Course was last updated April 12, 2011 - 10:22 AM