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Course Description

This course introduces students to the central topics and methodological approaches in medical anthropology. We will track how different medical systems and institutions — Western biomedicine among them — conceive of and act upon individual and collective bodies and subjects. Drawing from both classical and contemporary texts, we interrogate how social, political, and economic forces shape medicine, illness, and healing, and how these are made into objects of inquiry in the social sciences. Topics will include an examination of meaning, belief, and efficacy; the role of medicine in statecraft and colonialism; public health and population management; global health and humanitarianism; environmental health and the distribution of risk; cross-cultural theories of the body; the intersections between medicine and capital; and the effects and promises of new medical technologies. We will pay special attention to the ways in which race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender structure and are structured by medicine and its interventions. (This course counts toward the Cultural, Medical, and Social Justice Anthropology minors, the World Civilization requirement, and the Social Sciences distribution requirement).

Basic Enrollment Requirements: 

Academic Year (Fall/Spring): Unofficial Transcript – Bachelor’s Degree or progress towards a Bachelor’s Degree + 3.0 GPA.

Summer: None.

Refund Policy: The refund policy for Courses at Tufts offerings is dependent on the course length. Please refer to the section details to confirm any exceptions to the standard refund policy. The refund policies are viewable here: 

Remission Eligible: Yes; first day of term; all university policies apply.

Affiliated With:

  • School of Arts & Sciences