Cultures, Minds and Medicines


The Cultures, Minds and Medicines certificate provides students opportunities to learn about the inter-connections of social formations, culture and experience and their implications for clinical and anthropological research. Medical anthropologists distinguish disease (an organic process in the body) from illness (the lived experience of disease). Illness is shaped by the way disease is identified, diagnosed and treated; by which symptoms are meaningful in a particular setting and by the kind of suffering that motivates care; by medical culture, clinical practice, the consequences of disability and the legal right to care; by the distribution of wealth and poverty; by both the intimate and the broad social world. 

The certificate program provides students an introduction to the interdisciplinary context needed to grasp the complexity of the illness experience. Students begin to understand this complexity through attending the biweekly workshops in Cultures, Minds and Medicines over the course of a year, and through taking at least one relevant course outside of their degree-granting program, as approved by the faculty certificate committee. In most cases, non-anthropologists should enroll in a graduate level anthropology course, and anthropologists should enroll in a course in medicine, psychology or some other discipline. This work outside the student’s degree-granting program will facilitate interdisciplinary understanding and foster dialogue between the social and life sciences and the humanities.  

Main Workshop:
The Cultures, Minds and Medicines workshop involves speakers from Medical Anthropology, Cultural Psychology, and Medicine. We have been meeting since the beginning of the winter quarter. Attendance is usually 25-40 people, and includes students from medicine, anthropology, psychology and a range of other fields. It is a truly eye-opening experience for the students to listen to each other speak, because people come from such different perspectives.  

Angela Garcia (Anthropology)
Lochlann Jain (Anthropology)
Matthew Kohrman (Anthropology)
Tanya Luhrmann (Anthropology), program chair
Hazel Markus (Psychology)
Audrey Shafer (Anesthesia, Bioethics)


If you have questions or want to learn more about the program, please contact