Brooke Hansen, Associate Professor and Chair
Brooke Hansen is a cultural and medical anthropologist who introduces students to the broad area of cultural anthropology through films, readings, field trips and reflections on our own cultures and practices. Cultural anthropology encompasses many subfields and this course will focus on gender across the globe (some cultures have 4 or 5 gender categories!), magic and religion, human cultures and the environment, and the many health and healing practices we see around the world, from shamanism in Nigeria to acupuncture in China and reiki in Japan. We adopt broad and holistic perspectives to all of these areas of study.
The course promotes reflection on how globalization is a major process that influences non-western cultures and our own. What does it mean to have the McDonald’s arches symbolize America from India to Serbia? When we eat sushi in America, are we learning about Japanese culture? When musical genres like hip hop and rap spread to other cultures, is it the same as the American forms?
Anthropology also specializes in understanding indigenous cultures and the contemporary issues and struggles they face. In the Ithaca area, it was the Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois) Confederacy and their ancestors that called this place home for thousands of years. Everyone in America lives on land that an indigenous Native American tribe at some point in time called home. We will explore the homelands of class participants and also examine the status of indigenous peoples in Africa, Australia, Brazil and the Pacific.
Special features of the class for summer 2012 include field trips to local sites that reflect course themes, including the Ithaca Free Clinic and a trip to Cayuga SHARE Farm to learn about the return of this Native American culture, a member nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, to their homeland around Cayuga Lake.
Anthropology's usefulness to other disciplines such as medicine, tourism, education, economic development, communication, biology, conflict resolution studies, and human resource management will also be presented.
Professor Hansen is the Coordinator for Native American Studies at Ithaca College and she co-coordinates the Integrative Health Studies minor. Her scholarship over the past decade has included an activist anthropology project returning land to the Cayuga Nation and local work in establishing the Ithaca Free Clinic, one of the few free clinics in the country that include integrative services such as herbalism, acupuncture and massage. Hansen is an Associate Professor in Ithaca College's Department of Anthropology.