Logo Students

ANTH202 – Illness and Healing

2017 – S2 Day

General Information

Pdf icon Download as PDF
Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Course Con
Kevin P. Groark
Contact via kevin.groark@mq.edu.au
Building W6A, Room 618
To Be Announced (see iLearn)
Tutor
Siobhan Irving
Contact via siobhan.irving@mq.edu.au
W6A 714
To Be Announced or By Appointment
Course Convenor
Aaron Denham
Tutor
Ken Finnis
Tutor
Pavithra Joseph
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
ANTH150 or (12cp at 100 level or above) or (admission to GDipArts or BHlth)
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit offers an introduction to medical anthropology and cross-cultural beliefs relating to illness and healing. In this unit, we examine health and illness from a multilevel perspective that explores the evolution of human disease, the role of culture in shaping epidemiology, varying cultural notions of disease causality, the individual experience of illness, and the socio-political factors that condition our experience and management of negatively-valued states of health. Throughout, the unit emphasizes that good health - and conversely ill health - is never simply a “fact” about the body. Disease and illness have social as well as biological origins, which means our understanding of this central fact of human life must incorporate not only biological factors, but also the broader cultural frameworks that transform mere disease into the culturally-specific experience of illness. Thus we treat healing practices — including Western biomedicine - as inevitably predicated upon cultural systems of understanding. How people understand illness and where it comes from, and what they do about it when it does occur, tells us a lot about how different societies understand people, bodies, and the environmental surround.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Introduce students to the scope of medical anthropology and to analyse and discus the literature and central theories related to medical anthropology and the broader study of illness and healing practices in their social and cultural contexts.
  2. Understand how biology, culture, politics, and ecology interact to shape illness and health, health systems, and patterns.
  3. Interview, analyse, and represent the illness experience of another person, emphasizing the integrative factors (culture, politics, social structure, etc.) influencing their condition.
  4. Apply the theories and concepts of medical anthropology to critically evaluate one’s own culture and determinants of illness and health.
  5. To understand how healing systems often cut across categories of religion, medicine, and social organization.
  6. To understand how illness and health (and normality) are constructed within particular social, cultural, political, and environmental contexts.
  7. Understand and identify how inequality, social hierarchy, and structural violence generate unequal and often unique health determinants in the global and transnational context.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Due
Tutorial Participation 15% Weekly
"Illness Narrative" Essay 35% 21 October
Mid-Term Exam 25% 15 Sep
Final Exam 25% 15 November

Tutorial Participation

Due: Weekly
Weighting: 15%

Each student is expected to actively participate in the tutorial discussion.  Tutorial attendance is mandatory.  Participation in lectures and tutorials involves more than just showing up.  Students are expected to be active participants in class and demonstrate that they have read and engaged with the readings.  Participation also means contributing to a general atmosphere of scholarly enquiry, showing respect for the opinions of others.  Thus talking too much and not allowing other students adequate time to contribute could count against you.

 

Attendance at tutorials is compulsory.  Failure to attend without medical certificate or another form of ‘unavoidable disruption’ (see Student Handbook) will lower your mark or result in failing.  Each week, you must fill out a Discussion Preparation Guide and bring it to your tutorial.  It is essential that you also attend or listen to the lectures, since all lectures will contain valuable information that will be used in the tutorials, all assignments and, particularly, the essay exam.  You will not be able to successfully complete this unit if you miss multiple lectures. 

 

During the tutorial, points will be awarded for any of the following:

-initiating discussion

-giving information

-asking for information

-raising questions

-restating another’s contribution

-asking for clarification

-giving salient examples

-encouraging others

-relieving group tension

 

Points will be subtracted for any of the following:

-expression of unsupported opinions

-attempts to dominate discussion

-mocking others

 

In your verbal contributions to discussions, I will be looking for remarks that engage thoughtfully with the readings.  It is also important that you engage respectfully with your peers.  Do not mock anyone’s contributions.  If you don’t understand or agree with something someone says, ask them to clarify, or explain respectfully why you disagree.  Everyone should feel free to speak up.  Please do not drown out quieter voices.  If you are having trouble speaking up in class discussion, please come to speak with the course convenor privately and together we can strategise ways to facilitate your contribution.

 


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Introduce students to the scope of medical anthropology and to analyse and discus the literature and central theories related to medical anthropology and the broader study of illness and healing practices in their social and cultural contexts.
  • Understand how biology, culture, politics, and ecology interact to shape illness and health, health systems, and patterns.
  • Interview, analyse, and represent the illness experience of another person, emphasizing the integrative factors (culture, politics, social structure, etc.) influencing their condition.
  • Apply the theories and concepts of medical anthropology to critically evaluate one’s own culture and determinants of illness and health.
  • To understand how healing systems often cut across categories of religion, medicine, and social organization.
  • To understand how illness and health (and normality) are constructed within particular social, cultural, political, and environmental contexts.
  • Understand and identify how inequality, social hierarchy, and structural violence generate unequal and often unique health determinants in the global and transnational context.

"Illness Narrative" Essay

Due: 21 October
Weighting: 35%

"Illness Narrative" essay of 1600 words presenting and analyzing the illness experience of a specific condition within an online community.  The essay will integrate primary data derived from online communities with ideas from the course.  See Unit Handbook for more details.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand how biology, culture, politics, and ecology interact to shape illness and health, health systems, and patterns.
  • Interview, analyse, and represent the illness experience of another person, emphasizing the integrative factors (culture, politics, social structure, etc.) influencing their condition.
  • Apply the theories and concepts of medical anthropology to critically evaluate one’s own culture and determinants of illness and health.
  • To understand how healing systems often cut across categories of religion, medicine, and social organization.
  • To understand how illness and health (and normality) are constructed within particular social, cultural, political, and environmental contexts.

Mid-Term Exam

Due: 15 Sep
Weighting: 25%

A midterm exam (multiple choice and/or short answer) that will be completed on-line. The exam will be administered via iLearn, and will cover the first six weeks of course material.  It will be "open book," but bear in mind that I will not be testing your knowledge of simple facts.  Rather, I will be asking questions that evaluate your mastery of the conceptual material presented in the course (e.g., ideas, theories, conceptual models, etc.).  


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Introduce students to the scope of medical anthropology and to analyse and discus the literature and central theories related to medical anthropology and the broader study of illness and healing practices in their social and cultural contexts.
  • Understand how biology, culture, politics, and ecology interact to shape illness and health, health systems, and patterns.
  • Apply the theories and concepts of medical anthropology to critically evaluate one’s own culture and determinants of illness and health.
  • To understand how healing systems often cut across categories of religion, medicine, and social organization.
  • To understand how illness and health (and normality) are constructed within particular social, cultural, political, and environmental contexts.
  • Understand and identify how inequality, social hierarchy, and structural violence generate unequal and often unique health determinants in the global and transnational context.

Final Exam

Due: 15 November
Weighting: 25%

A midterm exam (multiple choice and/or short answer) that will be completed on-line. The exam will be administered via iLearn, and will cover the final six weeks of course material.  It will be "open book," but bear in mind that I will not be testing your knowledge of simple facts.  Rather, I will be asking questions that evaluate your mastery of the conceptual material presented in the course (e.g., ideas, theories, conceptual models, etc.).  


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Introduce students to the scope of medical anthropology and to analyse and discus the literature and central theories related to medical anthropology and the broader study of illness and healing practices in their social and cultural contexts.
  • Understand how biology, culture, politics, and ecology interact to shape illness and health, health systems, and patterns.
  • Apply the theories and concepts of medical anthropology to critically evaluate one’s own culture and determinants of illness and health.
  • To understand how healing systems often cut across categories of religion, medicine, and social organization.
  • To understand how illness and health (and normality) are constructed within particular social, cultural, political, and environmental contexts.
  • Understand and identify how inequality, social hierarchy, and structural violence generate unequal and often unique health determinants in the global and transnational context.

Delivery and Resources

DETAILS FOR EXTERNAL STUDENTS

External students largely have the same lectures and assignments as internal students.  There are just a few differences.

Lectures:

The lectures will be one of your primary sources of material for this unit. I bring together a range of concepts from various sources, present the central theories and ideas, model anthropological thinking, adapt the material to your background, integrate contemporary events, and provide a framework to help make sense of the readings. You will not pass this class if you neglect lecture content and focus on the readings and tutorials alone (and vice versa).

Although physical attendance is not required in lecture, I strongly encourage everyone to attend the lectures in person. And although the ECHO system records most lectures, ECHO has been known to fail, and I will not offer notes or repeat lectures due to a system failure. For those of you who are not External students, the best approach to ensure you master the lecture material is to attend lecture in person. Use the ECHO system only when unavoidable circumstances arise. I attempt to make lectures as dynamic as possible and interact with students. You will also have the opportunity to share experiences and ask questions during and after the lecture. Attending in person is a unique and engaging experience. Moreover, the unit as a whole becomes much more engaging if people are actually present for the lectures, and engaged in the discussion. 

Assessments: All assessments will be delivered via iLearn (either via online exam, or through TurnItIn).

Tutorial Attendance & Participation: Tutorial attendance is mandatory. Participation in tutorials involves more than just showing up. We expect students to be active participants and demonstrate that they have attended/listened to the lecture and have completed the readings prior to the tutorial for that week. Participation also means contributing to a general atmosphere of scholarly enquiry, showing respect for the opinions of others, and listening well.  It is important that you learn to engage respectfully with your peers. Do not mock anyone’s contributions. If you don’t understand or agree with something someone says, ask them to clarify, or explain respectfully why you disagree. Everyone should feel free to speak up—this  forum is designed to help you explore the ideas in a more one-on-one setting, clarify misunderstandings or confusions, and begin the work of integrating the lectures and readings. If you are having trouble speaking up, please come to speak with your tutor or the course convenor privately and together we can strategize ways to facilitate your contribution.

You will complete a Tutorial Discussion Guide before each tutorial and turn in a physical copy of this discussion guide at the beginning of class.  Please bring two copies—one to turn in, and one to refer to during discussion. We will not accept emailed copies unless you have a University approved excuse. The discussion guide template is available on iLearn. Use the discussion guide to help you formulate questions and examples to discuss during the tutorial. Make a note of lecture or reading concepts that you don’t understand or wish to expand upon. 

Each discussion guide will receive a mark of ‘+’  or ‘-’. The plus (+) indicates you received full credit for attending the tutorial and that you offered insightful comments during the tute and within your discussion guide. A ‘-’ indicates that you attended the tute but that your discussion guide and/or participation were inadequate. Discussion guides prepared during the tutorial will receive no credit.  Discussion guides cannot be turned in if you miss the tutorial.

There are 12 tutorials this semester—there is no tutorial on week 1. Of these 12 tutorials, you can miss two sessions or forget two discussion guides without penalty. Failure to attend additional tutorials without a medical certificate or another form of ‘unavoidable disruption’ (see Student Handbook) will lower your mark or result in failing. If you miss additional tutes beyond your allotted two without an excuse, your final grade will be reduced in the following manner:

1. First, each of the 10 tutes are worth 1% of your final grade.  Thus, missing 5 tutes = 5% reduction.

2.  If you miss more than half of the tutes (6 total missed), your final grade will be reduced an additional 10% (thus, a 58% unit grade can turn into a 48%).

3. If you miss 7 or more tutes I will look at your overall performance and assign a final grade of P or F, depending on your overall performance. 

Unit Schedule

 A course outline with details of class schedule and weekly readings has been placed on I-learn.  You may refer to this copy.

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html The Disruption to Studies Policy is effective from March 3 2014 and replaces the Special Consideration Policy.

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

The "Fine Print" 

Late submissions on any assignment will incur a penalty, unless the unit convenor has granted an extension due to certificated medical problems or to “unavoidable disruption” (see Undergraduate Student Handbook). 

Mandatory attendance and final papers

  • Please note that, in order to pass this unit, you need to attend a minimum of two-thirds of all tutorial sessions and you must submit a final exam.  Failure to do either will result in a failing mark, regardless of your performance in other aspects of the unit. 

Late submissions

  • Late submissions on the book review assignment will incur a penalty of 2 percentage points per day, unless the Department of Anthropology has granted an extension due to Special Considerations. 
  • Discussion preparation guides must be presented within the first 5 minutes of class and you will lose points if you have not shown yours to the tutor during that first 5 minutes, so don’t be late to class! 
  • Failure to attend tutorial when you are scheduled to lead tutorial discussion will result in no marks for that assessment task, unless you can document absence because of medical problems or ‘unavoidable disruption,’ have submitted an application for Special Consideration, and had your application approved.  In that case, an alternative assignment will be determined that is worth an equal weight (10%).
  • Late final exams will be marked down 5% for each hour they are submitted late, unless students have applied for and received special consideration.

Exceeding the word limit

You will be deducted 1 percentage point for each 10 words you exceed the word limit. Please take the word limit very seriously and try to make your argument concisely and clearly. It is unfair to fellow students if one person has much more space to argue their case while another student sticks firmly to the length guidelines. The word limit is designed to level the essay-writing field, so to speak. You must provide a word count on the cover page when you submit your work.  If you fail to provide a word count, you will be deducted 1 percentage point and the assessor will estimate length and mark accordingly. (The word limit excludes end-of-text references but it includes footnotes and in-text citations.)

No consideration for lost work

It is the student’s responsibility to keep a copy of all written work submitted for each unit. No consideration will be given to claims of ‘lost work’, no matter what the circumstances.

Returning assignments

Student work will usually be marked and returned within three weeks of receipt. Students who hand their work in before the due date will not have it returned early. If you believe that your assignment has been lost, please contact the Arts Student Centre on the Ground Floor of W6A. Your claim will be logged and tracked in a database of lost assignment claims and kept on file for up to five years.

Written submissions

Students are required to keep copies of all the written work that they submit.  In the event that you submit it, and it is lost, you will be required to resubmit it.  If there is no record of your work being submitted and you cannot produce a second copy, it will be impossible for the convenor to give you credit for the assignment. 

Extensions and Special Consideration:

The University recognises that at times an event or set of circumstances may occur that: 

  • Could not have reasonably been anticipated, avoided or guarded against by the student
  • AND
  • Was beyond the student's control AND
  • Caused substantial disruption to the student's capacity for effective study and/or completion of required work AND
  • Substantially interfered with the otherwise satisfactory fulfilment of unit or program requirements AND
  • Was of at least three (3) consecutive days duration within a study period and/or prevented completion of a formal examination.

In such circumstances, students may apply for Special Consideration. Special Consideration applications must be supported by evidence to demonstrate the severity of the circumstance(s) and that substantial disruption has been caused to the student's capacity for effective study.

Special Consideration applications must include specific details of how the unavoidable disruption affected previously satisfactory work by the student. 

The University has determined that some circumstances routinely encountered by students are not acceptable grounds for claiming Special Consideration. These grounds include, but are not limited, to: 

  • Routine demands of employment
  • Routine family problems such as tension with or between parents, spouses, and other people closely involved with the student
  • Difficulties adjusting to university life, to the self-discipline needed to study effectively, and the demands of academic work
  • Stress or anxiety associated with examinations, required assignments or any aspect of academic work
  • Routine need for financial support
  • Routine demands of sport, clubs and social or extra-curricular activities

Conditions existing prior to commencing a unit of study are not grounds for Special Consideration. The student is responsible for managing their workload in light of any known or anticipated problems. The student is responsible for contacting Student Support Services if they have a chronic condition.

To request Special Consideration, you must fill out the form found at the following web address: http://www.registrar.mq.edu.au/Forms/APScons.pdf That form and all accompanying documentation must be submitted to the Student Enquiry Service, NOT directly to your Unit Convenor. The Student Enquiry Service will process your application and communicate it to your Unit Convenor.

For more information, see http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/special_consideration/policy.html

Plagiarism

The University defines plagiarism in its rules: "Plagiarism involves using the work of another person and presenting it as one's own." Plagiarism is a serious breach of the University's rules and carries significant penalties. You must read the University's definition of plagiarism and its academic honesty policy. These can be found in the Handbook of Undergraduate studies or on the web at: http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.htm The policies and procedures explain what plagiarism is, how to avoid it, the procedures that will be taken in cases of suspected plagiarism, and the penalties if you are found guilty.

Please note that the availability of online materials has made plagiarism easier for students, but it has also made discovery of plagiarism even easier for convenors of units.  We now have specialized databases that can quickly identify the source of particular phrases in a student’s work, if not original, and evaluate how much is taken from sources in inappropriate ways.  My best advice to you is to become familiar with the guidelines about plagiarism and then ‘quarantine’ the files that you are actually planning on turning in; that is, do not cut and paste materials directly into any work file that you plan to submit, because it is too easy to later on forget which is your original writing and which has come from other sources.

It’s so easy to avoid plagiarism: all you have to do is make sure you (a) put in quotes any words taken from another source, and (b) scrupulously reference all quotes and all statements of fact.  No matter what, it’s always better to cite than to use someone else’s words without citation.  Look at it this way: if you write your book review based wholly on a Wikipedia article (with no original thinking or other sources) and you reference that Wikipedia article, then you’ll probably fail the assignment with a grade of somewhere around 30-40%.  But if you write your book review based wholly on a Wikipedia article and you don’t reference that Wikipedia article, then I’ll know and you’ll fail the assignment with a grade of zero.

In this class I use Turnitin to detect plagiarism and I take it very, very seriously.  Plagiarism will result in a mark of zero for that assignment and, depending on the severity of the plagiarism, may also result in failing the unit and/or referral to the University Discipline Committee.

Academic Honesty

Academic honesty is an integral part of the core values and principles contained in the Macquarie University Ethics Statement:  http://www.mq.edu.au/ethics/ethic-statement-final.html.

Its fundamental principle is that all staff and students act with integrity in the creation, development, application and use of ideas and information. This means that:

  • All academic work claimed as original is the work of the author making the claim.
  • All academic collaborations are acknowledged.
  • Academic work is not falsified in any way
  • When the ideas of others are used, these ideas are acknowledged appropriately.

 

 The link below has more details about the policy, procedure and schedule of penalties that will apply to breaches of the Academic Honesty Policy which can be viewed at: http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

 

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Academic or personal difficulties

Macquarie University provides a range of Academic Student Support Services.  Details of these services can be accessed at http://www.student.mq.edu.au.

Students experiencing academic difficulty should approach the unit convenor in the first instance. On other academic matters you should see the Dean of Students of the University Health and Counselling Service (Ph: 9850 7497/98). On matters pertaining to regulations you should seek information from the Registrar or seek advice from the Arts Student Centre. 

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Introduce students to the scope of medical anthropology and to analyse and discus the literature and central theories related to medical anthropology and the broader study of illness and healing practices in their social and cultural contexts.
  • Understand how biology, culture, politics, and ecology interact to shape illness and health, health systems, and patterns.
  • Interview, analyse, and represent the illness experience of another person, emphasizing the integrative factors (culture, politics, social structure, etc.) influencing their condition.
  • Apply the theories and concepts of medical anthropology to critically evaluate one’s own culture and determinants of illness and health.
  • To understand how healing systems often cut across categories of religion, medicine, and social organization.
  • To understand how illness and health (and normality) are constructed within particular social, cultural, political, and environmental contexts.
  • Understand and identify how inequality, social hierarchy, and structural violence generate unequal and often unique health determinants in the global and transnational context.

Assessment tasks

  • Tutorial Participation
  • "Illness Narrative" Essay
  • Mid-Term Exam
  • Final Exam

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Introduce students to the scope of medical anthropology and to analyse and discus the literature and central theories related to medical anthropology and the broader study of illness and healing practices in their social and cultural contexts.
  • Interview, analyse, and represent the illness experience of another person, emphasizing the integrative factors (culture, politics, social structure, etc.) influencing their condition.

Assessment tasks

  • Tutorial Participation
  • "Illness Narrative" Essay

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Introduce students to the scope of medical anthropology and to analyse and discus the literature and central theories related to medical anthropology and the broader study of illness and healing practices in their social and cultural contexts.
  • Understand how biology, culture, politics, and ecology interact to shape illness and health, health systems, and patterns.
  • Interview, analyse, and represent the illness experience of another person, emphasizing the integrative factors (culture, politics, social structure, etc.) influencing their condition.
  • Apply the theories and concepts of medical anthropology to critically evaluate one’s own culture and determinants of illness and health.
  • To understand how healing systems often cut across categories of religion, medicine, and social organization.
  • To understand how illness and health (and normality) are constructed within particular social, cultural, political, and environmental contexts.
  • Understand and identify how inequality, social hierarchy, and structural violence generate unequal and often unique health determinants in the global and transnational context.

Assessment tasks

  • Tutorial Participation
  • "Illness Narrative" Essay
  • Mid-Term Exam
  • Final Exam

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Introduce students to the scope of medical anthropology and to analyse and discus the literature and central theories related to medical anthropology and the broader study of illness and healing practices in their social and cultural contexts.
  • Understand how biology, culture, politics, and ecology interact to shape illness and health, health systems, and patterns.
  • Interview, analyse, and represent the illness experience of another person, emphasizing the integrative factors (culture, politics, social structure, etc.) influencing their condition.
  • Apply the theories and concepts of medical anthropology to critically evaluate one’s own culture and determinants of illness and health.
  • To understand how healing systems often cut across categories of religion, medicine, and social organization.
  • To understand how illness and health (and normality) are constructed within particular social, cultural, political, and environmental contexts.
  • Understand and identify how inequality, social hierarchy, and structural violence generate unequal and often unique health determinants in the global and transnational context.

Assessment tasks

  • Tutorial Participation
  • "Illness Narrative" Essay
  • Mid-Term Exam
  • Final Exam

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Introduce students to the scope of medical anthropology and to analyse and discus the literature and central theories related to medical anthropology and the broader study of illness and healing practices in their social and cultural contexts.
  • Understand how biology, culture, politics, and ecology interact to shape illness and health, health systems, and patterns.
  • Interview, analyse, and represent the illness experience of another person, emphasizing the integrative factors (culture, politics, social structure, etc.) influencing their condition.
  • Apply the theories and concepts of medical anthropology to critically evaluate one’s own culture and determinants of illness and health.
  • To understand how healing systems often cut across categories of religion, medicine, and social organization.
  • To understand how illness and health (and normality) are constructed within particular social, cultural, political, and environmental contexts.
  • Understand and identify how inequality, social hierarchy, and structural violence generate unequal and often unique health determinants in the global and transnational context.

Assessment tasks

  • Tutorial Participation
  • "Illness Narrative" Essay
  • Mid-Term Exam
  • Final Exam

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Introduce students to the scope of medical anthropology and to analyse and discus the literature and central theories related to medical anthropology and the broader study of illness and healing practices in their social and cultural contexts.
  • Interview, analyse, and represent the illness experience of another person, emphasizing the integrative factors (culture, politics, social structure, etc.) influencing their condition.
  • To understand how illness and health (and normality) are constructed within particular social, cultural, political, and environmental contexts.
  • Understand and identify how inequality, social hierarchy, and structural violence generate unequal and often unique health determinants in the global and transnational context.

Assessment tasks

  • Tutorial Participation
  • "Illness Narrative" Essay
  • Mid-Term Exam
  • Final Exam

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

As local citizens our graduates will be aware of indigenous perspectives and of the nation's historical context. They will be engaged with the challenges of contemporary society and with knowledge and ideas. We want our graduates to have respect for diversity, to be open-minded, sensitive to others and inclusive, and to be open to other cultures and perspectives: they should have a level of cultural literacy. Our graduates should be aware of disadvantage and social justice, and be willing to participate to help create a wiser and better society.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Introduce students to the scope of medical anthropology and to analyse and discus the literature and central theories related to medical anthropology and the broader study of illness and healing practices in their social and cultural contexts.
  • Understand how biology, culture, politics, and ecology interact to shape illness and health, health systems, and patterns.
  • Interview, analyse, and represent the illness experience of another person, emphasizing the integrative factors (culture, politics, social structure, etc.) influencing their condition.
  • Apply the theories and concepts of medical anthropology to critically evaluate one’s own culture and determinants of illness and health.
  • To understand how healing systems often cut across categories of religion, medicine, and social organization.
  • To understand how illness and health (and normality) are constructed within particular social, cultural, political, and environmental contexts.
  • Understand and identify how inequality, social hierarchy, and structural violence generate unequal and often unique health determinants in the global and transnational context.

Assessment tasks

  • Tutorial Participation
  • "Illness Narrative" Essay
  • Mid-Term Exam
  • Final Exam

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Introduce students to the scope of medical anthropology and to analyse and discus the literature and central theories related to medical anthropology and the broader study of illness and healing practices in their social and cultural contexts.
  • Understand how biology, culture, politics, and ecology interact to shape illness and health, health systems, and patterns.
  • Interview, analyse, and represent the illness experience of another person, emphasizing the integrative factors (culture, politics, social structure, etc.) influencing their condition.
  • Apply the theories and concepts of medical anthropology to critically evaluate one’s own culture and determinants of illness and health.
  • To understand how healing systems often cut across categories of religion, medicine, and social organization.
  • To understand how illness and health (and normality) are constructed within particular social, cultural, political, and environmental contexts.
  • Understand and identify how inequality, social hierarchy, and structural violence generate unequal and often unique health determinants in the global and transnational context.

Assessment tasks

  • Tutorial Participation
  • "Illness Narrative" Essay
  • Mid-Term Exam
  • Final Exam

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Introduce students to the scope of medical anthropology and to analyse and discus the literature and central theories related to medical anthropology and the broader study of illness and healing practices in their social and cultural contexts.
  • Understand how biology, culture, politics, and ecology interact to shape illness and health, health systems, and patterns.
  • Interview, analyse, and represent the illness experience of another person, emphasizing the integrative factors (culture, politics, social structure, etc.) influencing their condition.
  • Apply the theories and concepts of medical anthropology to critically evaluate one’s own culture and determinants of illness and health.
  • To understand how healing systems often cut across categories of religion, medicine, and social organization.
  • To understand how illness and health (and normality) are constructed within particular social, cultural, political, and environmental contexts.
  • Understand and identify how inequality, social hierarchy, and structural violence generate unequal and often unique health determinants in the global and transnational context.

Assessment tasks

  • Tutorial Participation
  • "Illness Narrative" Essay
  • Mid-Term Exam
  • Final Exam

Detailed Unit Description

Culture affects our bodies, our experience, and even what even consider to be health, illness, and disease.  This unit is an introduction to medical anthropology and its core theories, methods, and concepts.  Throughout the course, we look at conditions of disease as having social as well as biological origins, and take the position that notions of health and the methods of treating illness are deeply lodged in cultural frameworks.  Thus we treat healing practices, including biomedicine, as inevitably predicated on cultural systems of understanding and larger structures of power.  We will consider different notions of disease causality and examine the proposition that good health, and conversely ill health, is never just about the body or biological causation.  How people understand illness and where it comes from, and what they do about it when it does occur, tells us a lot about how different societies understand people and their place in the world.

Topics covered will include placebos and the “meaning effect,” the healing efficacy of symbols and rituals, illness narratives, the relationship between illness and social experience, clinical encounters, changing concepts of mental health, culture bound syndromes, the body, and structural violence and social suffering.  Throughout, we will pay close attentions to the way that class, gender, and ethnicity shape medical systems and health outcomes.  As applied anthropologists, we will develop a critical perspective on the ways health policies, medical technologies, and interventions address populations and impact health.  We will pay particularly close attention to ways that growing global economic and technological inequalities contribute to human suffering, illness, and disease. We will focus as much on biomedicine and contemporary medical technologies as on exotic (and exoticising) topics such as witchcraft and ritual, to find the exotic within our own Western medical systems and the familiar within exotic cultural systems.

Changes since First Published

Date Description
31/07/2017 Error in word count for paper
07/07/2017 Added tutors and changed final exam date by one day