Medicine and Culture

Subject HPSC40011 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 1, Parkville - 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: One 2 hour Seminar per week
Total Time Commitment: An average of 10 hours per week
Prerequisites: Usually admission to the postgraduate diploma or fourth year honours or a postgraduate coursework program.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: Knowledge gained in 3 year BA or equivalent
Non Allowed Subjects: This subject has been assigned a new code for 2010. Students who have completed 136-528 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website :


Dr James Bradley


Dr James Bradley

Subject Overview: Public health, a discipline in every sense of the word, has been instrumental in transforming society and culture. Medicine and Culture will explore these transformations, from the old world of dirt and disease to the new world of hyper-cleanliness. Central to our exploration of public health will be the role that it has played in reducing morbidity and extending longevity, the subject of considerable debate with relevance to many aspects of contemporary Australia.

Subject matter that we explore in our weekly seminars includes the health transition, the “Great Clean Up” of filthy urban spaces, transformations in notions of disease and risk, regulating bodies in time and space, and the attempt to use public health to reform many areas of public and private life. We conclude the course with a series of case studies that explore the uses of public health interventions in the lives of indigenous people in Australia, and in developing countries across the world.

Students who successfully complete this subject will

  • have a critical understanding of the role of public health policy and intervention in social health outcomes.
  • have an understanding of the role of the state and individual liberty in the history of public health.
  • have an appreciation of the role of culture in public health regimes.
  • have refined skills in historical contextual analysis.
  • have extended skills in inter-disciplinary approaches to socio-historical analysis.
  • have a refined capacity to understand and analyse complex systems over time.
  • have developed skills in historical research.
Assessment: A 1500 word seminar diary 30 per cent (due at the end of semester), a 500 word essay proposal and plan 10 per cent (due mid-semester), a 3000 word research essay 50 per cent (due at the end of semester) and class participation 10 per cent. A hurdle requirement of 80 per cent attendance of seminars required.
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available for purchase from the University Bookshop.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will

  • Comprehend the subtle interplay between science and medicine, and culture and society
  • have developed analytical and communication skills
  • have the ability to conduct independent research, using primary and secondary sources to mount an effective argument.
Related Course(s): M.A.History & Philosophy of Science (Advanced Seminars & Shorter Thesis)
Master of Arts (Science, Communication and Society)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: History and Philosophy of Science
Cultural Studies
History && Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science
Social Theory

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