Medical Anthropology, advanced course

Course content

How does technology change the ways in which we live, age, and die with our bodies? How do different technologies reshape what it means to be a human? What kinds of facts and imaginaries of life are produced around those technologies? And, how are existing inequalities and injustices embedded in and/or challenged by these new technologies of living? In this course, we will examine changing contours of human life including the experiences of health and illness and conceptions of life and death in relation to science and technology. Looking into the entanglement of biomedicial knowledge and technology in everyday life, we will explore how life itself is made into objects of technological interventions and how this process, rather than simply offering solutions to given problems, reshape our bodily experiences of and relations with the world while engendering novel ethical and cultural problems for us to deal with. In addition to extensive reading and discussion of literature in medical anthropology and Science and Technology Studies, students will engage a semester-long group project to analyze and “redesign” a technological artifact of their choice.

The aim of the course is to develop students’ knowledge of the sub-field of medical anthropology to help prepare for a health-related Masters thesis.

Learning outcome

- be able to identify a relevant anthropological research problem related to medical anthropology
- be able to locate and analyze empirical material by applying analytical perspectives from the course literature (using anthropological concepts and theories) in order to make an anthropological argument
-be able to write a well-structured essay on a chosen field/case drawing on the literature from anthropology and other related disciplines

-be able to demonstrate how biomedical knowledge and technology are shaped in specific sociocultural and politico-economic contexts and further reshape our experiences of health and illness

-be able to utilize concepts and methods of medical anthropology and Science and Technology Studies in analyzing a concrete, empirical case

The course will be based on a combination of lectures and interactive seminars where students contribute actively through group work, discussions, readings and oral and written presentations.

BSc students and MSc students: 500 pages obligatory literature.

The teacher will publish 200-300 pages of supplementary literature.

Course literature will be available through Absalon.


Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Portfolio, .
Length: The portfolio exam can be taken individually or in groups of maximum four students. The portfolio exam consists of 2-7 submissions. The number of submissions is set by the lecturer. The total length of all of the submissions must not exceed 30,000 keystrokes for a single student. For groups of two students the maximum is 40,000 keystrokes. For groups of three students the maximum is 45,000 keystrokes and for groups of four students the maximum is 50,000 keystrokes.
For groups writing together it must be clearly indicated which parts of the assignment each of the students has written.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcome

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 95
  • Project work
  • 54
  • Seminar
  • 42
  • Exam
  • 16
  • English
  • 207