The Tyranny of Diagnosis: Specific Entities and Individual Experience

Rosenberg, Charles 2007 Chapter 2 “The Tyranny of Diagnosis: Specific Entities and Individual Experience” of Our Present Complaint: American Medicine, Then and Now. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 13-37

Kleinman, Arthur 1988 The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing, and the Human Condition. New York: Basic Books.

What are the author’s main arguments? – What are the author’s key examples and evidence? – What are the structure and style of the text like, and how do these relate to the argument? – Who are the author’s key interlocutors? – How does the text engage key aspects of anthropological theory (e.g., social structure, the nature of experience), and how do these aspects compare to concepts that we have read in other texts? As you are reading, you should be answering the above questions in your own notes. This will help you to write a synthetic commentary for your paper. This is your first attempt at bringing together the week’s material, and should be a springboard for class discussion. In your commentary, you might choose to consider the following types of responses.

Discuss a passage that has you puzzled, and walk the class through the problem. That is, do not state only that you are confused, but rather point out the precise place in the text that you find confusing, why it is confusing, and its textual/conceptual antecedents. – Identify and explicate what you see to be a contradiction in the text. That is, do not state only that the author is contradicting herself, but rather explain the precise aspects of the passages/concepts/interpretations that seem contradictory to you. – Compare/contrast/relate some aspect of one author’s work to the work of another. While it is fine to occasionally refer to texts outside of this course, the bulk of discussion should focus on our common reading. When referring to outside texts, describe the text and its argument/evidence clearly and concisely so the rest can follow your comparison – Relate an event in the world to the text. – Follow up on/explicate an author’s citation of someone else. – Trace a pattern among key terms. Although it is a first attempt at synthesis, it should be well-written, proofread, and cited. Citations should follow AAA (Chicago) style. Because these papers are short, they must be concise. Make sure you are writing clearly and efficiently.

Weekly reading synthesis: The weekly papers will consist of no more than three and no less than two full pages of analysis/synthesis of the week’s readings. The papers will allow students to concisely interrogate concepts or themes from the course. The goal of these papers is to summarize the most important points of the authors and to place them in dialogue with other readings from our course. The only way to get full credit for these papers is to demonstrate an understanding of the readings and how they connect with the each other and the course content as a whole. The lowest weekly summary grade will be dropped. Summary papers are due every Monday. Late submissions are strongly discouraged and may receive partial credit. The papers should have a logical structure and must have proper grammar and punctuation. They should be typed in MSWord, double-spaced, in a standard 12pt font, with all outside sources properly cited using AAA/Chicago Manual style

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