ANT 121 - Special Topics in Medical Anthropology

Medical anthropology examines the social, cultural, and political forces that affect health, disease and our understanding and experience of the body. It is grounded in the radical anthropological premise of openness to alternative understandings of the body, illness, disease, healing and curing. For instance, in this course we approach the "body" as biologically given as well as culturally "made-up" and historically situated, so that one can speak of "local biologies." Similarly, we approach psychiatric diagnoses such as schizophrenia and depression as products of a certain cultural, social, economic and political context. Thus, we explore whether these categories make sense in non-Western contexts, and how other systems of knowledge define cure and the distinction between the normal and the pathological.
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ANT 002 recommended




Biomedicine is treated as one among many efficacious systems of medical knowledge, power and healing. One of the primary emphases of this course is the value of drawing examples from both Western and non-Western societies and cultures.