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ANTH223 Anthropology of Health

An introduction to the global and cross-cultural exploration of concepts of health, healing and illness. Exploration of the commodification, medicalisation, moralities and aesthetics of embodied health and biomedical care.

This paper introduces you to the fascinating world of medical anthropology. Explore how to interpret the meaning and experiences of healing and suffering while also developing your critical thinking skills. How does the political economy impact our well-being? What are idioms of distress? Are there such things as culturally grounded illnesses? How do ideologies of health operate in contemporary Aotearoa/New Zealand? This paper is taught in yearly rotation with ANTH 222.

Paper title Anthropology of Health
Paper code ANTH223
Subject Anthropology
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $913.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,073.40

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ANTH 103 or ANTH 105 or 54 points
ANTH 323
Schedule C
Arts and Music
This paper is suitable for students both with and without strong backgrounds in anthropology. Students need to have successfully passed at least one semester of full-time university studies to enrol in this paper. Assignments have been carefully designed to suit a multidisciplinary student audience.

Teaching staff

Dr Molly George

Paper Structure

100% internally assessed. Assessment includes a critical reading analysis, a book review essay, a take home exam that explores stigma and ideology within a contemporary advertisement for a health related product.

Teaching Arrangements
We meet together for a 2-hour lecture once a week with a break in the middle of the session. We work with a 'flipped classroom', so there is plenty of opportunity for you to talk as well as listen in these sessions. In addition we have one hour a week of tutorials where we get to discuss ideas in small groups.
Course readings are provided through eReserve on Blackboard.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global Perspective, Interdisciplinary Perspective, Lifelong Learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical Thinking, Cultural Understanding, Ethics, Research, Self-Motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students will emerge from this course of study with an excellent basic knowledge of the variety of anthropological meanings attached to the concept of health. They will have enhanced their capacity to write essays and to communicate arguments verbally in an evidence-based, respectful and inclusive tone. They will appreciate the moral and politico-aesthetic values attached to health and demonstrate the critical thinking skills required to recognise and assess ideologies of health in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 14:00-15:50 9-13, 15-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Thursday 10:00-10:50 9-13, 15-22
A2 Thursday 11:00-11:50 9-13, 15-22
A3 Thursday 13:00-13:50 9-13, 15-22