Medical Anthropology as one of the Leading Disciplines of the University of California, Berkeley (Overview of Educational Programs) (summary)

© 2011 E.S. Piterskaya

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Key words: social anthropology, medical anthropology, bioethics, University of California (Berkeley), university education in the USA, anthropology of consciousness, evolutionary medicine, anthropology of death, biopolitics, biomedicine, theory of anthropology

Abstract: This overview opens up a series of publications in which we are planning to look in detail at various American, Canadian, European educational programs devoted to Medical anthropology and Bioethics. To get an overarching image we want first to explore educational activities of the recognised leaders in this field, such as anthropology department at the University of California (Berkeley).

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This review is the first one in the series of publications where we plan to look at and discuss peculiarities of various educational programs on «Medical Anthropology» and «Bioethics» in the university curricula in USA, Canada and Europe.

The focus of this review is the University of California, Berkley – one of the leading in the field. Today the Department of Anthropology at the UCB suggests two PhD programs – one in Anthropology (including archaeology, biological anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology) and in Medical Anthropology (in cooperation with the University of California, San Francisco). Special focus of the PhD program and inclusion of “Medical Anthropology” course into the basic undergraduate curriculum speaks to the great importance of this scientific direction for the UCB and testifies to the advanced nature of research and the teaching activities of the faculty. Today UCB defines the concepts and approaches to research in Medical Anthropology on a global level.

The joint UCB/UCSF Ph.D. program in Medical Anthropology is one of the pioneering programs in the discipline, both nationally and globally. Topics of active research include: violence and trauma; genomics and ethics; transplantation and organ and tissue commodification; psychiatry, ethnopsychiatry, and psychoanalysis; hunger, infectious disease, development, and governmentality; traditional medicine and its modernity; sexuality, gender, and the commodity form; death, dying, and the politics of “bare life”, etc.

In this paper the author describes programs and courses required for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in Medical Anthropology which include both general theory and method (Introduction to Medical Anthropology, Archaeology of Health and Disease) as well as special topics (The Anthropology of Death – The Beginning and the End of Things, Anthropology, Bio-Technologies, Global Values, and Medical Ethics). The author has also reviewed the requirements one has to fulfill that lead to the degree.

Much attention is also given to the faculty members of the Critical Studies in Medicine, Science and the Body research group and their projects.

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