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This course offers an introduction to medical anthropology. If sickness and suffering are universal aspects of the human condition, it is also true that disease and illness are always experienced within historically specific sociocultural frameworks. Putting sickness into social context, in this course we tarry with the proposition that disease is never just about biology. Rather, we view health and illness as produced by and within hybrid and dynamic 'biosocial' milieux, melding the somatic and the semiotic, culture and corporeality, body and mind. In exploring sickness across societies with an eclectic aetiology of this sort, medical anthropology takes seriously diverse ways of knowing and treating disorder, sometimes questioning (and sometimes supporting) the magisterial social position of Western biomedicine. This course thus explores mysteries and meanings of affliction and convalescence as occasions for considering some of anthropology's most enduring conceptual quandaries, tackling head-on questions such as: the epistemological status and ritual efficacy of both “faith” and “science,” colonialism and cultural confrontation, embodiment and the social construction of the body, medical power and (global) social inequality, the politics of reproduction and gender inequality, modernity and political economies of hope.