Medical Anthropology I. Social Studies of Health and Medicine

Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen

This Bachelor level introductory course covers some of the most familiar and important themes in medical anthropology. Medical anthropology is the study of health, illness, and healing across the range of human societies and over the course of human experience. It includes the ways that human communities understand and respond to the challenges of health and illness, it studies the meaning of signs of illness and suffering as part of the general study of culture, and it strives to interpret them in the light of wider understandings of resources, technology, ritual and religion.

The literature focuses on classic text dealing with issues such as classification of illness, uncertainties, bodies, subjectivities, identities, narratives, medicines, symbolic healing, patients and therapeutic journeys.

The aim of the course is to introduce the field of medical anthropology as part of the overall study of culture and society. The course will be based on in depth reading of classic ethnographic texts on health, illness and healing across a range of human societies. Students are expected to engage actively in oral presentations, discussions, group work and exercises.

Duration: 7 weeks; Fall semesters

Language: English

Credits/ECTS: 7.5 ECTS


  • EU – Approximately 6,000 DKK (805 Euros)
  • Non EU – 1,275 Euros

Application deadline: 1 June

Contact: Vibeke Steffen ( /


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Platform on Human Health

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