Teaching Resources

Resources for teaching medical anthropology

With the school year approaching, many academic blogs have featured posts about teaching.  We’ve run a few of these over the past years, including a number of syllabi related to medical anthropology.  You can see them all by clicking on the “Teaching Resources” category in the sidebar, but I’ve also gathered the best of them here — along with a number of health + social science teaching resources from other sites.

We’re always looking for more teaching resources to share, so if you have a syllabus or course design that has worked particularly well–or a resource that we’ve missed, get in touch with us at admin AT somatosphere DOT net.


Somatosphere posts

Ian Whitmarsh, Medical Governance, Culture, and Subjectivities: a Syllabus

This course looks at current trajectories in medical anthropology theory. By reading textsthat have informed these trajectories, both within anthropology and in related fields, we will attempt a rich approach to where theory in medical anthropology has been and where it might be going. This will entail moving outside of the clinic and the lab to the formation of subjectivities and the way governance takes shape, where institutions makes violence and health inextricable.


Eugene Raikhel, Syllabus: Culture, Mental Health and Psychiatry

This course examines mental health and illness as a set of subjective experiences, social processes and objects of knowledge and intervention. On a conceptual level, the course will invite students to think through the complex relationships between categories of knowledge and clinical technologies (in this case, mainly psychiatric ones) and the subjectivities of persons living with mental illness.


Chris Garces, Teaching Critique of Humanitarianism: A Syllabus for Comparative Study

This seminar will explore how institutions and governments identify ‘states of emergency’ in order to safeguard populations and political alliances. But we will also consider the globally mundane and quieter interventions that typically go unnoticed by way of humanitarian aid.


Janelle Taylor, On teaching “Perspectives in Medical Anthropology”

This course is an introduction to some aspects of the field of medical anthropology. We shall focus especially on theoretical and methodological questions of how one approaches “illness,” “healing” or “medicine” as an object of ethnographic study. Though we shall read articles based on research carried out in many different parts of the world, many concern illness experience and medical practice in the United States.


Eugene Raikhel, Teaching Anthropology of the Body

In this upper-level seminar in medical anthropology, we will examine “the body” as a historically and culturally contingent category, a material locus of practices and an object of fashioning and self-identification.


Daniel Sharp, Educational Video Database on Genetic/Reproductive Technologies & Social Issues

While a wealth of literature exists on emerging reproductive and genetic technologies, usable educational resources in other mediums are few and far between.  A new series of videos helps to fill this lacuna, providing engaging, accessible and thought-provoking commentary on the human aspects of biotechnology, science, and medical practice.


Rebecca Prentice, Medical anthropology films

A list of medical anthropology films suitable for teaching.


Teaching resources elsewhere

Teaching Materials Exchange, American Anthropological Association (AAA)

“The resource is a place where anyone can upload their course syllabi and where they can view and download course reading lists and other teaching materials for a wide range of anthropology classes, ” (Lamphere 2012).


Collection of medical anthropology syllabi, Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA)

A substantial collection organized into categories ranging from anthropology and epidemiology to women’s health, as well as many introductory courses.


Oona Schmid and Emilia Guevara, Teaching Medical Anthropology, AAA Blog

A series of discussion nodes, each of which includes textbook materials, videos, articles and ethnographies, ranging from  Introductions to Medical Anthropology to Body and Embodiment and Inequality and Structural Violence.


Daniel Lende, Get the Syllabus – Biocultural Medical Anthropology, Neuroanthropology

This course provides a comprehensive grounding in biocultural medical anthropology, which emphasizes understanding how health and healing are shaped by both biological and cultural processes.  This class will examine disease, illness, human biology, embodiment, public health, methods, and belief systems.  From the biology of stress to the biopolitics of medicine, students will engage in substantive discussion and read central pieces of the scientific and anthropological literature.  While the class is focused on biocultural dynamics, students will also cover the biological mechanisms of disease and applied biocultural practice.


Syllabi from the AIDS and Anthropology Research Group

Many AARG members teach courses focused on HIV/AIDS. In fact they have been doing so since the 1980s. Often these courses are situated through the lens of the many cultural, economic, political, social, and structural factors that shape HIV/AIDS (such as colonial legacies, conflict, gender, mobility, poverty, race/ethnicity, religion, sexual diversity, and vulnerabilities)….In short, HIV/AIDS courses importantly focus on a regionally diverse set of epidemics, but are also valuably these courses are grander in scope and applicability.


Psychological Anthropology Course Syllabi, Society for Psychological Anthropology

 Includes introductions to psychological anthropology as well as more specialized courses on topics such as cognitive anthropology, mental health, and life history.


Medical Sociology syllabi, American Sociological Association (ASA)

A large collection of syllabi from the ASA’s Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology (TRAILS).


“Teaching Points,” Points: The Blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society

“[A] celebration of drug and alcohol pedagogy from various fields.” Includes courses such as “A History of Drugs in the Modern World,” Women and Addiction: A Feminist Perspective,” and “Hooked: Addiction in American Culture.”


History of Medicine: Online Syllabus Archive, National Library of Medicine

Billed as “the world’s largest online collection of syllabi in the history of medicine.” The collection is very well organized–it can be browsed by professor, course title, institution and subject–and comparatively up-to-date–most syllabi are from the past five years.  The topics range from geographically and periodically-themed survey courses to those on more closely focused subjects such as disease and epidemics, gender, mental illness, global health, science and the body.


Syllabi on the history of psychiatry, h-madness

Includes syllabi and extensive course descriptions from leading historians of psychiatry including Greg Eghigian, Elizabeth Lunbeck, Mark Micale, and others.


Medical Humanities syllabi, Medical Humanities website

 Course topics include Aging, Death and Dying, Disability, Law and Medicine, Medical Ethics and Science and the Humanities.


STS course syllabi, Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S)

The collection and posting of STS course syllabi is a project initiated within the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) as part of its outreach function. The goal is to make available to professors, students, administrators, and others with an interest in STS syllabi that reflect the most current approaches to teaching within the specialty area. Rather than limiting the collection to core STS courses, the desire is to provide users with a range of syllabi that capture diverse topics taught in this area. The collection is organized by author, topic, level (undergraduate or graduate), program/department within which the course is taught, and language.


Georgetown Bioethics Library – Syllabus Exchange Database

Since 1986, the Syllabus Exchange Database at the Bioethics Research Library has functioned as a clearinghouse for bioethics syllabi to promote the study of bioethics as a discipline. The collection consists of over 600 syllabi in 3 languages from 12 countries. While the standard syllabus documents a semester-length class, seminars and continuing education courses are included as well. The collection contains courses from high school through graduate education. The Library continues to add bioethics syllabi in all languages to the Syllabus Exchange Database.


Syllabi on Demography, Economics and Epidemiology of Aging, National Institute on Aging

This catalogue presents a compilation of course syllabi on the demography, economics and epidemiology of aging and is intended to be a public service to enhance the quality of teaching and research on aging.



6 replies on “Resources for teaching medical anthropology”

The resouces posted on Scribd are not available to users which do not pay a subscription ( even if the have an account there):”To download this document you must be a Scribd Premium Reader”. So, for some part of the world the access is limited. Are you aware of that?

Hi Gi,
I was not aware of that. I think that this is a change Scribd instituted in the time since these posts were originally written. I’ll try to embed the pdfs directly into WordPress, which should hopefully take care of the problem.

In any case, thanks so much for letting me know.

Comments are closed.