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Decoloniality and Global Health Communication

Course Status

East Baltimore
3rd Term
Health, Behavior and Society
Academic Year
2022 - 2023
Instruction Method
Class Time(s)
Wednesday, 3:00 - 4:50pm
Auditors Allowed
Available to Undergraduate
Grading Restriction
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor(s)
Contact Name
Frequency Schedule
Every Year
Global communication influences public health policies, informs health interventions, and affects health outcomes around the world, yet the lasting effects of colonialism and abiding unequal power dynamics on health policies and outcomes are often overlooked and rarely explicitly addressed in health communication interventions implemented in low- and middle-income countries. In this course we question our assumptions, analyze communication interventions, and explore ways in which we can contribute to global health endeavors that can enhance health equity and contribute to both social justice and improved health outcomes.
Applies insights from anti-colonialist texts to the field of global health communication. Critically examines the intersection of theories of economic development, social change, and communication as applied to public health. Introduces the complex and dynamic role of global communication in the social determinants of health. Interrogates “development” discourses as applied to health communication in middle- and low-resource areas countries. Presents evaluations of communication interventions in low- and middle-resource nation-states. Investigates health communication endeavors abroad as well as in low-resource settings in the U.S.
Learning Objectives
Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  1. Summarize the main tenets of seminal anti-colonist texts, including readings from Edward Said, Andre Gunder Frank, and Paulo Freire, among others
  2. Compare and contrast the assumptions and claims of modernization, dependency, participatory, and alternative development theories as applied to global communication and social change
  3. Identify and propose approaches to eliminate remnants of the colonial mindset in public health theories and practice
  4. Describe the complex and dynamic role of global communication in the social determinants of health
  5. Consider the diversity of peoples and cultures, the significance and impact of communication across social ecological levels in a global society, and how they affect health policies and health outcomes
  6. Identify interventions at various levels of the social ecological model that are applicable to global communication and social change
  7. Identify and discuss future directions for global health communication
Methods of Assessment
This course is evaluated as follows:
  • 30% Participation
  • 20% Midterm Paper
  • 20% Group Presentation
  • 30% Final Paper
Special Comments

This course blends traditional classroom time and outside-of-class activities with a corresponding reduction in class sessions. This class will meet once a week for two hours. Students are expected to spend one hour a week on class work in addition to regular homework. Outside-of-class activities will include selected videos, required participation in selected webinars, and/or attendance at JHSPH events (seminars, discussion series, symposiums) over the course of the term.