This particular assignment is the book review we did for ANP 370 medical anthropology class, which focuses on the quite controversial work The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman. The book was used by this course to see how different understanding of cultures affect the concept of medicine and health accordingly, while also shed light upon the structural violence the Hmong refugees suffered during their stay in Thailand refugee camps, and how it was connected with a more global event (Vietnam war) that the US are responsible for.
Despite all of those controversies surrounding this book, the assignment shows that Fadiman was still able to point out some important cultural factor behind the tragedy of Lia’s familiy. Namely the strong bond with traditions among Hmong community, which would both led them flee from China to South Asia and serve as the main reason behind different opinions towards Lia’s disease (Western vs. Hmong). The book especially reveals that many Hmong soldiers were secretly used by CIA during the Vietnam War, which would eventually caused their banishment from Laos and fled to those refugee camps in Thailand border.
For the tragedy of Lia, Fadiman highlights the importance of cultural competence for medical personnel in dealing with people originated in another culture, and Lia’s tragedy was indeed a cultural issue. For the extra source of this review, I analyze Dr. Marcia Anderson-DeCoteau’s speech on how indigenous knowledge can help the general public to improve the health of indigenous women in Manitoba. All of these are great examples of how local events can connect to a general global dynamic.ANP-week-6