Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit focuses on the nature and practice of healing and medical care in different historical and cross-cultural contexts. It draws on medical anthropology and sociology to explore the close articulation between individual suffering and the social, moral and political order within societies. The unit encourages students to think critically about (1) conceptions of the body and suffering; (2) the health care seeking process; and (3) the cultural organisation of medical knowledge and practice. These themes are developed in topics which include various approaches to illness, disease and health; the language, symbolism and imagery of healing and medicine; lay perspectives of the illness experience; the history and experience of pain; and studies of ethnomedicine, biomedicine, medical pluralism and international health.

6 points
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) describe the key conceptual and methodological innovations in a contemporary subfield within anthropology/sociology; (2) describe, interpret and compare various interpretations of and major paradigms in medical anthropology across a range of ethnographic settings and over time, and develop a greater awareness of the diversity of medical anthropology in Australia, globally and cross culturally; (3) recognise key theoretical concepts which are common to all anthropological research and apply these to illness and health care settings; (4) understand the personal and social impact of illness experience; (5) gain an anthropological/sociological understanding of the centrality of health to the lives of people everywhere; (6) develop a critical appreciation of the breadth of healing practices across time and space; (7) develop research and writing skills, particularly in view of designing questions, planning essays and applying information technologies to research; and (8) contribute thoughtfully and constructively to group discussion.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a minor essay; (2) a major essay; (3) an in-class examination; and (4) tutorial and workshop participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit rules
any Level 1 Anthropology unit
ANTH2206 Healing, Medicine and Culture
Contact hours
lectures: 20 hrs (over 13 weeks)
tutorials: 1 hr per week (over 10 weeks)
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.