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December 14, 2007

Purpose and Goals

Summary of Proposed Research in Application for SURF Grant

I am a junior in the UCA Honors College. As part of the Honors College minor in Interdisciplinary Studies, I must complete the courses Oxford Tutorial and Thesis. The end product of these and other courses I will be taking to build my research for my Honors Thesis, Which Doctor is the Witch Doctor. I will be using the interdisciplinary fields of history, religion, psychology, geography, ethnobotany, biology, medicine, sociology, anthropology, and literature to examine health care in the United States more specifically focusing on Arkansas health care. I will be comparing modern medical practices to alternative healing practices. I want to learn about the methods, ideologies, and beliefs about alternate medicine as well as those of modern mainstream medicine. I will be using anthropological field techniques for my field research. I will use myself and my health issues as a way to explore the medical field. I will also examine what has been written about health care now and in the past. Where did our idea of “modern medicine” come from? Why does the mainstream American culture view some health care practices as superstition and others as revered, unquestionable truth? What can be learned from traditional health care? What are the current trends in alternative medicine? These and more are the questions that my research will be looking at. I have begun this process of research by establishing contact with three professors who can advise me on my research Dr. Brain Campbell, Dr. Alison Hall, and Dr. Adam Frank of which Dr. Campbell will be my primary mentor/advisor throughout my research process. Dr. Campbell is an anthropology professor with his research focus on the Ozarks. Dr. Frank is the anthropology professor for the UCA Honors College. Dr. Hall is an anthropology professor at UCA. She has a strong back ground in museum work and grant writing.


Which Doctor is the Witch Doctor
This project Which Doctor is the Witch Doctor will draw from the interdisciplinary fields of history, religion, psychology, geography, ethno-botany, biology, medicine, sociology, anthropology, and literature to examine health care in the United States more specifically focusing on Arkansas health care. I will be comparing modern medical practices to alternative healing practices. I want to learn about the methods, ideologies, and beliefs about alternate medicine as well as those of modern mainstream medicine. Beyond just research I am creating three modes of public education for the people of Arkansas and beyond about these important medical and cultural ideas. I will be designing and implementing two museum exhibits, the first of which will be displayed at the Ozark History Museum in Shiloh, AR. If the funding for the this SURF grant allows for me to purchase the Dreamweaver, web design software I will be able to create a website which will allow for the information of my project not only to be see by the academic community of the UCA or Arkansas, but by connection to the world wide web the information can be accessed from anywhere in the world. The final public distribution of my research would be to create a documentary on alternative medical practices in Arkansas.

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