Medicine and the Body (L3117)

30 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

This module critically engages with the conceptualisation and treatment of the body in medicine. You’ll explore the ways this shapes the broader politics of the body in the contemporary world.

We draw on concepts from sociological, feminist, queer, postcolonial and post-human theories, as well as nursing and bioethics.

You will engage with debates around:

  • the surveillance and commodification of bodies and body parts
  • the social impact of biomedical innovations such as organ transplantation, surgical interventions and enhancements
  • the ‘hybrid’ or cyborg bodies created by these and by our interactions with drugs and alcohol
  • blame and responsibility for health states including the pressure to be ‘fit’ and the policing of mental health, disability and of sexual practice
  • social responses to vulnerability, and the diseased, distressed and dying body.


100%: Seminar


30%: Coursework (Essay)
70%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: