1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Courses

ANTH 2280: Medical Anthropology
3.00
Principles of Social Analysis Area Requirement

 Medical Anthropology is a growing and important new subfield within general anthropology. Medical Anthropology compares different cultures' ideas about illness and curing. Although disease is a concept referring to a pathological condition of the body in which functioning is disturbed, illness is a cultural concept: a condition marked by deviation from what is considered a normal, healthy state. Treatment of illness in Western industrial societies focuses on curing specific diseased organs or controlling a specific virus. In many so-called "traditional" societies greater emphasis is placed on the social and psychological dimensions of illness. In this course we will learn that different cultures, even in the United States have different ways to talk about illness, and that the American medical community is at times as "culture bound" as anywhere. "Science" does not stand outside culture.