Stigma and the Expressive Arts: Cultivating Compassion

ANTH-E 203 — Fall 2021 — Themester

Course Description

Cultural value systems in every society rely on sets of mutually defining terms -- for example, normal/abnormal, able-bodied/disabled, free/enslaved, legal/illegal, heterosexual/homosexual -- that largely determine local attitudes of acceptance or ostracism regarding particular categories of persons. Focusing on relations of social stigma in the U.S. allows us to understand how our own cultural value systems inform how we communicate and engage with others. This course focuses on the resilience of those who resist the stigmatizing gaze, and on the range and efficacy of strategies they use to counteract stigma.

Instructor: Dr. Susan Seizer

"The two pieces of the title of this course are “Stigma” and the “Expressive Arts.” I'm looking mostly at film: how people have sought to represent their experience through the artistic lens in a way that builds compassion for and helps people understand their experiences."

Read an interview with Dr. Seizer

This course fulfills an IUB GenED A&H, CASE A&H, and CASE Diversity in the U.S.