Culture and Health

Culture, Health and Medical Practices in Contemporary China 

Lecturer:Prof. dr. PAN Tianshu (Ph.D Harvard University)

Credits:3 Fudan University credits, 5 ECTS equivalent

This course is an interdisciplinary study of health. Our instructors and guest speakers with different academic backgrounds, medical anthropology, public health and social work, will lead you into a cultural world of health/diseases. We will take a comparative approach to the topics in order for the students to understand not only something strange like Traditional Chinese Medicine but also something familiar like biomedicine and its clinic practices. We will first introduce the key concepts threading through this course such as culture, medicalization, bio power, medical subject and object. Then we will further explore the knowledge and practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the underlying “local biologies.” In the second section, we will look into global health issues and local practices. We are hoping that you can achieve the goal of gaining deeper understanding of biomedicine and medical practices in general from a more social and cultural point of view. We need to understand how illness and suffering are shaped by political economy; how the medical and healing systems (including biomedical one) are considered as social institutions and sources of epistemological authority. Furthermore, it aims the students to grasp the meaning of medical pluralism and globalization. In addition to the lectures, we also encourage the students to take advantages of being in China and explore how local people experience and respond to illness and how they take care of their individual health. 



Lecture 1  Course Overview: 

Lecture 2  Health, Biomedicine, Technology and Culture

Lecture 3  Interpreting Illness:

Lecture 4  Health Care System in China  

Lecture 5  Traditional and Modern Medicine

Lecture 6  Local biologies and embodied meanings 

Lecture 7  Mental Health Issue in China

Lecture 8 Bioethics in China

Lecture 9 Film Review

Lecture 10 Cross-cultural Perspectives on Childbirth and Reproduction

Lecture 11 Right Population

Lecture 12 Death and Organ Transplantation