Fall 2023

Medical Anthropology

Listed in: Anthropology and Sociology, as ANTH-245


Christopher T. Dole (Section 01)


The aim of this course is to introduce the ways that medical anthropologists understand illness, suffering, and healing as taking shape amidst a complex interplay of biological, psychological, social, political-economic, and environmental processes. The course is designed to engage a broad range of medical anthropology topics, theoretical approaches, and research techniques by examining case studies concerned with such issues as chronic illness and social suffering, ritual and religious forms of healing, illness and inequality, medicalization, the global AIDS crisis, the social life of new medical technologies, and the politics of global health and humanitarian intervention. A basic premise of the course is that an understanding of illness, health, and the body requires an understanding of the contexts in which they are experienced, contexts contingently shaped by interwoven processes of local, national, and global significance. Particular emphasis will thus be placed on ethnographic approaches to the lived context in which illness and other forms of suffering are experienced, narrated, and addressed. Our focus will be comparative, treating illness, suffering, and healing in a range of societies and settings—from Haiti to China, from urban Brazil to rural Nepal, from the townships of South Africa to genetic labs in the United States.

Limited to 30 students. Fall semester.  Professor C. Dole.

How to handle overenrollment: priority will be given to seniors and majors

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Emphasis on readings and written work.

ANTH 245 - LEC

Section 01
M 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM CHAP 203
W 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM CHAP 203

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Stories in the Time of Cholera: Racial Profiling During a Medical Nightmare University of California Press Briggs, Charles and Mantini-Briggs, Clara Amherst Books TBD
Haunting Images: A Cultural Account of Selective Reproduction in Vietnam University of California Press Gammeltoft, Tine Amherst Books TBD
Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment University of California Press Biehl, Joao Amherst Books TBD
Lissa: A Story About Medical Promise, Friendship, and Revolution University of Toronto Press Hamdy, Sherine and Nye, Coleman Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2023, Spring 2025