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Last modified: 24 May 2018 12:01

Course Overview

This course will introduce students to the main themes of medical anthropology. Western medicine will be explored as a ‘medical system’ and compared to other forms of healing around the world. We will investigate ideas of health and illness, the history of medicine, and a number of case studies in indigenous health and healing. Coursework takes the form of a group project in which students investigate a theme in medical anthropology together. The course will suit anyone with an interest in health and well-being.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Jo Vergunst

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Programme Level 3

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • One of AT1003 Introduction to Anthropology: Peoples of the World (Passed) or AT1501 Introduction to Anthropology 2 (Passed) or AT1502 Introduction to Anthropology: Questions of Diversity (Passed) or AT2005 Political Anthropology (Passed) or AT2006 Anthropological Approaches to Religion (Passed) or AT2010 Key Debates in Anthropology (Passed) or AT2515 Reimagining Colonialism (Passed)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • AT3028 Medical Anthropology (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course will introduce students to the main themes of medical anthropology. Western biomedicine will be explored as just one medical system amongst others, in which people who are ill, healers, and healing practices interact. We will investigate the cultural understanding of the body, ideas of health and illness, the history of biomedicine and its relations with other medical systems, and a number of case studies in indigenous health and healing. We will also trace the development of theoretical approaches in medical anthropology, from structural-functionalism to recent notions of embodiment and narrativity, and explore how far anthropologists can get involved in applied and clinical research.

In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown


More Information about Week Numbers

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: This course is assessed by one project of 2,500 words (50%) and 1 two-hour examination (50%).

Resit: Examination (100%).

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


Written feedback will be given on essays and projects. Work on the project begins in week 1 of the course and students will be able to discuss aspects of their project and receive verbal feedback during the weekly practicals.

Course Learning Outcomes


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