Global Health and Medical Anthropology

The Society of Medical Anthropology describes this subfield as a discipline that draws upon social, cultural, biological, and linguistic anthropology to better understand those factors which influence health and well being (broadly defined), the experience and distribution of illness, the prevention and treatment of sickness, healing processes, the social relations of therapy management, and the cultural importance and utilization of pluralistic medical systems.


vaccination station

Our faculty engage in a number of sites, practices, and questions that pertain to the study of the social, cultural, and political forces that affect health, disease, and our experience of the body. Our research ranges from the study of contemporary practices of brain imaging to the investigation of pharmaceutical logics and individuals’ practices of drug consumption in the US, from the emergence of new therapeutic sites of psychological treatment in China to the study of psychiatries and their political therapeutics in Europe and elsewhere. Our engagement with these questions combines medical anthropology and STS methods to think about the histories of medical practices, the global implications of clinical trials and medical technologies, and to attend to different configurations of the self and emotions. At the undergraduate level, we offer several courses, including ANT/STS 121 Medical Anthropology; ANT 132 Psychological Anthropology; ANT/STS 129 Health and Medicine in a Global Context; ANT/STS 32 Drugs, Science, and Culture. At the graduate level, our seminars explore the relations between law and medicine, anthropology and psychoanalysis, performance and the body, and the political and therapeutic dimensions of the clinic as a site of practices and thought.