Culture, Health, Illness and Medicine (MIPH5116)


This unit aims to provide an integrated and interpretive approach to an understanding of health-related behaviours of populations in international settings, by synthesizing anthropological knowledge and methodology, and the interactions of culture, biology, psychology and environment. The teaching process is by student-led, lecturer-guided, discussion based review and critical analysis of relevant topics. During the unit, students will explore a range of issues in global and multicultural health from an anthropological perspective. Methodological approaches will encompass ethnography and other anthropological data collection methods. The issues covered will include cultural influences on health, illness and healing, such as indigenous and traditional beliefs and systems, gender and cultural change and the impact of modernization and development on illness and healing. The impact examines disease and illness patterns - their distribution and persistence, mental illness and culture and attitudes towards the use of medications; and the provision of culturally sensitive and appropriate services. The emphasis will be on covering a range of topic areas relevant to the students enrolled, and those of particular importance in contemporary international and multicultural health contexts.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


1 x 2 day workshop; 1 x 2hr seminar per week for 7 weeks; also offered fully online.


1x3000 word essay (65%) and 1x1hr class facilitation (25%), class participation 10%.


Readings are available on the unit's eLearning site.

Faculty/department permission required?


Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.