Body, Mind and Medicine: A Dissection

Subject UNIB20013 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2x 1-hour lectures each week for 12 weeks and and 1x 1-hour tutorial for 10 weeks
Total Time Commitment:

An average of 9 hours each week.





Recommended Background Knowledge:

UNIB10003 is recommended but not required.

Non Allowed Subjects:


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:

Subject Overview:

This interdisciplinary subject will explore three different ways of knowing the body and mind in sickness and in health, and how those ways of knowing translate into ways of doing. Starting from the perspective of the present day, the biomedical, bio-psychosocial and plural models will be explored through a dialogue between the past and the present, the historian, the scientist and the practitioner. It will provide a broad survey of the history of medicine from Ancient Greece to the post-industrial present, as well as a grounded knowledge of contemporary medical culture and organisation. Particular emphasis will be placed upon the spaces and places of medical practice: the institutions and organisation where sick bodies and unsound minds have been treated. From the home to the hospital, from the asylum to the courtroom, from the operating theatre to the birthing room, this subject will explore historical and contemporary medicine from the perspective of the professionals and the patients who have inhabited these places. It will also immerse students in the materiality of medicine through the use of the university's collections in the Harry Brookes Allen Anatomy and Pathology Museum and the Medical History Museum, as well the world-class collections of historical patient records that are publicly accessible in Melbourne.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete this subject will possess:

  • The ability to contextualise different ways of knowing the body and mind in sickness and health across the disciplines of Medicine and Surgery (esp. Anatomy, Psychiatry), Historical Studies, History and Philosophy of Science and the Social Sciences
  • The ability to form an opinion about critical issues relating to treating bodies and minds in sickness and in health
  • the ability to extend learning beyond subject materials, enhancing independent research skills, and thus gaining valuable tools for life-learning, and
  • knowledge and experience that address all aspects of the University‚Äôs graduate attributes: academic excellence, knowledge across disciplines, leadership in communities, attuned to cultural diversity, and active global citizenship

Ten journal entries total of 1600 words, 40% (due weekly from week 3 to week 11), a collaborative exercise 800 words, 20% (due at the end of the teaching period) and a review essay 1600 words, 40% (due during the examination period).

Hurdle Requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to pass this subject. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. After 5 working days late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Subject readings will be available online.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

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

  • Critical and Analytical
  • Attitude, drive and commitment (active engagement with the subject, timely submission of assessments, and regular attendance and participation in the tutorials)
  • Communication (oral skills developed in classroom and written skills through assessment)
  • Teamwork (collaboration)
  • Social and cultural alignment of values (a deep understand of the power and importance of medical ideas and institutions, both historically and in the contemporary world)

Links to further information:

This subject together with UNIB10003 (Ecological History of Humanity) and UNIB30005 (Living Longer, a global diagnosis) form a recommended medical humanities stream for Medical students.

Download PDF version.