Swarthmore Classes That Impacted Me

Culture, Health, Illness taught by Christy Schuetze

I took this class during my pass/fail semester at Swarthmore. It is the class that made me want to design my own major in medical anthropology: a subfield of anthropology, which examines affliction and therapeutics from a cross-cultural perspective. This class explores the diverse approaches to understanding and managing health and diseases. We opened the course with powerful case studies that expose the cultural aspects of illnesses, medicine, and healing. Then, we examined examples of anthropologists’ direct contribution to understanding an array of emergent and pressing health concerns. It was the class that really opened my mind to the way in which healing goes is beyond Western Biomedicine. 

P.S. Professor Schuetze also teaches Anthropology of Biomedicine, another amazing medical anthropology class!!

Foundation in Photography taught by Helen Cooper

I took this class out of interest in exploring more about photography. This class introduced me to film-based photography as the primary image-making medium. We got to dissect different skills as we navigated developing film in dark rooms, scanning and processing film, and working with different cameras. What was great about this course was that our equipment and materials were accounted for as part of Swarthmore’s Cash-free Campus and Textbook Affordability Initiative. From the film to the cameras, we didn’t have to spend extra money to take this class. There are no extra fees for art courses or lab courses at Swarthmore. At the end of the semester, we got to produce a photography project of our choice that was displayed in the College’s List Gallery. In this class, I learned how to step out of my comfort zone and produced something that I didn’t know I can do. 

A photo of my final photography project displayed at in Swarthmore College’s List Gallery.

Comparative Perspective of the Bodies taught by Farha Ghannam

This class was really impactful. I took it during my freshman spring (2021). The course explores how different societies regulate, discipline, and shape the human body. When comparing the body modifications through time and space, I got to understand the socioeconomic context and relate them to broader cultural meanings and social inequalities and investigate how embodiment shapes personal and collective identities. This course was situated as a discussion-based class that mirrored a graduate-style seminar where students got the chance and opportunity to guide the course discussion to our personal interests. The academic papers from this course will be tools that I will forever carry in developing my own perspective and point of view on the world. 

Pedagogy & Power: Introduction to Education taught by Edwin Mayorga

I took this course my sophomore semester after hearing from so many upperclassmen how impactful Professor Mayorga is. After finishing this course, I agree that this class is one course that every student should take during their academic years here at Swarthmore. The course explored issues in education within an interdisciplinary socio-critical-pedagogical framework. Part of the course required students to have a school fieldwork placement with high schools and middle schools in the surrounding area. I got the chance to go back to my high school in Philadelphia and learn about it from a psychological and sociological framework to develop better ways to help students through educational policy and teaching styles. It gave me a new perspective to view not only the overall system of education but also my own experience within my own high school.

Posted in Uncategorized