ANTH2504Introduction to Medical Anthropology3 ch (3C) [W]
This course is designed to introduce students to the discipline of medical anthropology, which is accomplished by focusing on the ways in which illness, health, and healing are embedded within social, political, and cultural systems. Selected case studies are used to examine i) how different medical systems define health and illness, and how they treat categories of disease? ii) What happens when western medicine confronts folk understandings of illness in such a way that the two clash? iii) How anthropologists investigate and respond to the study of pain, illness, suffering, and healing in specific contexts? iv) How do seemingly local and global cultural processes shape aspects of our bodies, such as illness, sex, and death? This course also explores biomedicine as a powerful cultural belief system that is global in its scope, creates disease categories, and produces authoritative knowledge. Finally, medical pluralism and pertinent case studies are examined to understand the integration of western and traditional medical systems.