Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2005-2006 (archived)


Department: ANTHROPOLOGY (HUMAN SCIENCES) [Queen's Campus, Stockton]


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2005/06 Module Cap None. Location Queen's Campus Stockton


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • This course aims to study the related issues of mental health, illness, intervention and drug use from a cross-cultural perspective.


  • Learning audit.
  • mental health and mental illness, a continuum?.
  • cross-cultural psychiatry.
  • current western approaches to mental illness - paradigms and typologies.
  • race and psychiatry.
  • healing cultures: the therapeutic community.
  • comparing therapeutic communities (USA, UK, Japan).
  • the dream in human societies.
  • the cultural construction of the unconscious - comparative approaches to the unconscious.
  • Shamanism, classical and contemporary.
  • concepts of mental health and mental illness among the Semai/Senoi.
  • the historical and comparative context of drug use.
  • sacramental, recreational and therapeutic use of drugs.
  • ethnobotany.
  • types of drugs, licit and illicit, in the West.
  • concepts of addiction.
  • socio-demographic trends.
  • aetiology of drug use.
  • legal and political issues.
  • intervention strategies.
  • health education and promotion.
  • anthropology and HIV and AIDS research.
  • anthropology and altered states of consciousness research.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will: have an understanding of the interrelationship between different cultural understandings of self and consciousness, sanity and madness and their associated historical and current healing practices.
  • have knowledge of and insight into the main mental disorders and patterns of drug use and abuse, their treatment and their social implications in the Western context.
  • have an appreciation of a Social Sciences approach to understanding issues of mental health and mental illness in a cross-cultural context.
  • have an understanding of the cultural, political, economic, biological and pharmacological aspects of drug use, abuse and treatment from a cross-cultural perspective.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Apply some key concepts and methods of medical anthropology in relation to mental health issues.
  • Read and understand key medical anthropological texts in mental health matters.
  • Gain insight into the cross-cultural use of psychedelic drug use.
Key Skills:
  • Teamwork: The group project requires considerable teamwork in its various stages of: project definition, data-collection and write-up.
  • Communication: The 1st semester formative assessment is a group-based poster presentation which develops communication skills in the group context.
  • Cross-cultural empathy: The module's focus on, in part, non - Western cultures' experience of self, mental health issues and drug use, generates an appreciation of other culture's world views with respect to these topics.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Coursework

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 21 Weekly 1 hour 21
Tutorials 5 1 hour 5
Preparation and Reading 174
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
write up of group presentation of 5000 words per group 50%
3000 word essay 50%

Formative Assessment:

Plan/poster aspect of group presentation

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University