Medicine, Biology and Culture

Subject 136-528 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available

Usually admission to the postgraduate diploma or fourth-year honours or a postgraduate coursework program.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr. James Bradley
Subject Overview:

Over the ages, people have deployed various methods-metaphysical, magical or the pure empirical-to combat the ravages of disease. Bloodletting, cupping, leaching, doses of highly poisonous chemicals, blisters, copious draughts of mineral water, hypnotism and much more besides, have been used to intervene in the course of disease. But what was the relationship between different models of the body and its ailments, and the therapeutic methods that medical practitioners have used to combat illness? "Medicine, Biology and Culture" will take a "therapeutic perspective" to answer this question. Our focus will be upon four different themes: plural medicines (the historical understanding of disease and the cure of the body in non-Western cultures); the rise of bio-medical models of disease and subsequent transformations in therapy; the uneasy relationship between alternative (heterodox) and orthodox medicine; and a case study of Public Health, a specialism founded upon the notion that disease could be prevented by the manipulation of the physical environment.


A 1500-word seminar diary 30% (due at the end of semester), a 500-word essay proposal and plan 10% (due mid-semester), a 3000-word research essay 50% (due at the end of semester) and class participation 10%. A hurdle requirement of 80 per cent attendance of seminars required.

Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts:

Information Not Available

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • comprehension of the subtle interplay between science and medicine, and culture and society
  • development of analytical and communication skills;
  • ability to conduct independent research, using primary and secondary source to mount an effective argument;

Formerly available as 136-451 and 136-069. Students who have completed 136-451 or 136-069 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Social Health
Graduate Diploma in Social Health (Health Care History)
Graduate Diploma in Social Health (Medical Anthropology)
M.A.History & Philosophy of Science (Advanced Seminars & Shorter Thesis)
Master of Arts (International Studies)(Adv. Seminars and Shorter Thesis)
Master of Arts (Science, Communication and Society)
Master of Development Studies (Gender & Development)
Master of Public Health
Master of Social Health (Aboriginal Health)
Master of Social Health (Health Ethics)
Master of Social Health (Health Policy)
Master of Social Health (Interdisciplinary)
Master of Social Health (Medical Anthropology)
Postgraduate Certificate in Arts (Cultural Studies)
Postgraduate Certificate in Arts (History and Philosophy of Science)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Cultural Studies)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (History & Philosophy of Science)

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