Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module ANTH3267: Anthropology of Health Inequality

Department: Anthropology

ANTH3267: Anthropology of Health Inequality

Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Not available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • ANTH2111 Sex, Reproduction and Love OR ANTH2141 Global Health and Disease


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • Apply medical anthropological and interdisciplinary analyses to a range of local, national, and global health inequalities.
  • Unpack the relationship between health inequity, discrimination, structural violence, and political ecology.
  • Critically engage with forms of discrimination that impact on health differentials, such as, race, class, gender, disability, and their intersectionality.
  • Explore the relationship between ethnography and policy development in the field of health inequalities.


  • The module takes an interdisciplinary approach that will include resources from critical medical anthropology, social and cultural anthropology, epidemiology, psychiatry, and history; this course will provide an indepth exploration of the causes and lived experiences of health inequalities. It will encourage students to engage in both the current concepts and debates surrounding health inequalities but will also involve a critical exploration of how health and development policies are constructed and implemented. The course will explore the 'unintended' consequences of particular policies that can either create, exacerbate, or mitigate health inequalities in a range of contexts.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of the module, students will be able to:
  • Apply a range of anthropological and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of health inequality.
  • Understand the impact of discrimination, structural violence and political ecology on ill-health and its presentation among different groups.
  • Gain deeper knowledge of the structural inequalities that impact health.
  • Assess the contribution of ethnography for policy development in the field of health inequality.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • In depth knowledge of different forms of health inequality, the structural forces that shape them, and the contribution anthropology can make to deepen our understanding.
Key Skills:
  • To develop a set of applied critical thinking and analytical skills that will enable students to evaluate health policies and develop the skills to recommend some solutions.

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

  • Lectures will provide students with an outline of key knowledge and debates in the topic area, discuss the literature that students should explore, and provide relevant ethnographic examples and case studies.
  • Seminar discussions will develop topics introduced in lectures and required reading to analyse aspects or case studies in greater depth and prepare students for their summative assignment.
  • Student preparation and reading time will allow engagement with specific references in advance of seminars and general and particular readings related to their assignment.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures and seminar discussions 15 Specified in module handbook 1 15
Preparation and Reading 85
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Summative assessment will consist of a 2500 word paper that is based on either: The close reading of an ethnographic monograph, students will make use of the anthropological approaches covered on the course to outline the factors shaping the health inequality in the book and then develop their own policy to remedy it. Or, a topic covered on the course to research in more detail and making use of the readings lists, further readings, and other available sources, put forward an anthropology-inspired policy response to a particular health inequality. 
Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2500 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative guidance on assessments may differ by topic, and full details will be provided in classes. Typical formatives may include presenting ideas related to your assignment topic in class, or an extended essay plan.

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