Emory University
Emory University

Teaching

Courses focusing on issues in religion and public health are plentiful at Emory.  Whether offered in the departments of sociology or religion or the schools of public health or theology, these courses offer students the opportunity to learn more about cutting-edge issues and efforts to address them.  Some courses are cross-listed in multiple schools or departments (see information in parentheses after the name of the course), and most, if not all, will accept students from other programs.  Contact the instructor for further information.

FALL 2013 Courses

Religion and Public Health (SOC 564/EPI 554/SR 653)     Ellen Idler

This course will provide graduate students and advanced undergraduate students with a sociologically-oriented interdisciplinary survey of research on the intersection of public health and religious practices and beliefs, in individuals and populations. Religion is one factor among many others in the social environment that to some extent determines the health of populations. Religion also has a role in the organization and practice of medicine and public health, in the lives of individuals, their families and social networks, health professionals, and the institutions in which they interact. The course will emphasize evidence from quantitative social science and epidemiology, the role of religion in the historical development of public health institutions, and the theoretical social science origins of religion and health research. Under the large umbrella of religion and health research, we will be attempting to map the part of the field that is distinctively oriented to public health, rather than to medicine.

Religion and Health in Context: Sexuality and Reproductive Health (GH 593/SR 593)     John Blevins

This course will offer a sustained critical analysis of the complicated relationship between religion and sexuality, particularly in relation to issues of central concern to sexual and reproductive health.  In the course, students will examine the teachings of major world religions (with a primary focus on Christianity and Islam) on sexuality from global perspectives, place those teachings in historical contexts, critically assess the impact of those teachings in the context of sexual and reproductive health initiatives in both national and international contexts, and work to align religion and sexual and reproductive health initiatives through group projects and case studies.

Assessing Religion’s Role in Public Health and Development Initiatives in Kenya (GH 576)     John Blevins, Mimi Kiser, and Deborah McFarland

This course is the second in a two-course sequence.  Students must have been enrolled in the first course, “Religion, Health, and Development,” (held each spring semester) in order to participate in this course. The bulk of this course over the summer break in Kenya, with classroom seminars held at St. Paul’s University and eight weeks of field work taking place in a Kenyan non-governmental organization.  Students will meet at Emory in the fall semester semester for final, integrative work related to their summer experiences in Kenya.

This course will provide students with a thorough introduction to the intersection of religion, public health, and development practice.  The course will combine readings on these topics from inter-disciplinary perspectives with case studies, group work, field placement experiences, and student presentations.

Health as Social Justice (GH 507/NRSG 686)     Mimi Kiser

This course examines the multiplicity of social justice factors that affect health as well as community systems and social change approaches that may favorably alter them. The course is designed to include students from Schools of Public Health, Theology, Nursing and Law in order to frame issues as interdisciplinary concerns.

Spring 2014 Courses

Religion and Health in Context: HIV (GH 536/CST SR 536)     John Blevins

This course will explore the ways in which religion has been from the beginning of the epidemic to make sense of the HIV epidemic and to mobilize or hinder productive responses.  These processes of making meaning and responding have occurred in a variety of contexts; the course will critically explore a broad spectrum of religious, political, and public health contexts to demonstrate the ways in which religion has been invoked in response to questions and practices of health and wellness in general and to HIV in particular.

Religion, Health, and Development (GH 575)     John Blevins, Mimi Kiser, and Deborah McFarland

This course will provide participants with an introduction to the intersection of religion, public health, and development practice.  The specific context for examining that intersection is the east African country of Kenya, a country whose cultural, political, and religious dynamics provide an ideal setting for such examination.

Faith and Health: Transforming Communities (GH 519/SR 650)     Mimi Kiser

Offered jointly to students at Candler, Rollins School of Public Health, and Woodruff School of Nursing this course explores the theoretical factors, practical ministries and leadership practices which create conditions in which people and communities can be healthy.

The purpose of this course is to help students oriented toward pastoral, social service and community health roles accomplish the following:

  • Better understand the theoretical relationship between religious practices at personal and social scale and the health of the community as a basis for developing and leading initiatives.
  • Become familiar with both religious and health science literature in this area in order to develop an expanded conceptual framework for leadership that contributes to community transformation.
  • Develop leadership awareness and practices that build the capacity for collaboration between religious organizations, including congregations and their partners in the public sector.

Spiritual Care in African Religious Traditions (WR645/PC645)     Emmanuel Lartey

The course will examine how spiritual care is conceptualized and practiced in various African religious traditions including African-derived religions in South and Central America, the Caribbean, and North America. The first part of the course is spent gaining theoretical grounding in African religious thought and philosophy. The second part of the course focuses on African traditional medicine, divination, rituals and practices of care. We will examine African healing systems, concepts of disease, traditional concepts of mental health, traditional beliefs and interpretations of various illnesses, as well as traditional healing and practices of medical and spiritual care. We also will explore some of the myths surrounding traditional healing in Africa. In the final part of the course, African American and other African diasporan folk traditional understandings and practices of healing and spiritual care in the Americas and the Caribbean will be explored.

 

Past Courses

African Traditional Healing     Emmanuel Lartey

Responding to Suffering     George Grant

Health and Healing: Understanding the Role of Religion     Joyce Flueckiger

Ethnography, Reproductive Health, and Religious Ethics     Don Seeman

Pastoral Dimensions of Biomedical Decisions     Karen Scheib, Andrew Faucett

 

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