Intersections of Anthropology and Bioethics
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Level: Graduate
Division: The New School for Social Research
Department: Anthropology
Course Number: GANT 6340
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Anthropology
  • Psychology
  • Social Sciences
This course is intended to introduce students to bioethics and the many ethical issues that arise in the rapidly changing fields of biomedicine and the life sciences. The course will begin with an overview of the philosophical underpinnings and principles of bioethics. Bioethics is often concerned with normative issues (i.e. what we ought to do) and has been primarily focused on Western medical controversies. This normative philosophical approach may seem hard to reconcile with distinct anthropological methods and approaches (such as ethnography), and we will explore this throughout the course. We will spend the remainder of the course focusing on recent biomedical topics that have engendered much public controversy including end of life decision making, physician assisted suicide, reproductive technologies and prenatal screening, abortion, diagnostic genetics, and the developing world using ethnographic case studies to help illustrate and work through these principles. Bioethics is by its nature interdisciplinary and includes methodologies and readings from history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, the life sciences and many more disciplines. You should come to this class prepared to think critically, articulate your views, and understand the potential opposing arguments. Your participation and engagement with the material is essential. Come prepared to keep your eye on high profile issues arising in the media. For MA students of the NSSR anthropology department, this seminar fulfills the requirements of a Practices course.
Course Open to: Degree Students with Restrictions


Not open to Undergraduate students.