COMMLD 560 C: Wellness Narratives

Course Description

This course dives into wellness and well-being as central concepts to mental, physical, and emotional modes of health in the 21st century.  What does wellness and wellbeing mean as part of our modern lives? We will explore the historical rise of self-help narratives during the turn of the 20th Century through advertising and therapy culture. From there, we will explore the rise of consumerism and health through the television set and formats like Reality TV and the Talk Show to better understand the evolution of wellness into the 21th century. This framing will help us consider health and wellness as part of a complex media ecosystem. That is, 20th century cultural anxieties of the physical and mental body, including the focus on losing unwanted weight and detoxifying the body from various ailments carries into the contemporary moment. Topics for the course will include productivity, health, corporate and social responsibility, clutter, burnout, and more.  The goal of this course is for students to better understand the historical, cultural, economic and technological foundations of wellness specifically in the United States and why this history matters. Students will research and write a White Paper focused on a particular wellness issue. The final assignment helps showcase the student’s ability to do preliminary research while taking complex ideas and distilling them into an understandable paper for an executive audience. We will do weekly reflective journal exercises throughout the quarter that engage with the readings and screenings from the course. Come prepared to engage in discussion, deep dive into wellness research, and hone your writing skills!