Personal Illness Narrative due at 11pm, Oct 3.
Anthropology librarian Kalina Grewal scheduled for October 17th
October 31st, no class andAnalytic Review Due Date
Email Christiane Stephens about a Minor in MedicalAnthropology
How to Write anAnalytic Review
•the purpose of the analytic review is to introduce you to the major writing style of the discipline
of anthropology (ethnography) and allow you to critically engage with health-related subject
matter from a medical anthropological perspective
•more than just a synopsis; critical analysis of the contents and an assessment of the effectiveness
of the author in accomplishing the objectives of the book within the context o its disciplinary
value; what makes (or doesn't make) this a good book within the context of medical
•to start, be sure to take note of the key ideas and your thoughts while reading
◦start jotting things down and keep a notepad nearby as you begin reading
◦this collection of thoughts will comprise the first draft of your review
Here are some questions to consider as you develop your review
•are the book's objectives clearly stated?
•is the writing style effective, compelling, clear?
•what are the main issues and are they clearly identified and discussed?
•is the organization of the book logical, i.e. can you follow the argument?
•is the author's argument convincing, why or why not?
•do the conclusions follow logically from the evidence/
•what did you learn from reading the book and what insights did you gain?
•what questions are left unanswered in your opinion?
•what makes this book significant to readers in medical anthropology and/or to readers who
•who is the author's intended audience?
•is the book appropriate for that audience?
•most importantly, think about what you are reading in relation to the concept raised in class and
in your readings?
◦has it helped to expand, consolidate, advance those ideas? In what way/s?
When you are ready to write your review:
•provide a brief summary of the work being reviewed
•support your critique with evidence from the book; end you review w a brief summary of your
•best to address no more than two or three issues/topics or themes
◦it is better to have well-defined arguments supported by external sources than to try and cover
too many points in a less comprehensive (shallow) manner
Technical details •no longer than 5 double-spaced pages in length and should be typed in 12 point Times New
Roman with standard margins and page numbers
•review should contextualize the work in relation to the broader concepts in the course
•Turn-it-in via Moodle, submit as a Word Document
•Also need to complete York's academic integrity tutorial and upload a copy confirming your
completion of the tutorial to Moodle
•citations must be inAAA(AmericanAnthropologyAssociation) i.e. (Stephens 2013:141-143)
"The Biocultural Perspective"
- synergy between biological and cultural processes/phenomena
THE EMERGENCE OFANEW DISCIPLINE
•anthropologists have been documenting and studying people's health, but "medical
anthropology" as it stands today is a fairly recent field
History of MedicalAnthropology
•traces its roots in physical anthropology: evolution, adaptation, comparative anatomy, and racial
◦these were very hot issues, time of discovery
◦physical anthropologists dedicated to how people evolved differently in the different
environments and how they adapted to those environments
◦there were groups of people who were able to adapt and live in places that others weren't
necessarily able to adapt
◦Living in High altitude areas or harsh climates required people adapted biologically and
culturally to those environments
▪Look at their subsistence strategies (diet), shelter/housing, clothing, the ability to generate heat
◦different theories about how we're related to our ancestral primates
◦first physical anthropologists worked in medical schools and were physicians
•what medical anthropologists did was to broaden the definition of the disease process, looking
at external factors (like processes of colonization, migration, warfare)
•started to look at the broader sociopolitical processes
•forensic and preventative medicine were areas that physical anthropologists started to contribute
◦looking at high risk populations and address what makes certain populations vulnerable
◦forensics looking at comparative anatomy, skeletons, etc
•Ethnographic interest in "primitive medicine," including witchcraft and magic
◦a lot of those healing systems that early anthropologists came into contact with had the
supernatural dimension to them
◦Subdivision of ethnomedicine derived from early interest in non-Western medical systems
•Ethnomedicine: those beliefs and practices relating to disease which are the products of
indigenous cultural development and are not explicitly derived from the conceptual framework
of modern medicine
◦also can refer to domestic folk medicines (midwifery, practical use of herbs and other curative
properties) ◦framework for causation and cure are outside the framework of traditional/Western/modern
William Hallan Rivers (1864-1922)
•"Father" of medical anthropology
•Trained as a medical doctor
◦sent out in the world, wilds ofAustralia, document the life ways of these "exotic" indigenous
◦Medicine, Magic, and Religion (1924)
◦Psychology and Ethnology (1926) (both published posthumously)
•first to see that primitive medicines constitute a "social institution"
◦medical practices are integral parts of culture, not irrational practices
◦there was still a racist undertone to his arguments, he still saw these practices as rational in their
•Rivers confines himself to magic and religious world views
•magical belief – based on idea of man's ability to manipulate forces in the universe
•religious belief – the belief in control of events by some supernatural power
•Little attention natural laws:
◦believed that this was more the domain of Western medicine; although many indigenous groups
practiced empirical and curing practices they were dismissed
◦scholars like Rivers saw these practices as being based on / embedded in magic or religious
•Tries to relate beliefs and behaviour to a curative role
◦Sorcerers playing predominate role where magic predominates'
◦priest where religious beliefs
•This is a static model, but left some room for change – idea of a static worldview: changes seen
as coming through diffusion or cultural loss (through isolation)
•Saw culture as a closed system – cultural facts can only be explained by recourse to other
cultural facts, although River was indifferent to biological or environmental factors; behaviour
not treated as adaptive but as product of beliefs tied to worldview
•'Primitive medicine' was seen as a coherent body of practices underpinned by particular ideas
about the causation of disease that are, in turn, shaped by the general worldview of the members
of that society
Clements: Primitive Medicine asAtomized Traits
•Primitive Concepts of Disease (1932)
•Classifies disease causation processes into five categories
◦sorcery, breach of taboo, intrusion by a disease