Introduction to Medical Anthropology
Medical anthropology is a subfield of anthropology that brings unique interdisciplinary perspectives and field research methods to bear on understandings of health, wellbeing, and disease within and across cultures. Its experiential, field-based approach and core concepts allow students to explore the ways in which conceptions of the body, health, illness experience, and healing practices are culturally constructed and mediated. It probes the role of medical technologies while considering the moral economies of medical knowledge and the redrawing of lines between biology and culture, the normal and the abnormal. Drawing on anthropology’s subfields (social/cultural, biological, and linguistic) as well as the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences—its approach is interdisciplinary and holistic. As medical anthropologists attend to pluralistic medical systems, they also account for the political, economic and social factors that impact contemporary disease and health processes. Connecting real-world health issues at local levels with global structures, medical anthropologists attempt to comprehensively understand the current conditions affecting patterns of social suffering and our responses to it. Students are encouraged to email the instructor at firstname.lastname@example.org if they have any questions regarding the course.