Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Magic, Science and Healing (PGSP11185)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryDrawing 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.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. 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
  2. Familiarise themselves with the history of anthropological thinking about science and magic
  3. Appraise the contribution that science studies have made to theory in anthropology
  4. Critique the role that epistemological claims play in our understanding of science and magic as ways of ¿knowing¿ and ¿believing¿
Reading List
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.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Stefan Ecks
Tel: (0131 6)50 6969
Course secretaryMiss Becky Guthrie
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information