- Code ANTH2026
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
- ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
- Course subject Anthropology
- Areas of interest Anthropology, Philosophy, Sociology, Medicine, Health
The course provides an introduction to the field of medical anthropology. It includes the application of different forms of social and cultural analysis to the study of health, illness, and healing. Examples of medical systems and medical practices are drawn from a range of cultures. In the first part of the course the scope of medical anthropology will be covered and different approaches to the understanding of the body discussed, including the social and cultural construction of illness and illness categories, healers and their roles, the foundations of efficacy in healing, and the place of individual and social agency in health and illness. In the second half of the course health and human rights, pharmaceuticals and ethics of medical research and organ trafficking will be the centre of the discussion.
The course provides a critical understanding of health care systems and political economy of health, illness and healing with a specific focus on the context in which health inequalities are experienced, how they are historically constructed and why they are maintained in the current realities. We will use case studies from across the world to explore the historical, environmental, biosocial, political economic and socio-cultural factors that influence individual and collective therapy management, local healing practices, national health care, and medical research and health policies in their local, national and international context, and to analyse fundamental medical anthropological concepts and theories and to critically analyse academic writing.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
Upon Successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Discuss the relevance of anthropological concepts for
studying health and healing.
- Identify key features of anthropological approaches to health
- Assess the strengths and weaknesses of different
anthropological approaches to health and healing.
- Formulate anthropological areas of inquiry and questions
to be applied to issues of health and healing.
- Recognize differences and similarities in various healing
- Work collaboratively to communicate the social
significance of important medical and health issues.
- Demonstrate skills in critical reading, thinking, writing, and public presentation.
In class written reflections, 10 x 200 words (20%) LO 1, 2, 3, 5, 7
Presentation, 10 min (10%) LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
Essay: 2,500 words (20%) LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
Group Project: Poster, 1000 words (50%) LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of combined lecture and tutorials over 12 weeks; and b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Baer, Hans A., Merrill Singer, and Ida Susser, 2013. Medical Anthropology and the World System: Critical Perspectives, Third Edition. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Good, Byron J., 1994. Medicine, Rationality, and Experience: An Anthropological Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lock, Margaret, and Vinh-Kim Nguyen, 2010. An Anthropology of Biomedicine. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Sargent, C.F., and T.M. Johnson, 1996. Medical Anthropology: Contemporary Theory and Method, Revised Edition. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
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- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees. Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.