Medical Anthropology

Draws on biological and social/cultural anthropology to address issues of human health and disease.

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Course outline

Medical Anthropology is a subfield of anthropology that draws most on social/cultural anthropology and biological anthropology to address issues of human health and disease.

Included in the subfield are studies of cultural constructions of health and illness, medical knowledge and practices relating to health, illness and healing, the co-evolution of humans and diseases, provision of health services, health effects of development and globalisation, human ecology, and the relationship between health, politics and economics. While not all of medical anthropology is applied, there is a strong emphasis in that direction.

This course introduces frameworks of understanding issues in health and illness which draw from various strands of social/cultural anthropology and biological anthropology.

As you will realise by the end of the course, there is a large and growing literature in the dynamic field of medical anthropology. We have necessarily selected a limited number of topics and debates to pursue. However, if you have a particular interest, we encourage you to formulate this into an essay topic and examine it in greater depth.

Terms & Conditions

This programme gives you the opportunity to attend regular lectures in a selection of courses, alongside enrolled students as an observer. Please note that you are not eligible to attend tutorials, take part in assessments, sit for exams and will not have access to course material online.

You will be provided with a course outline to keep you up to date with the topics discussed in class every week. This is a no-stress learning opportunity.


  • 12 weeks, 3 March - 4 June 2021, Wednesday 1-3pm and Fridays 2-3pm
  • $355.00 incl. GST
  • The University of Auckland, City Campus
  • Presented by Heather Battles

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