High School Summer Course: Medicine, Sports and Culture
High school students interested in the intersection of medicine, sports and culture can take a summer course at the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus to explore this topic in depth.
The two-week course will run from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, July 10-July 21. It is a one-credit class. The format is a combination of lecture and discussions.
Tom Thornton, who is pursuing his Ph.D. in anthropology at Johns Hopkins, will be the instructor. During the two weeks, students will examine how medicine is practiced in different cultures around the world. Among the questions posed will be: How does anthropology relate to other social science disciplines? What is medical anthropology? What is anthropology of sports? What is the history of institutionalized medicine? What is an athletic body?
Students will take a close look at boxing, football and baseball.
Despite Thornton’s background as a college and professional baseball player, he emphasizes that the course is not a recreational sports class.
Instead, students will look comparatively at the anthropology of sports and bodily performance. In looking at how concepts including illness, wellness, and injury differ across cultures, students will explore how the bodily experience of pain not only varies according to societal beliefs and behaviors, but also changes as one pursues the limits of athletic performance, Thornton said.
Students also will examine medicine and sports in a broader context of national politics, with a focus on baseball in Cuba. Students will read about global health perspectives by looking at medical practices in Cuba and Africa. They also will read a medical anthropology text examining a rape crisis center in Baltimore.
There are no pre-requisites.
Thornton expects the class to appeal to a variety of students, including athletes; those who have a strong interest in sports or the body; and future medical and nursing students.
Students interested in public or global health would also find the course meaningful, Thornton said, as would students interested in the social sciences or academic writing.
The class will help students lay a foundation for social science analysis and inquiry.
“I hope what comes out of this is a new way to think about bodily health,” Thornton said.