Academic Learning Community: Theorizing Global Health Title


  • Sydney A. Spangler (Assistant Professor, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Secondary Joint Appointment Hubert Department of Global Health)
  • Kylie Smith (Assistant Professor, Mellon Faculty Fellow for Nursing & the Humanities, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing)

As a concept, field, and action, global health forms a core part of Emory’s work and identity. Students are offered global health learning opportunities across a range of venues at the University, and faculty pursue a spectrum of diverse research and teaching interests in this area. However, many of these “global health experiences” lack a critical framework and remain undertheorized. Students often question the ethics and efficacy of their experiences, and faculty are sometimes left without the tools and techniques to facilitate more meaningful engagement. Application of critical social theory to global health can help define terms, interpret meanings, and expose assumptions – providing a lens by which we can better understand socially constructed processes that have real-world, often inequitable consequences.

This learning community seeks to create connections across disciplines, inviting faculty members from the social sciences, health sciences, and humanities whose work addresses contrasting dimensions of global health. Over the course of seven sessions during AY18-19, we will explore the relevance and application of selected social theory to global health knowledge and practice. Examples include: history, postcolonial, and world systems theory; production of knowledge, (bio)power, and subjectivities; social suffering and embodied inequality; culture and critical reflexivity; ethics and community engagement.

Academic Learning Communities are informal seminars that are intended to:

  • engage faculty in collaborative explorations of innovative research and teaching topics;
  • bring guest speakers to campus to enhance the curriculum and learning; and/or
  • help disseminate important research discoveries and innovative learning strategies to the broader community.

Learn more information on past academic learning communities


  • The Seminar will meet from 12:00-1:30pm on October 18, November 1, November 15, January 24, February 21, March 21, and April 18
  • Meetings will consist of group discussion of agreed-upon theories and topics; supporting readings and other materials will be posted on Canvas prior to the corresponding session
  • Up to 20 participants will be accommodated
  • Potential outputs include: collaborative scholarly projects, team-taught course (or guest lecturing in one another’s courses), promotion of a larger conversation about how to effectively integrate relevant social theory into global health curriculum at graduate and undergraduate levels

The deadline for application is Friday, August 24. Selections will be announced in early September. A limited number of space will be reserved for graduate students based on the relevance of their research

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