History of Alternative Healing in America T6281

Sarah Whedon, Ph.D.
Chair, Dept. of Theology & Religious History

Instructor: Sarah Whedon

Class meetings: none

Prerequisites: none

Class Description: Many contemporary Pagans engage in alternative healing practices that have diverse cultural and historical roots. This course will use an interdisciplinary approach to discover the history, culture, and theology of alternative healing in America and consider such questions as: How did the dominant medical system gain supremacy in the U.S.? Why do people continue to choose alternative therapies? Which forms of alternative healing have overtly religious components? What do alternative healing systems teach about the relationship between mind, body, and spirit? What do they teach about sickness and healing? The course will consider diverse healing modalities such as New Thought, chiropractic, psychic healing, Christian prayer, acupuncture, curanderismo and massage, and how these intersect with Pagan thought and practice.

Required Texts:

Fuller, Robert C. 1989. Alternative Medicine and American Religious Life. Oxford University Press

McGuire, Meredith B. 1988. Ritual Healing in Suburban America. Rutgers University.

Hendrickson, Brett. 2014. Border Medicine: A Transcultural History of Mexican American Curanderismo. New York: NYU Press.

Fulfills the Area I requirement for a course addressing history.

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