Core Modules for the MSc in Medical Anthropology
The core course, running over two terms, provides a framework by topic on which to construct an analysis of medicine and human wellbeing as practiced in any one system of healing: cosmopolitan, traditional or plural.
- Term 1 The Medical Anthropology core course provides a comprehensive overview of key concepts and approaches in the discipline, including interpretative and critical medical anthropology, therapeutic interrelations between patient, healer and community, belief and efficacy in healing practice, global public health challenges and the role of health technologies in addressing risk and prevention across local and transnational arenas of health care.
- In Term 2, a seminar on Clinical Ethnography will cover methodological approaches to provide a hands on approach to the practice of doing clinically-relevant ethnography. This will include discussions of the ethical dimensions of work with clinical populations, designing and setting up a project, using clinically-informed ethnographic techniques, and critical analysis of the inequalities and cultural ideologies shaping intervention and health outcome. Examples will illustrate the range of clinically-relevant ethnographic approaches, exploring such topics as understanding patients' experiences of cancer or mental illness, clinical trials, bioethics, cultural competency, reflexivity, interviewing, narrative analysis, and constructing an anthropological understanding of local therapeutic approaches in sociopolitical context.
Anthropology and Psychiatry
An additional component of the core course in the second term examines one particular field in great depth and focuses upon the anthropology of mental illness. In medical anthropology, psychiatry has been one of the sub-discipline's central concerns since the early 20th century, with academic psychology and psychoanalysis contributing also to anthropology. The course, based on weekly two-hour seminars, examines both popular and professional notions of 'mental illness' and their roots in the wider social, economic and ideological aspects of particular societies.
Assessment of Core Modules
- By formal written examination on the whole field of medical anthropology
- By two essays written on the core elements over two terms. The higher mark will be used in the assessment
Methods and Research
- Anthropological Methods - The methods taught are both those developed in classical social anthropology (as used in extended fieldwork) and those more recently developed for shorter-term social survey work, along with computer-based analytical techniques. The Clinical Ethnography seminar in Term 2 provides a framework for thinking and practically applying different methodological approaches to real world health situations. In addition, weekly Research Seminars critically examine methods and research techniques (and their problems) that are particular to medical anthropology.
Header picture by US Army Africa under following licence