• Class Number 4401
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Fouzieyha Towghi
    • Dr Fouzieyha Towghi
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

This course introduces cross-cultural comparative perspectives on indigenous medicines, healing and health in colonial and post-colonial contexts. Contemporary condition of indigenous medicines and healing practices in Australia, Hawaii, Africa, India, and Southeast Asian nations, for example, are intertwined with the history of European colonial racial and gendered objectification of “native” bodies, their medicines and healing approaches. We will examine the relationship between medicine as a tool of empire and how indigenous medicines, healthcare practices, and health have been constructed, regulated, and transformed by colonial and post-colonial science, medicine, and social policies. We will also explore how indigenous conceptions of the body, health, and approaches to care persist as distinctive from contemporary biomedical paradigm. We will explore the effects of this distinction on indigenous medicines, healing practices, and health—that today is also manifest in clinical settings worldwide as a cultural tension between the biomedical doctor and the indigenous patient. Part 1 of the course will focus on the relationship between colonial medicine and indigenous medicines. Part 2 will focus on indigenous forms of medicines and conception of health and healing. Part 3 will focus on the contemporary forms of indigenous medicines and the health of indigenous people in light of the re-emergence of molecular biology, genetic science and the rise of cultural competency paradigm in biomedicine. In the process, students will gain a historical understanding of key concepts associated with the construction of indigenous medicines such as ethnomedicine, traditional, alternative, and medical pluralism vis-à-vis the idea of what is modern and the formation of modernity. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
1. Effectively apply a critical anthropological perspective to the cross-cultural and comparative study of indigenous medicines, health, and healing.
2. Examine and understand the place of colonial policies, colonial medicines, and post-colonial development in present conditions of indigenous medicines, health, and healing practices.
3. Critically analyze how and why indigenous conceptions of the body, health, and approaches to care persist as distinctive from contemporary biomedical paradigm.
4. Examine and discuss the relationship between historical and contemporary forms of indigenous medicines and the re-emergence of molecular biology, genetic science and the cultural competency paradigm in biomedicine.
5. Effectively apply critical thinking and writing and debate issues of social policies pertaining to indigenous health and medicines.

Required Resources

Please check your ANU email regularly. I will periodically send emails to the class so please make sure to monitor your ANU email to stay abreast of any new announcements. 

All Course Readings are made available online in pdf format on the Course Wattle Page. 

Additional guidelines and supplementary readings, audio and video resources will also be made available on the Course Wattle page. 

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written feedback and comments on written work v In class oral feedback as well as written comments on the online forum page
  • to the whole class- on analysis of assigned texts and any queries and confusion that may emerge pertaining to understanding the assigned readings and related concepts.
  • Students are also welcome to meet the course convener during office hours to further clarify and discuss the assigned texts. 

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to the course outline and requirements; meeting each other. None
2 Anthropology and Histories of Medicines: Framing the Issues. Lecture/ Review guideline for writing critical reflection Due: Your 2 questions on weekly readings and the 1 of 6 critical reflections.
3 When the colonial State "discovers" indigenous medicines. Lecture/ discussion/ Discuss proposed final paper projects. Due: Your 2 questions on weekly readings and the 1 of 6 selected critical reflections.
4 Colonial Medical “Science” as a tool of Empire: Focus on Race, Gender, and Sexuality. Lecture/ discussion/ Review guideline for writing research paper Due: Due: Your 2 questions on weekly readings; the 1 of 6 selected critical reflections, and Abstract/Summary of proposed research project.
5 Colonial Representations of Indigenous/Native (Corporeal and Social) Bodies--- and Disease. Lecture/review final paper evaluation rubric Due: Your 2 questions on weekly readings and the 1 of 6 selected critical reflections.
6 Indigenous medicines, conceptions health, and approaches to healing. Lecture/ Discuss progress of your work toward final project: Receive individual feedback during 3rd hour of the class. Due: Your 2 questions on weekly readings and the 1 of 6 selected critical reflections.
7 Indigenous medicines, conceptions of health, and approaches to healing. Lecture/ discussion Due: Your 2 questions on weekly readings and the 1 of 6 selected critical reflections.
8 Reproductive Health, Traditional Midwives and Midwifery: Colonial genealogies & Continued Presence. Lecture Due: Your 2 questions on weekly readings and the 1 of 6 selected critical reflections.
9 Medical Pluralism. Lecture/ Review guideline for final paper conference style presentation Due: Your 2 questions on weekly readings and the 1 of 6 selected critical reflections.
10 Postcolonial context of Indigenous health. Lecture/ Discuss progress of final paper, opportunity to receive oral feedback on conceptual and methodological issues related to the final project. Due: Your 2 questions on weekly readings and the 1 of 6 selected critical reflections.
11 Race, the politics of biomedical and genetic research, and the Epigenome: Implications for indigenous health and healing. Lecture/ Discuss progress of final paper, opportunity to receive oral feedback on conceptual and methodological issues related to the final project. Due: Your 2 questions on weekly readings and the 1 of 6 selected critical reflections.
12 Presentation of Research Paper Powerpoint presentation due/ Final paper due via Turnitin

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Critical Reflections/ Participation (x6) 30 % 04/03/2019 27/05/2019 1, 5
Participation 10 % 04/03/2019 27/05/2019 1, 5
Research Paper 45 % 27/05/2019 10/06/2019 2, 3, 4
Conference Style Presentation 15 % 27/05/2019 10/06/2019 2, 3, 4, 5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Assigned readings for this course have been carefully selected for each thematic session. It is expected that students complete all the assigned readings for the designated week before attending class. It is in your interest to invest time and effort into the readings and attend all scheduled classes in order to receive the maximum benefit of taking this course. Please make sure not to breach the copyright conditions of the course materials (personal and academic use only). There is no guarantee that the class room recording system is consistently functional. I encourage you to avoid missing class as much as it is in your hands to do so. Also, connect with another student in class who can share her or his lecture notes if you must miss a class session.

Your active participation in the class is highly encouraged and crucial to having an engaged and lively class. You are expected to come prepared for interaction. Each student’s contribution will enrich our time together so please do your part. All the readings are available via the wattle course site. It is your responsibility to download the readings and bring them to class for further discussion.

Each week, as we move along and where relevant, I will highlight key concepts for you to reflect upon. Together we will discuss these concepts and link them to the readings. By keeping up with assigned readings and regularly attending class, you will be able to gain a much deeper understanding of the concepts. You will be able to engage these concepts and the ideas from the course material accurately and more effectively in your analysis of your chosen topic for your final research project. 



Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 04/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 27/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 5

Critical Reflections/ Participation (x6)

This assignment is designed to help you think concretely and critically about the topic matter at hand, by way of demonstrating in writing your thinking on the assigned texts. This assignment will also help you to participate in class discussions, and facilitate your comprehension of the material. You are required to write a series of 6 weekly (400 words) critical reflections. Your reflections are to be posted on the Wattle weekly assignment page by 12 pm on the day of the course session for which you select to write your critical reflection. In your reflection, describe the main idea(s) of the texts; point out something you found particularly interesting and/or puzzling; raise two questions related to the texts for discussion in class. The question must be formulated well and demonstrate acquaintance with relevant reading assignment. Students may be asked to present their questions and 6 reflections orally in class. The framework for the response papers and presentations will be discussed further in class. You will be provided with written guideline for this assignment during first week of the class. Late submissions will not be accepted. You have 10 weeks of assigned texts from which to write your (6) required critical summaries. I recommend you begin writing your reflections as early as possible so you can benefit from my feedback. These reflections may also serve as sources and archives to which you can refer for your final research paper.

Value: 30% (6 x 5%)

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 04/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 27/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 5


This activity is designed to help you develop analytical thinking and communication skills and to demonstrate your ability to reflect on core concepts the emerge in this course. Each week, before arriving to class you are required to post (on the class forum) at least 2 well formulated questions related to the readings. The question should be informed by the readings and based on what you find compelling and noteworthy for further class discussion. Make sure that the sorts of questions you generate can be directed at a specific or overarching argument made by the authors or serve as connective questions that tie the themes presented in the readings related to an observed social phenomenon or other examples we have discussed in class. Students will be called upon randomly to pose their question during the class session.

Value: 10%

Assessment Task 3

Value: 45 %
Due Date: 27/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 10/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3, 4

Research Paper

 This activity is designed to deepen your engagement with the course material and provide you an opportunity to research a course related topic in greater depth. You will have an opportunity to read a book length ethnography related to their chosen research topic.

  1. You may consider doing a paper focusing on either a contemporary disease or the development of and use of a new medical technology. This project can include interview of scientist and/ or medical practitioner.
  2. Or you may consider doing an in-depth proposal for a research project which engages with some of the issues and literatures discussed in the class. The proposal would be appropriate for a BA honours or Master’s thesis project.

The guideline and assessment rubric for this assignment will be provided to you by WEEK 5

Value: 45%

Assessment Task 4

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 27/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 10/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3, 4, 5

Conference Style Presentation

This activity is designed to help you succinctly demonstrate your understanding of core concepts and methods in application of specific medical anthropology topic you have chosen to address in your final paper. It is also designed to enable you to practice public presentation and succinctly and confidently orally articulate your critical thinking skills. It is an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the relationship between anthropological theories and health and medical related processes and events. You will prepare a 10 to 15 minutes presentation of your final project. The specific timing of the presentation will be determined based on the enrollment numbers in the class. You will be part of a panel of 4-5 students presenting to an invited audience of students and faculty from SAA, your research question, methods, and results. The audience will have an opportunity to ask you questions about your research and conclusions. Further guidelines for this assignment will be provided to you in class and posted on the Course Website, by WEEK 9 of the course session.

Value: 15%

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

 No hard copy submission is required. You required to post your critical reflection on the wattle page.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Students will receive written feedback on weekly critical reflections which will be returned to the week following the week critical reflection is submitted. The abstract for your final paper project is due by WEEK 4; you will receive approval and feedback chosen topic and writing project by WEEK 5. Students will have the opportunity to further discuss their respective final writing project with the course Convener during office hours. Students will receive written feedback and their mark on the final paper May 31, the mark for the conference style presentation will be provided on the same date. 

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Not allowed. 

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Fouzieyha Towghi

Research Interests

Dr. Fouzieyha Towghi https://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/towghi-f

Dr Fouzieyha Towghi

Dr Fouzieyha Towghi

Research Interests

Dr Fouzieyha Towghi

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