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The Health, Medicine, and Humanity Concentration addresses the biological, cultural, and political-economic dimensions of health, illness, and healing historically and at present. Research includes attention to the body as a site of symbols and evolutionary processes, suffering and healing as processes shaped by historical forces, and the multiple, biological and socio-cultural facets of affliction at individual and collective levels.

Biomedicine and other healing systems come under scrutiny as social phenomena shaped by the impact of history, social organization, and dynamic relations of power. Thus, we consider health issues in relation to broader, intersecting systems of environment and ecology, gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, nation, and class subjectivities. Through our multiple methods and theoretical orientations, the Health, Medicine, and Humanity concentration also addresses questions about how humans construct, deploy and contest knowledge related to health.


The Health, Medicine, and Humanity Concentration offers curricular programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. Our goal is to provide a menu of coursework that ensures students attain structured overviews of our multiple approaches while also enjoying the flexibility to pursue their specific interests.

Anthropology majors can select from a wide range of existing courses devoted to themes in health, medicine and humanity to enrich their study of cultural and biological anthropology.

The Medical Anthropology Minor is a degree program that consists of five three-hour courses taken from the approved list of Medical Anthropology minor courses.

Graduate Courses: In many respects the Health, Medicine, and Humanity Concentration reflects an already existing track within the Anthropology department’s PhD program. We already have an overview course on the books, ANTH 750: Seminar in Medical Anthropology (currently taught once every other year), and several special topics courses.

Public Programs

  1. Public Colloquia have been presented for several years through the Moral Economies of Medicine (MEM) working group. We anticipate continuing such events and welcome the expansion of public activity through other initiatives.

A Working Group

Moral Economies of Medicine has been an active working group for the last 5-6 years. Its membership extends beyond the Department to include faculty and students in other departments (most centrally affiliated faculty in Social Medicine). It focus extends the cultural legacies of medical anthropology to address a range of contemporary phenomena of interest to the participants, who meet monthly for discussions, research presentations, workshops, and sponsored guest lecturers. The group recently received a 3-year award from Carolina Seminars to conduct a series on critical engagement with Global Health.

Medical Anthropology Minor Courses

  • Anth 66H FYS Saving Lives
  • ANTH 143 Human Evolution and Adaptation
  • ANTH 147 Comparative Healing Systems
  • ANTH 151 Food & Culture
  • ANTH 270 Living Medicine
  • ANTH 278 Women in Science
  • ANTH 280 Anthropology of War & Peace
  • ANTH 298 Biological Anthropology Theory and Practice
  • ANTH 315 Human Genetics and Evolution
  • ANTH 317 Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Adaptation and Behavior
  • ANTH 318 Human Growth and Development
  • ANTH 319 Global Health
  • ANTH 320 Anthropology of Development
  • ANTH 325 Emotions and Society
  • ANTH 414 and 414L Human Osteology (laboratory Methods)
  • ANTH 422 Anthropology and Human Rights
  • ANTH 423 Written in Bone
  • ANTH 426 Making Magic
  • ANTH 437 Evolutionary Medicine
  • ANTH 439 Political Ecology
  • ANTH 442 Health and Gender after Socialism
  • ANTH 443 Cultures and Politics of Reproduction
  • ANTH 444 Medicine, Politics, and Justice
  • ANTH 445 Migration and Health
  • ANTH 446 Poverty, Health, and Inequality
  • ANTH 470 Medicine and Anthropology
  • ANTH 473 Anthropology of the Body and Subject
  • ANTH 474 Anthropology of Disability
  • ANTH 490(*) Biocultural Perspectives on Maternal and Child Health
  • ANTH 585 Anthropology of Science
  • ANTH 538 Disease and Discrimination in Colonial Atlantic America
  • ANTH 585 Anthropology of Science
  • ANTH 623 Human Disease Ecology
  • ANTH 624 Anthropology and Public Health
  • ANTH 649 Politics of Life and Death
  • ANTH 650 Reconstructing Life: Nutrition and Disease in Past Populations
  • ANTH 699 Human-Plant Coevolution

(*) special topics of general department number (490)

Graduate Seminars Related to Proposed Concentration in Anthropology of Health, Medicine, and Science

  • ANTH 750 Seminar in Medical Anthropology
  • ANTH 777 Human Rights and Humanitarianism
  • ANTH 898 Moral Economies of Medicine
  • ANTH 898 Anthropology of Pharmaceuticals
  • ANTH 898 States of Disorder: Self, Psyche, and Colonialism