Postgraduate Course: Magic, Science and Healing (PGSP11185)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Drawing on insights from anthropology and science studies the course will consider the following debates: is it possible to distinguish between rationality and belief? How can magic and science be political? Why has the occult persisted in modern society, and why is it that science enchants? It will use ethnographies of witchcraft and sorcery, scientific laboratories, anatomy and immunology, and colonial science to engage with these debates.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 20,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||One 4000 word essay.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- critically engage with debates pertaining to the anthropology of magic and the anthropology of medical science. They should be able to apply these ideas to think about different systems of healing
- Familiarise themselves with the history of anthropological thinking about science and magic
- Appraise the contribution that science studies have made to theory in anthropology
- Critique the role that epistemological claims play in our understanding of science and magic as ways of ¿knowing¿ and ¿believing¿
|Bailey, M.D. 2006. The meanings of magic. Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft 1(1): 1-23.|
Briggs, C.L. 2004. Theorizing modernity conspirationally: science, scale, and the political economy of public discourse in explanations of a cholera epidemic. American Ethnologist 31(2): 164-187.
Cerulo, Karen A. 2009. Nonhumans in social interaction. Annual Review of Sociology 35: 531-552.
Chen, Nancy N. 2003. Healing sects and anti-cult campaigns. The China Quarterly 174: 505-520.
Das, Veena & Das, Ranendra K. 2005. Urban health and pharmaceutical consumption in Delhi, India. Journal of Biosocial Science 38(1): 69-82.
Geissler, P.W. 2005. 'Kachinja are coming!': encounters around a medical research project in a Kenyan village. Africa 75: 173-202.
Halliburton, M. 2005. 'Just some spirits': the erosion of spirit possession and the rise of 'tension' in South India. Medical Anthropology 24: 111-144.
Kamat, V. 2001. Private practitioners and the role in the resurgence of malaria in Mumbai (Bombay) and Navi Mumbai (New Bombay), India: serving the affected or a new epidemic? Social Science & Medicine 52: 885-909.
Lowe, Celia. 2010. Viral clouds: becoming H5N1 in Indonesia. Cultural Anthropology 25(4): 625-649.
van der Geest, S. 2005. 'Sacraments in the hospital': exploring the magic and religion of recovery. Anthropology & Medicine 12(2): 135-150.
Sax, William S. 2008. God of Justice: Ritual Healing and Social Justice in the Central Himalayas. New York: Oxford University Press. Chapters 7.
Thompson, Jennifer Jo, Ritenbaugh, Cheryl, & Nichter, Mark. 2009. Reconsidering the placebo response from a broad anthropological perspective. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 33: 112-152.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Stefan Ecks
Tel: (0131 6)50 6969
|Course secretary||Mr Jack Smith
Tel: (0131 6)51 1485