• Class Number 3414
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Fouzieyha Towghi
    • Dr Fouzieyha Towghi
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 21/02/2022
  • Class End Date 27/05/2022
  • Census Date 31/03/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
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:

  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; and
  5. effectively apply critical thinking and writing and debate issues of social policies pertaining to indigenous health and medicines.

Required Resources

All readings will be available through the course Wattle site or via an electronic book in the ANU library system. Digital recording of the seminars will be made available online through the course Wattle site. Please make sure not to breach the copyright conditions of the course materials (personal and academic use only). I will also be sending emails periodically to students throughout the semester so please make sure that you are able to access your ANU email account and can check it regularly. 

Whether you are on campus or studying remotely, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

Staff Feedback

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

  • Written feedback and comments on written work will be provided with In class oral feedback as well as written comments on the online forum page to the entire 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; meeting each other. Lecture/ discuss writing critical summaries guideline. None
2 Anthropology and Histories of Medicines: Framing the Issues. Lecture and discussion Weekly reflection/ and 2 critical questions for discussion
3 When the colonial State "discovers" indigenous medicines. Lecture and discussion/ Discuss proposed final research project. Weekly reflection/ and 2 critical questions for discussion
4 Colonial Medical “Science” as a tool of Empire: Focus on Race, Gender, and Sexuality. Lecture and discussion/ Review writing final research project guideline. Weekly reflection/ and 2 critical questions for discussion
5 Colonial Representations of Indigenous/Native (Corporeal and Social) Bodies--- and Disease. Lecture and discussion/ Review evaluation rubric for the final paper project Weekly reflection/ and 2 critical questions for discussion. Due your optional final project essay proposal
6 Indigenous medicines, conceptions health, and approaches to healing. (part 1) Lecture and discussion/ Discuss student progress on research toward final paper: Provide individual feedback to student 3rd hour. Weekly reflection/ and 2 critical questions for discussion
7 Indigenous medicines, conceptions of health, and approaches to healing. (part 2) Lecture and discussion Weekly reflection/ and 2 critical questions for discussion- Due: your optional annotated bibliography
8 Reproductive Health, Traditional Midwives and Midwifery: Colonial genealogies & history of the present. Lecture and discussion Weekly reflection/ and 2 critical questions for discussion
9 Medical Pluralism Lecture and discussion/ Review guideline for final paper conference style presentation. Weekly reflection/ and 2 critical questions for discussion
10 Postcolonial context of Indigenous health and challenges to post-colonial ideologies in healthcare practices. Lecture and discussion/ Discuss progress on final paper, provide oral feedback on conceptual and methodological issues related to the final project. Weekly reflection/ and 2 critical questions for discussion
11 Race, the politics of biomedical and genetic research, and the Epigenome: Implications for indigenous health and healing. Lecture and discussion/ Discuss progress on final paper, provided oral feedback on conceptual and methodological issues related to the final project. Weekly reflection/ and 2 critical questions for discussion
12 Student presentations of Final Research Paper Final paper due via Turnitin and presentation of final paper

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Critical Reflections (400 words x 6) 20 % 02/03/2022 25/05/2022 1, 5
Participation (x10 critical questions) 10 % 02/03/2022 25/05/2022 1, 5
RESEARCH Project Final Paper: 3600 words (55%) 55 % 25/05/2022 15/06/2022 2, 3, 4
Conference Style presentation (15%) 15 % 25/05/2022 15/06/2022 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. 

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 that include your entries on the forum discussion 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 have access to them during the class sessions 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, reviewing the weekly forum contributions before class, and regularly attending class, you will be able to gain a much deeper understanding of the concepts and theories introduced in this course. This practice will also aid you to engage these concepts and theories and the ideas from the course material accurately and more effectively in your analysis of your chosen topic for your final research project.

Please make sure not to breach the copyright conditions of the course materials (personal and academic use only). It is in your interest to avoid missing class. You are encouraged to connect with other students in your class who can share their lecture notes if you miss a class session.



Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 02/03/2022
Return of Assessment: 25/05/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 5

Critical Reflections (400 words x 6)

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 noon 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 the 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. Please Do NOT upload a word or pdf file as your posting, the posting should be typed on the forum page or cut and copied onto the forum page.

Value: 20% (6 x 3.33%)

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 02/03/2022
Return of Assessment: 25/05/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 5

Participation (x10 critical questions)

This activity is designed to help you develop analytical thinking and communication skills and to demonstrate your ability to reflect on core concepts that 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. Please note that the two formulated questions are required for all 10 sessions-- so on the week you do a critical reflection be sure to included your 2 critical questions as well.

Value: 10% (10 x 1%)

Assessment Task 3

Value: 55 %
Due Date: 25/05/2022
Return of Assessment: 15/06/2022
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3, 4

RESEARCH Project Final Paper: 3600 words (55%)

 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 your chosen research topic and write a research paper:

  1. You may consider doing a paper focusing on a contemporary disease or the development of and use of a new medical technology. You may consider interviewing a scientist and/ or medical practitioner.
  2. Or you may consider doing an in-depth proposal for a research project which engages the course literature and issues of interest related to the course themes.

Toward this end you can do an in-depth literature review. The proposal would be appropriate for a Master’s thesis project.

To develop your paper you will be encouraged to write a:

  1. Research project essay proposal - Guideline to be provided on the course wattle page
  2. Annotated bibliography-- Guideline to be provided on the course wattle page

Once you finalise your paper you will have an opportunity to present your analysis on Week 12-- See Assessment Task 4

Value: 55%

Assessment Task 4

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 25/05/2022
Return of Assessment: 15/06/2022
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3, 4, 5

Conference Style presentation (15%)

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 may be part of a panel of 4-5 students presenting to an invited audience of students and faculty from SOAA-- 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.

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 are required to post your critical reflection on the wattle page.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

. Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.

. Late submission permitted. 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 the following week. The abstract/ or project essay proposal of research paper is due on Week 5, you submit it sooner; you will receive approval and feedback on your chosen topic on WEEK 6. In addition to discussion in class, students will have the opportunity to further discuss their respective final writing project with the course Convener by appointment. Students will receive written feedback and their mark on the final paper and the final presentation-- See Assessment summary. 

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

By Appointment
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Dr Fouzieyha Towghi

Research Interests

Dr Fouzieyha Towghi

By Appointment
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