Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor.
Directed study, customarily in an area of Social/Cultural Anthropology.
This course reviews foundational and contemporary work in the field of Critical Medical Anthropology, treating illness and healing as symbolic, cultural, political and experiential phenomena. Critical Medical Anthropology (CMA) is a specialized sub-discipline of Medical Anthropology, and is centred on people-centered and action-oriented anthropological investigations of affliction, suffering, inequality and social justice. It draws from theoretical and methodological approaches from across Anthropology and the Medical Humanities in order to understand the body- environment-medicine interface in a cross-cultural perspective. The course begins by reviewing central concepts, theories and debates in the recent history of Critical Medical Anthropology, then shifts to focus on a series of ethnographic and applied anthropological case studies that directly or indirectly theorize the body, the mind, and experiences of wellbeing, disease and illness. Special attention will be paid to anthropological case studies addressing the ways that health inequality, inequity and disparity are experienced by acutely marginalized and vulnerable social actors and communities across the Global South. Through the available research, we will critically investigate and discuss the ways that health, illness, and disease are evaluated, and acted on in terms of health policy, programming, activism and advocacy, by Critical Medical Anthropologists as cultural constructions, phenomenological experiences, as political-economic consequences, and medicalized categories.
- Instructor: Emma Varley