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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Social Anthropology

Undergraduate Course: Anthropology of Health and Healing (SCAN10062)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course provides an advanced introduction to the anthropology of health, illness and healing. Students will be introduced to key theories and current debates at the interface of anthropology and medicine through a focus on cross-cultural approaches to illness, pain, healing, the body and care. We will explore how different ways of experiencing and knowing the body, including varied concepts of gender, sexuality, and the life course, can radically alter how people think about and engage with issues of health and healing.

This course explores biomedicine as one among many ways of thinking through and constituting personhood, illness and the body. It deals with the challenges that arise when biomedical expertise meets other understandings of illness and suffering; the multiple kinds of care provided in institutional, public, religious and domestic settings; the relationship between curing and healing; and the ways in which people grapple with affliction and uncertainty through narrative, through relationships, and through action. Medical anthropology is not only narrowly concerned with suffering and sickness but examines the significance of wellbeing, health and medicine for all domains of social life. This course therefore explores the centrality of health and healing to social, political, and historical processes in general.
Course description Content Outline
Topics include: key approaches in medical anthropology; the body and its parts; power and resistance; technologies of life and death; healing and medicalization; gender; care

Student Learning Experience
This course is taught through lectures and seminars. Although grounded in social anthropology, this course is open to students with backgrounds in social sciences, medicine, biomedical sciences, and the humanities. Lectures will introduce the core themes, theories, and debates in medical anthropology. Content will be delivered in lecture sessions involving some participatory activities. These will be supported by separate seminars. Students are expected to actively discuss readings in class, and to participate in classroom activities and discussions during lecture time.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Anthropology courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  45
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 166 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework (100%)
The essay (100%) will be due at the end of the teaching weeks. Further guidance on the essay will be made available to students in week 2.
Feedback Students will receive guidance on essay writing during lectures and will receive written feedback on their essays. Students are encouraged to seek further verbal feedback on assessments during the weekly guidance and feedback hours or by appointment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Students will have a critical understanding of the key concept, theoretical approaches and debates in medical anthropology.
  2. Be able to demonstrate knowledge of the ways in which social understandings of the human body are formed and transformed by healing knowledge and practices.
  3. A clear understanding of how "traditional healers" form their practices in a field of multiple healer-patient relations and why "modernity" has not made non- biomedical forms of healing disappear.
  4. Be able to analyse and debate how broader political, economic, and historical frames are immediately relevant for an understanding of the body, illness, and healing.
  5. A thorough understanding of the implications of the objectification of the body by medical knowledge.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Keywordsmedical anthropology body medicine culture
Course organiserDr Ayaz Qureshi
Tel: (0131 6)51 5361
Course secretaryMr Ewen Miller
Tel: (0131 6)50 3925
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