Response paper, Anthropology

In The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Anne Fadimans ethnography about a Hmong
familys interactions with a California hospital, we see how culture clashes over the treatment of
Lias epilepsy led to very undesirable outcomes.
Over the past five weeks, weve looked at some of the major topics that anthropologists focus on,
and discussed some of the ways that practices and ideologies surrounding these topics vary
cross-culturally. Choose one of these topics kinship, economy, power differentials, religion,
medicine, gender, or reproduction and discuss how the differences between Hmong
practices/beliefs and American practices/beliefs shaped the outcomes of Lias medical treatment.
What were the different beliefs and practices? How did the differences lead to conflict and
misunderstanding? What could have been done to prevent or lessen these conflicts and
A strong paper will consider both sides as rational perspectives this is not to say that you have
to think both sides have equal merit, but rather that you recognize that both Lias family and the
doctors were acting according to a set of systematic beliefs and were attempting to help Lia.
Your paper of 35 pages is due in section on Friday, November 11th. When citing the book,
please include the relevant page number(s), e.g.: quote here (Fadiman, 35).
Grading rubric:
Use of/relevance to course materials: 50%
Quality/thoughtfulness o