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Timetable

Michaelmas Term
Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine Core
Stephen John

Monday 10am (weeks 2-5)

HPS Seminar Room 1

Medical Sociology Core
Darin Weinberg
Monday 2pm (weeks 2-5) 17 Mill Lane, Room B weeks 2-4; Room G week 5
History of Medicine Core
Nick Hopwood

Tuesday 3pm (weeks 2-5)

Mill Lane Lecture Room 11

Medical Anthropology Core
Kelly Fagan Robinson

Thursday 10am (weeks 2-5)

Mill Lane Lecture Room 6

Lent Term
PEM: Non-epistemic values in biomedical research
Stephen John, Tim Lewens
Monday 10am (weeks 1-4) Mill Lane Lecture Room 11
MS: Reproduction, technology and society
Sarah Franklin, Robert Pralat, Marcin Smietana, Lucy van de Wiel
Tuesday 10am (weeks 1-4) 17 Mill Lane, Room B
HoM: Reproduction
Salim al-Gailani, Rebecca Flemming, Nick Hopwood
Tuesday 3pm (weeks 1-4) Mill Lane Lecture Room 11
MA: Anthropologies of Cancer
Ignacia Arteaga

Thursday 3pm (weeks 1-4)

Mill Lane Lecture Room 6 (weeks 1-3); Room 11 (week 4)

MS: The political economy of biomedical innovation
Adam Bostanci, Olga Löblová
Tuesday 10am (weeks 5-8) 17 Mill Lane, Room B
HoM: Public and environmental health
Mary Brazelton
Tuesday 3pm (weeks 5-8) Mill Lane Lecture Room 10
PEM: Philosophy of psychiatry
Jacob Stegenga
Wednesday 10am (weeks 5-8) Mill Lane Lecture Room 10
MA: 'Non-Normal': Bodies, (Dis)Abilities, Epistemologies
Kelly Fagan Robinson

Thursday 10am (weeks 5-8)

Mill Lane Lecture Room 2

Module outlines

History of Medicine Core
Nick Hopwood

The course provides an advanced introduction to history of medicine by exploring some of the most interesting writing on the kinds of medicine practised in domestic sick rooms, on hospital wards and in laboratories. We shall assess the usefulness of the categories ‘bedside medicine’, ‘hospital medicine’, ‘experimental medicine’ and ‘biomedicine’ for understanding change and continuity between early modernity and the present day. One major theme will be the ways in which the social relations of medical encounters shaped knowledge of disease and the experience of illness. The other will be how ways of knowing and working in medicine have interacted and changed.

Medical Anthropology Core
Kelly Fagan Robinson

This course aims to offer a challenging introductory foundation to anthropology in the context of medicine and health. Over the course of term it will support student understanding of key anthropological questions, approaches, and challenges, as well as the role anthropologists may play in global health events. It will move through anthropological theory and practice using theory alongside ethnographic texts and films, exploring the ways that context and positionality (of the researchers, the participants, the author(s) and other stakeholders) impact upon key narratives.  

Themes will include: bodies living & dead; institutional quantification of health; epidemics; pain.

Medical Sociology Core: Sociology of health and illness
Darin Weinberg

The module on the sociology of health and illness is comprised of four seminars. It is designed to thoroughly acquaint students with the profoundly social nature of human health, illness, and disease. On a more pragmatic level, it is meant to facilitate a solid grasp of the most fundamental debates in the field, and to inspire, encourage, and prepare students to contribute to these debates. Toward this end, we will consider several facets of the relationship between human society and human health and illness. Major themes will include: concepts of health and illness in comparative historical and cross cultural perspective; the therapeutic arts and sciences in comparative historical and cross cultural perspective; doctors, patients and biomedicine’s competitors; the political economy of health and illness; the relationship between social marginality and mental pathology.

Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine Core
Stephen John

This core module will introduce students to philosophical perspectives on health, medicine and society. The main focus will be on medical ethics and the political philosophy of health. However, reflecting the interests of many members of the HPS Department, we will also consider how these topics relates to epistemological, conceptual and metaphysical issues in the philosophy of medicine. (Note that the optional modules discuss some of these issues in more detail).

History of Medicine: Reproduction
Salim al-Gailani, Rebecca Flemming, Nick Hopwood

From contraception to cloning and from pregnancy to populations, reproduction presents urgent challenges today. This module introduces the history of reproduction from the middle ages to the present. It takes a long view, asking how modern ‘reproduction’ – an abstract process of perpetuating living organisms – replaced the old ‘generation’ – the active making of humans and beasts, plants and even minerals. It also takes a broad view, from individual decisions about having or not having children to global policies, and from medicine to animal breeding. It provides resources for understanding how our world of reproductive practice and controversy was made.

History of Medicine: Public and environmental health
Mary Brazelton

This module will introduce students to the histories and historiographies of public and environmental health, with a focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Modern processes of industrialization, urbanization, and migration have shaped the health of peoples and environments around the world. After an orientation to the history of public health, we will examine these trends in the realms of environmental health, global health, and nutrition. Key themes include issues of risk to bodies, places, and populations; changing roles of expertise; and the authority of the state.

Medical Anthropology: Anthropologies of Cancer
Ignacia Arteaga

Cancer is more than just a cluster of diseases. Beyond patho-physiological variations, it has been mobilised by experts and lay people to make sense of a wide variety of phenomena. In this option, we will discuss the politics, practices and experiences that make up cancer as they emerge at the meeting points between clinical research, biomedical treatments, and local understandings of disease and illness.

Medical Anthropology: 'Non-Normal' - Bodies, (Dis)Abilities, Epistemologies’
Kelly Fagan Robinson

Sensation, we are told, is “the most confused notion there is… for having accepted it, classical analyses have missed the phenomenon of perception” (Merleau-Ponty 2012:25). Despite this, ‘sense’ as it is typically described in academic Euro-American texts is often unquestioned. Anthropological engagement in sense and the body, as Scheper-Hughes & Lock famously argued, can be seen as invisibly but normatively contrived, symptomatic of the culture in which they are analysed rather than in the body-subject itself. The emphasis of this seminar is to contend with social and physiological interventions in the body – particularly ‘disabled’ bodies which are adjusted (or not) to be more ‘normal’. We will examine alternative perceptions of body, sensing, being-in-the-world, and privilege to re-define what ‘normal’ is and what it does in/for anthropological praxis.

Medical Sociology: Reproduction, technology and society
Sarah Franklin, Robert Pralat, Marcin Smietana, Lucy van de Wiel

Reproductive technologies such as IVF, egg freezing, surrogacy and gamete donation are often associated with new forms of parenting and fertility. However, these technologies are linked to more general shifts in our relationships to technology, biology, law, policy and ethics. The forms of social change related to the rapid routinisation of assisted reproduction are now the subject of a substantial and expanding sociological literature that is explored in this module using case studies that introduce key concepts, theories and methods.

Medical Sociology: The political economy of biomedical innovation
Adam Bostanci, Olga Löblová

This module enables students to understand social science perspectives on the contemporary bioeconomy. It will explore how the biomedical research enterprise is being reshaped by governments and corporations as they search for competitive advantage in an increasingly global bioeconomy. The module is interdisciplinary drawing inter alia on science and technology studies, socio-legal studies and political economy. Topics covered will include: the emergence of the idea of a knowledge-based economy, and its function as part of the neoliberal state project (the shift from government to governance); the concept of promissory science and the promotion of biotechnology as a ‘frontier technology’; intersection between public policy and commercial strategy, and the changing relationships between governments, corporations and academic scientists; the role of regulation as a both a response to and a shaper of biotechnologies; the importance of intellectual property rights in the bioeconomy, the legalisation of patents on novel life-based technologies and the globalisation of the IP regime favoured by Western pharmaceutical companies through the TRIPS agreement.

Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine: Non-epistemic values in biomedical research
Tim Lewens, Stephen John

There are very many ways in which ethical, social, political and cultural values shape biomedical research. In these sessions, we analyse two key topics arising from the "value-ladenness" of bio-medical research: first, whether and when it undermines claims to objectivity and knowledge; second, how it does and should affect the communication, reception and uses of biomedical research, both by individuals and private and public corporate actors. In addressing the first set of topics, we address some key debates in recent philosophy of science over the viability of the "Value Free Ideal". In addressing the second, we investigate the philosophical bases for various proposals for reforming research structure.

Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine: Philosophy of Psychiatry
Jacob Stegenga

This module will introduce students to some of the fundamental philosophical debates in psychiatry. A running theme will be the nature of psychiatric diseases. What should be the basis of psychiatric nosology? How should we evaluate controversial diseases, such as culture-bound syndromes, addiction, or even many instances of depression? Are these just a result of ‘medicalisation’? How should we conceive of the nature of delusions? Are delusions just like any poorly warranted empirical beliefs, or is there something distinctive about delusions?