General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Anthropology of Body and Health
Language English
Module lecturer dr Zofia Boni
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Assistant Professor
Faculty Faculty of Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Semester 2024/2025 (summer)
Duration 30


The course will take place in the summer semester 2024/2025. The seminars will be organized every two weeks for 3h meetings, altogether 8 classes in the semester.

Module aim (aims)

This module aims to introduce students to medical anthropology and socio-cultural aspects of health. We will discuss various cases of experiencing disease and illness, and dealing with the biomedical system, as well as how age, gender, race and ethnicity affect these experiences.

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

The competence in written and oral English is mandatory. There will be a lot of reading materials. Some basic knowledge of anthropology or sociology would be helpful. Students will be expected to read all compulsory materials, actively participate in seminar discussions, prepare reading questions and group presentations. There will also be a final short essay due at the end of the semester.


WEEK 1: Biomedicine and New Public Health

WEEK 2: Health, Body and Gender

WEEK 3: Health, Body and Race

WEEK 4: Health, Body and Age

WEEK 5: Pharmaceuticals

WEEK 6: Obesity and Epigenetics

WEEK 7: Bio-technologies

WEEK 8: Global Health and Evidence-based Medicine

The assessment for this course will be based on seminar participation (preparing reading questions before class, class discussions, group presentations), which will constitute 40% of the final mark; and 4000 word essays (60% of the final mark).

Reading list

A detailed reading list will be provided at the beginning of the course by course convener, with general and additional materials to read for each seminar.

Dumes, Abigail (2020) Divided Bodies. Lyme Disease, Contested Illness, and Evidence-Based Medicine, Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Dumit, Joseph (2012) Drugs for Life. How Pharmaceutical Companies Define Our Health. Duke University Press.

Carter S, Green J, Speed E (2018) “Digital technologies and the biomedicalisation of everyday activities: the case of walking and cycling.” SOCIOLOGY COMPASS, 12(4).

Inhorn, Marcia, and Emily Wentzell (eds.) (2012) Medical Anthropology at the Intersections. Histories, Activisms, and Futures. Duke University Press.

Lock, Margaret and Patricia Kaufert (2001) “Menopause, Local Biologies and Cultures of Aging”, American Journal of Human Biology, 13(4) 2001, s. 494–504. : 10.1002/ajhb.1081 

Martin, Emily (2006) “The Pharmaceutical Person”, BioSocieties 1: 273,

Mol, Annemarie (2002) The Body Multiple. Duke University Press.

Moran-Thomas, Amy (2019) Travelling with Sugar. Chronicles of a Global Epidemic. University of California Press.

Nading, Alex (2014) Mosquito Trails: Ecology, Health, and the Politics of Entanglement. Oakland: University of California Press.

Petersen, Alan and Deborah Lupton (1996) The new public health: Health and self in the age of risk. London: Sage.

Petryna, Adriana, Kleinman, Arthur and Andrew Lakoff (eds.) (2006) Global Pharmaceuticals. Ethics, Markets, Practices. Duke University Press.

Rabinow, P., Rose, N. Biopower Today. BioSocieties 1, 195–217 (2006).

Scheper-Hughes, N. and Lock, M.M. (1987) “The Mindful Body: A Prolegomenon to Future Work in Medical Anthropology”. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 1: 6-41.

Stump, Jessica (2014) “Henrietta Lacks and The HeLa Cell: Rights of Patients and Responsibilities of Medical Researchers”. The History Teacher, 48(1), 127–180.

Vincanne, Adams (ed) (2016) Metrics. What counts in global health. Duke University Press.

Yates-Doerr, Emily (2015) The Weight of Obesity Hunger and Global Health in Postwar Guatemala. University of California Press.