This interdisciplinary seminar, designed for students in Anthropology, Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Global Health at Yale, is designed to explore in an in-depth fashion ethnographic approaches to masculinity and men’s health around the globe. The course will begin with two theoretical texts on masculinity, followed by nine anthropological ethnographies on various dimensions of men’s health and well-being. Students in this course will gain broad exposure to a number of exigent global men’s health issues, issues of ethnographic research design and methodology, and the interdisciplinary theorizing of masculinity scholars in Anthropology, Sociology, and Cultural Studies. In particular, this course will demonstrate how anthropologists studying men’s health issues in a variety of Western and non-Western sites, including the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, have contributed to both social theory and ethnographic scholarship of importance to health policy.
Through humanistic engagement in men’s lives, anthropologists have contributed considerably to theoretical debates about men’s embodiment, agency, desire, identity, suffering, and resistance to (dis)ease-producing social relations and conditions. Topics highlighted in their work include the social construction and “disciplining” of the male body and men’s sexuality in the era of HIV/AIDS; men’s changing health needs and concerns throughout the male life cycle; the medicalization and technologization of men’s reproductive health; the health-demoting effects of racism, poverty, patriarchy, and inhumane conditions of labor; men’s engagements with unhealthy substances and toxic exposures, including to war; and, ultimately, how men narrativize and make meaning of their suffering.