Medical Anthropology, Introductory Course
Medical anthropology is the study of health, illness, and healing across the range of human societies and over the course of human experience. It includes the ways that human communities understand and respond to the challenges of health and illness, it studies the meaning of signs of illness and suffering as part of the general study of culture, and it strives to interpret them in the light of wider understandings of resources, technology, ritual and religion. This introductory course covers some of the most familiar and important themes in medical anthropology. The literature focuses on classic texts dealing with issues such as classification of illness, uncertainties, bodies, subjectivities, identities, narratives, medicines, symbolic healing, patients and therapeutic journeys, lay and expert knowledge, medical practices, technologies and infrastructures. The aim of the course is to introduce the field of medical anthropology as part of the overall study of culture and society.
The course serves as a part of the specialised track in the Anthropology of Health.
Board of Studies, Department of Anthropology
From fall 2023 the course is also offered to students at the
- Master Programme in Social Data Science
- Master Programme in Political Science
- Bachelor and Master Programme in Psychology
Enrolled students register the course through the Selfservice. Please contact the study administration at each programme for questions regarding registration.
The course is open to:
- Exchange and Guest students from abroad
- Credit students from Danish Universities
At the end of the course students are expected to:
- Present key anthropological arguments and concepts in course readings
- Use anthropological concepts to present ethnographic case material
At the end of the course students are expected to
- Identify central anthropological approaches to studying health, illness and healing in human societies and reflect on the differences between them
- Describe illness experience, health practices, health technologies and health systems in different contexts and in cross-cultural settings
At the end of the course students must be able to
- Recognize how cultural values, social situations and relations shape understandings of and responses to the challenges of health and illness
The course consists of lectures, seminars and exercises based on in depth reading of ethnographic texts on health, illness and healing across a range of human societies. Students are expected to engage actively in oral presentations, discussions, group work and exercises.
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.
Students will receive feedback after each exercise during the interactive seminars.
When registered you will be signed up for exam.
- Full-degree students – sign up at Selfservice on KUnet
- Exchange and guest students from abroad – sign up through Mobility Online and Selfservice
- Credit students from Danish universities - sign up through this website.
The dates for the exams are found here Exams – Faculty of Social Sciences - University of Copenhagen (ku.dk)
Please note that it is your own responsibility to check for overlapping exam dates.
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
- Type of assessment details
- Length: Portfolio exam can be written individually or in groups of max. 4 students. Portfolio exams consist of 2-7 submissions. For MA students, there is a submission more than for BA students, i.e. if the BA student has to submit five submissions, the MA students must submit six submissions. The number of submissions is set by the lecturer. The total length of all of the submissions must be max. 30,000 keystrokes for one BA student and max. 37,500 keystrokes for one MA student. For groups of two students, max. 40,000 keystrokes BA students and max. 47,500 for MA students. For groups of three students, max. 45,000 keystrokes for BA students and max. 52,500 for MA students. For groups of four students, max. 50,000 keystrokes for BA students and 57,500 for MA students. In the case of group assignments, the contribution of each individual student must be clearly marked in the assignment. For groups with both BA and MA students, the same number of submissions is required as for MA students. The assignments are assessed jointly with a single grade.
- All aids allowed
Policy on the Use of Generative AI Software and Large Language Models in Exams
The Department of Anthropology allows the use of generative AI software and large language models (AI/LLMs), such as ChatGPT, in written exams, provided that the use of AI/LLMs is disclosed and specified (i.e., how it was used and for what purpose) in an appendix that does not count towards the page limit of the exam.
If AI/LLMs are used as source, the same requirements apply for using quotation marks and source referencing as with all other sources. Otherwise, it will be a case of plagiarism.
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
- Course number
- 7,5 ECTS
- Programme level
Bachelor choiceFull Degree Master choice
- Department of Anthropology, Study Council
- Department of Anthropology
- Department of Psychology
- Department of Political Science
- Social Data Science
- Faculty of Social Sciences
- Lamia Moghnie (5-6e636f6b63426a776f306d7730666d)
Are you BA- or KA-student?
Courseinformation of students