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ANT2002 Anthropology of Illness and Health

Semester 1, 2012 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities and Communication
Version produced : 30 December 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Lara Lamb
Moderator: Bryce Barker


Pre-requisite: ANT1001

Other requisites

Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course.


Unquestionably a basic concern of all humankind is its own health. The maintenance of wellness and the prevention of illness is crucial for individuals as well as for society as a whole. There is a continuing public debate and interest about health, and governments are increasingly involved as health becomes a major economic and political issue. As parents of the next generation and future leaders of the community, it is important that students be well informed, and provided with knowledge which will help them to place health issues in a broad human perspective. This is particularly the case given the unprecedented environmental demographic, social and political changes occurring both in the developed and developing world, and realizing the impact that such changes must have on health status and health care.


This course provides an overview of a wide range of factors which collectively determine individual and community health status. The perspective taken is predominantly biocultural focusing on human adaptations and human development and providing a cross- cultural and comparative framework for considering the health of our species as a whole. Most of the material discussed comes from the field of Human Biology and Medical Anthropology.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of a number of perspectives on health, covering a wide range of factors, biological, cultural, and environmental which collectively affect and determine the health status of individuals, and the health characteristics of human communities;
  2. demonstrate an awareness of the wide range of: (a) beliefs about health and disease; and (b) approaches to health maintenance and healing as exemplified in a number of cultures, past and present, western and non-western;
  3. demonstrate familiarity with modern western medical models, their institutions and practices as found in contemporary industrial urban society in general, and Australia in particular.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction (1 wk) 14.20
2. Methods (1 wk) 14.20
3. Ethics (1 wk) 14.20
4. Biocultural Approaches (3 wks) 14.20
5. Cultural Approaches (3 wks) 14.20
6. Applying Medical Anthropology (3 wks) 14.80
7. Conclusions (1wk) 14.20

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Brown, PJ, Barrett, R (eds) 2010, Understanding and applying medical anthropology, 2nd edn, Mayfield Publishing Co, Mountain View.
  • Joralemon, D 2010, Exploring medical anthropology, Allyn & Bacon, Boston.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Alland, A 1970, Adaptation in Cultural Evolution, Columbia University Press, New York.
  • Anderson, R T 1996, Magic, Science and Health, Harcourt Brace, Fort Worth.
  • Auge, M & Herzlich, C (eds) 1995, The Meaning of Illness, Harwood Academic Publisher, Philadelphia.
  • Baer, H A, Singer, M & Susser, I 1997, Medical Anthropology and the World System, Bergin & Garvey, Westport.
  • Bates, D (ed) 1995, Knowledge and the Scholarly Medical Traditions, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Examinations 3.00
Private Study 167.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
MAJOR ESSAY (2500-3000 WDS) 40 40 14 May 2012
EXAMINATION - 2 HOURS 30 30 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. Students will be advised of the official exam date after timetable has been finalised

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students? responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    Candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into the Closed examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Students may be assigned an "Incomplete" grade to signify that all the requirements of the course have not yet been met. Students who are graded "I" can pass the course by successfully completing such additional work as prescribed by the examiner by a given date. Students who have been awarded an IM, ISM, IDM or IDB grade must access information regarding further work to be completed, in the Student Centre of U Connect. The Grades Page in the Student Centre contains information about further work to be completed. Students who have not completed the additional work to the satisfaction of the examiner by the given date will receive the appropriate Failing grade.

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.