Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code HLAC701
Coordinator Professor C Kierans
Public Health, Policy & Systems
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2022-23 Level 7 FHEQ First Semester 20

Pre-requisites before taking this module (other modules and/or general educational/academic requirements):


Programme(s) (including Year of Study) to which this module is available on a required basis:


Programme(s) (including Year of Study) to which this module is available on an optional basis:


Additional Programme Information



Critical Medical Humanities aims to provide an introduction to ways of thinking about medicine and health in critical terms. It provides knowledge and stimulates debate around what critical social sciences and humanities can bring to a study of medicine and health. The first session will engage students in thinking about what the Critical Medical Humanities is, through discussion of key texts in the field that have outlined and called for this critical approach. Students will discuss why this sub-field was developed, what it responds to, and the range of different understandings of what the critical medical humanities are. The module then progresses as a research-led model of engagement drawing together staff expertise and specialisms from Anthropology, Classics, Environmental Sciences, Geography, History, Politics, Public Health and Sociology to explore the range of theoretical and methodological approaches within the critical medical humanities. This will include (though is not l imited to), biopolitics, necropolitics and biosociality in the governance and politicisation of the body; the dynamic interplay of the state, the market and the sick body in healthcare; and the forms of exploitation, violence and ethical questions this can produce in the management of pain, and in clinical practices. Focussing on the body-in-context in order to explore these cross-cultural issues, these questions will be further explored through case studies of staff research on, for example, slavery, public health, war, drug addiction, assisted reproduction and organ transplantation, in a range of geographical locations. Theoretical approaches will include, for example, STS, feminist, poststructural, postcolonial, critical race, queer and disability theory. The assessment approach in this module then encourages students to take these approaches exemplified in relation to staff research and draw on them as a lens on matters of interest to the student.
The critical stance of the m odule permeates the MA as a whole. Critical Medical Humanities directly follows the foundational module in semester one, Researching Health, Cultures and Societies, for that reason.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Analyse, interpret and compare with competence and independence a wide variety of texts in the broad field critical medical humanities

(LO2) Demonstrate an advanced knowledge and systematic understanding of the field of critical medical humanities

(LO3) Critically appreciate the position of critical medical humanities within the broader field of medical/health humanities

(LO4) Demonstrate critical awareness of current and new debates, concepts and theories within the field of critical medical humanities, including knowledge of work outside the academy

(LO5) Integrate public-facing and professional/collaborative learning (and where possible co-production) with research-informed critical inquiry.

(LO6) Practically apply a comprehensive understanding of techniques for accessing electronic and bibliographic sources

(LO7) Use scholarly referencing and bibliographic conventions appropriate for advanced scholarship

(LO8) Critically evaluate different research methodologies and select appropriate methodologies

(LO9) Negotiate complex issues both systematically and creatively in order to generate new and independent research

(S1) Critically evaluate current debates and new insights within the field of critical medical humanities, from a range of disciplines and perspectives, including those from outside the academy

(S2) Analyse diverse forms of discourse and negotiate complex information and argument in a critical, creative and self-reflective manner

(S3) Present sustained and persuasive written and oral arguments

(S4) Autonomously design and self-direct a research-informed project that brings together a range of approaches

(S5) Apply a variety of theoretical and practical approaches to critical medical humanities issues

(S6) Retrieve information, assemble bibliographic data, and critically evaluate, sift and organize material independently

(S7) Use IT and other relevant tools and resources to present written and oral work to a professional, scholarly standard

(S8) Select and use electronic and/or archival resources for planning and undertaking research and writing

(S9) Demonstrate organisational skills in managing time and workloads, and in meeting deadlines

Teaching and Learning Strategies

The majority of teaching will be delivered face-to-face on campus. Online delivery will be used to complement the on-campus delivery and where technology affords a better learning experience.

Teaching on this module is undertaken through 2-hour seminars which will take place fortnightly, or 4-hour workshops. The emphasis will be on participatory learning in small and whole group critical reflection and discussion of salient issues arising from designated reading material.

The majority of all students’ learning time on this module is in self-directed study and independent research. This will include reading widely in the fields relevant to this subject area, researching appropriate resources in this field of study, acquainting themselves with relevant theoretical approaches to critical medical humanities and developing individual research ideas. In addition to individual discussion with tutors in office hours, independent study will be supported by a (non-credit-be aring) dedicated module wiki within the VLE, where students will be encouraged to explore issues and learning arising from taught sessions. Further support will be provided in a bank of online resources, complied from items added by tutors which have relevance to individual sessions.

Attendance at seminars will be recorded in line with HLC policy on attendance.
The majority of teaching will be delivered face-to-face on campus. Online delivery will be used to complement the on-campus delivery and where technology affords a better learning experience.



The module syllabus will cover a range of themes, concepts and research methods within the broad field of critical medical humanities by incorporating a variety of anthropological, environmental, historical, medical, and sociological texts together with current evidence and examples.

Library resources will be available through the module reading lists and the VLE.

Students are expected to read the specified primary and secondary texts for each seminar, and to undertake further independent study as appropriate, both in preparation for seminars and for the assessment.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours   12


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 187


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Plan or draft of extended piece of writing. Scoping of topic area and form/genre, with option to provide abstract, introduction or other sample. Standard UoL penalties will apply.         
Standard UoL penalties will apply There will be a resit opportunity This cannot be marked anonymously  10    30       
Standard UoL penalties will apply There is a resit opportunity This will be marked anonymously    70       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.