Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module ANTH43615: Anthropology of Global Health

Department: Anthropology

ANTH43615: Anthropology of Global Health

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide students with a range of theoretical perspectives and approaches within medical anthropology and to apply those to a range of contemporary issues in global health.


  • Key theoretical approaches within medical anthropology
  • Medical ecology, symbolic approaches, ethno-medicine, critical medical anthropology, political ecology
  • Using these approaches to examine critically a range of contemporary issues in global health. The exact topics will vary from year to year, since this is a rapidly-changing area, but might include:
  • Trends in international health policy and practice
  • Addressing the health-related Millennium Development Goals (maternal health, child survival, combating infectious diseases including HIV)
  • Global health inequalities
  • Gender equity and health
  • Key transnational commercial players: the global pharmaceutical industry; the international tobacco industry
  • Medical pluralism and the role of ‘traditional’ healers
  • Participatory health research and action
  • Mobility, migration and health
  • Conflict and health
  • Rise of non-communicable diseases in the Global South
  • Health impacts of climate change

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • a) Key theoretical approaches within medical anthropology
  • b) Overview of key contemporary issues and debates within global health
Subject-specific Skills:
  • a) Ability to critically evaluate and apply medical anthropology theory to a range of contemporary issues in global health.
  • b) Ability to synthesise, critically evaluate and present complex anthropological material, including data, models and theoretical arguments.
Key Skills:
  • a) Ability to engage critically with a range of literature.
  • b) Ability to communicate succinctly and clearly in both oral and written format.
  • c) Ability to bring together and contrast different disciplinary perspectives on key contemporary issues.

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

  • This is an intensive seminar-based course. Contributing teaching staff set out the broad contexts and key issues, which is followed by student-led discussion. Seminars provide an opportunity for students to read, synthesize and present recent primary references and major reviews within both the medical anthropology and global health literatures. Students prepare presentations individually and collaboratively. Thus students are brought into contact with up-to-date research are encouraged to evaluate it critically and gain practice in presenting relevant materials to others and in learning collaboratively.
  • Summative assessment consists of an essay of 3,000 words. The essay topic will be chosen specifically to encourage students to draw on concepts from throughout the module, rather than being able to use material from only one or two sessions.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 8 every 1-2 weeks 1.5 hours 12
Preparation and Reading 138
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment will be a book review (1,500 words), to encourage ‘close reading’ of a key text and ability to situate an argument within the context of a wider theoretical debate. Informal feedback on student presentations / discussions within seminars will also help students to hone their communication and critical evaluation skills.

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