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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Anthropology

ANTH48515: Advanced Studies in the Anthropology of Health Inequality

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2021/22


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • Apply medical anthropological and interdisciplinary analyses to a range of local, national, and global health inequalities.
  • Unpack the relationship between health inequity, discrimination, structural violence, and political ecology.
  • Critically engage with forms of discrimination that impact on health differentials, such as, race, class, gender, disability, and their intersectionality.
  • Explore the relationship between ethnography and policy development in the field of health inequalities.


  • The module takes an interdisciplinary approach that will include resources from critical medical anthropology, social and cultural anthropology, epidemiology, psychiatry, and history; this course will provide an indepth exploration of the causes and lived experiences of health inequalities. It will encourage students to engage in both the current concepts and debates surrounding health inequalities but will also involve a critical exploration of how health and development policies are constructed and implemented. The course will explore the 'unintended' consequences of particular policies that can either create, exacerbate, or mitigate health inequalities in a range of contexts.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of the module, students will be able to:
  • Apply a range of anthropological and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of health inequality.
  • Understand the impact of discrimination, structural violence and political ecology on ill-health and its presentation among different groups.
  • Gain deeper knowledge of the structural inequalities that impact health.
  • Assess the contribution of ethnography for policy development in the field of health inequality.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To develop a set of applied critical thinking and analytical skills that will enable students to evaluate health policies and develop the skills to recommend some solutions.
Key Skills:
  • Critical analysis of primary and secondary data;
  • Self-reflection on knowledge and skills acquired and developed;
  • Accessing library resources;
  • Undertaking independent study and research;
  • Preparation and effective communication of interpretations and arguments in written form;
  • Analysis and interpretation of visual material.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures will provide students with an outline of key knowledge and debates in the topic area, discuss the literature that students should explore, and provide relevant ethnographic examples and case studies.
  • Seminar discussions will develop topics introduced in lectures and required reading to analyse aspects or case studies in greater depth and prepare students for their summative assignment.
  • Advanced discussion classes will allow students to develop their skills of critical thinking and evaluation, as well as how to synthesise and interrogate material at a level commensurate with postgraduate attainment.
  • Student preparation and reading time will allow engagement with specific references in advance of seminars and general and particular readings related to their assignment.
  • The critical reading log is an annotated bibliography in which the evidence and arguments presented in readings selected by the student and relevant to the development of their summative assessment are evaluated and critiqued. This along with the other summative component should show evidence of a higher level of engagement expected at postgraduate level

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 1 hour 10
Seminars 5 Fortnightly 1 hour 5
Advanced discussion class 1 1 hour 1
Preparation and Reading 134
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2500 words 80%
Critical reading log 1000 words 20%

Formative Assessment:

Typical formatives may include presenting ideas related to your assignment topic in class, or an extended essay plan. Reading log sample.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University