General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Medical Antropology: Global Health
Language English
Module lecturer prof. UAM dr hab. Izabela Main
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position profesor
Faculty Faculty of Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Semester 2021/2022 (summer)
Duration 30
USOS code 000


Module aim (aims)

Providing knowledge about subject and state of the art of medical anthropology
Providing knowledge about the main theoretical and methodological orientations in medical anthropology
Discussing terminology and concepts used in medical anthropology, and their value for analysis and interpretation
Developing ability of critical analysis and interpretation of biomedicine and processes of medicalization
Discussing practical applications of medical anthropology
Preparing for fieldwork in medical anthropology

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

Advanced level of English language (ability to read, write, present and discuss)


Week 1: Introduction

Week 2: Medical anthropology – definitions, discourses, approaches

Week 3: Medical anthropology in Poland – state of art

Week 4: The body – cultural definitions

Week 5: Methodology of research on health, illness and curing

Week 6-7: Diet – cultural classification of food, social meaning of eating, malnutrition, anorexia, slow food movements

Week 8: Illness and curing – medical pluralism, diagnosis, relations patient-doctor, disease and illness

Week 9: Health and life style – healthism, daily practices, sport

Week 10: Reproductive health – medicalization, Western birth culture, infertility, control

Week 11: Access to health care systems, medical tourism

Week 12: Global health, applied medical anthropology

Week 13: Health and migration

Week 14-15: Student presentations and summary

Reading list

Bartoszko A., Penkala-Gawęcka D. (2011), ‘Medical anthropology in Poland’, Cargo 1-2: 128-135
Castaneda, H. (2009), Illegality as risk factor: A survey of unauthorized migrant patients in a Berlin clinic, Social Science & Medicine 68: 1552–1560.
Edmonds, A. (2007). ‘The poor have the right to be beautiful’: cosmetic surgery in neoliberal Brazil, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 13, 363-381
Helman C. (2001). Culture, Health and Illness. 4 ed. London: Arnold.
Kilshaw, S. (2007) 'Toxic Emissions: The Role of Semen in GWS Narratives', Anthropology & Medicine, 14: 3, 251-258.
Kleinman A, P. Benson (2006). „Anthropology in the Clinic: The Problem of Cultural Competency and How to Fix It.“ Plos Medicine 3(10): 1673-1676.
Kramer, A.M. (2010), Defending Biomedical Authority and Regulating the Womb as Social Space: Prenatal Testing in the Polish Press, European Journal of Women's Studies 17: 43-59.
Petryna A. (2009) When Experiments Travel: Clinical Trials and the Global Search for Human Subjects, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Whittaker. A., Speier A. (2010): “Cycling Overseas”: Care, Commodification, and Stratification in Cross-Border Reproductive Travel, Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness, 29:4, 363-383
Whittaker A., Manderson L., Cartwright L. (2010), Patients without Borders: Understanding Medical Travel, Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness 29: 4, 336-343.