Health in World History (MMHU6913)


This unit of study examines the central importance of narrative to ethics, health and medicine. Students will be introduced to narrative competence for health professionals and will be given tools for developing narrative competence. We will consider a range of ethical issues arising from narrative and literature with respect to health and medicine, including differences between how patients and the public understand what health is and why it is valuable, and how clinicians and health promoters think about this. Students will encounter and analyse a wide range of literary and non-literary narratives concerned with illness, embodiment and healing. Topics or themes covered during the course include: narrative theory (narratology); narrative competence; literary/cultural representations of health practitioners; rhetoric (semiotics) of health; literary/cultural constructions of disability and femininity; narrative ethics; language and embodiment; medico-literary genres; narrating death and dying; and the limits of narrative.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


1x 2 hr seminar weekly or online response to readings


2x 2500 word essay (100%)

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.