Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024

Module ANTH2141: Global Health and Disease

Department: Anthropology

ANTH2141: Global Health and Disease

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Health, Illness and Society (ANTH1041)


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To give students a firm grounding in theories of medical anthropology (evolutionary, ecological, sociocultural) as applied to international health and disease


  • Nutrition and disease ecology focusing on the impact on global human health and disease of the intersections between human and pathogen biology and human economic and social systems.
  • Key areas of theory in social medical anthropology (including for example critical medical anthropology, cultural and symbolic theories, political economy, governance and governmentality, biopolitics and biosociality) in relation to global health.
  • Applying theory to key current issues in international health. Specific topics will vary from year to year, but may include: malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, viral haemorrhagic fevers, emerging diseases and drug resistance, reproductive cancers, allergies and autoimmune diseases, community engagement and public health.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Epidemiologic transitions in evolutionary perspective
  • Infectious and non-infectious disease ecology
  • Major theories of social medical anthropology
  • Major current global health concerns
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to apply theory within medical anthropology to a range of key contemporary global health issues.
  • Ability to evaluate critically international health policy and practice, using anthropological theory.
  • Critical awareness of the role of applied anthropology within international health and development policy and practice.
Key Skills:
  • Application of theory to practical situations.
  • Ability to read and critically evaluate both academic and policy literature.
  • Academic essay-writing skills.

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

  • Lectures and seminars introduce students to the material and enable discussion of it, informed by wider reading.
  • Lectures may consist of pre-recorded videos, live presentations, break-out discussions or other activities as appropriate to the material covered from week to week.
  • Seminars will provide students with an opportunity to explore and discuss material from the lectures and readings in depth with their tutors and peers.
  • A film series will provide students with an opportunity to reflect on and discuss wider issues concerning global health, and draw connections between material covered on the course and current affairs, the media and other forms of representation.
  • Formative assessment is a 1000 word essay in each term.
  • Summative assessment is by two 2500 word summative essays (each worth 50% of the module mark).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Seminars 6 Three per term 1 hour 6
Film showings 7 Spread throughout year 2 hours 14
Preparation and Reading 160
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2500 words 50% Yes
Essay 2500 words 50% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Written feedback on two formative assignments. Verbal feedback in seminars.

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