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Unit information: Population Health and Development in 2020/21

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Unit name Population Health and Development
Unit code ARCH30035
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Gibson
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This seminar-based course brings together the most current issues in health, population and society. A unique feature of the course is that it combines both social and biological anthropological approaches to the study of health and well-being across the world. The course is substantive in content, and examines both the causes and consequences of global and individual variation in population, fertility, mortality, health and migration.

Employing a biosocial approach the unit addresses the following questions:

  • How can we explain variation in global trends in population and health?
  • What are the emerging population and health issues for the 21st Century?
  • Where do the greatest inequalities in population and health lie?
  • What are the major social, economic and policy implications?
  • How can a biosocial anthropological perspective inform policy?


  • To identify both the underlying causes, and the long-term consequences, of emerging population and health issues across the world.
  • To develop critical skills in the interpretation of qualitative and quantitative health and demographic data.
  • To provide a basic grounding for future applied anthropological research informed by biological and social scientific approaches.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1) Explain (with case studies) and critically evaluate different perspectives in debates in population and health.

2) Identify, extract, and use qualitative and quantitative data from a range of academic and development sources.

3) Write and orally present a report that integrates social, biological and demographic data.

4) Discuss how an integrated bio-social anthropology can help policy-makers identify the main priorities for quality of life improvements across the globe.

Teaching details

Weekly lectures/ seminars, including two half day student presentation sessions.

Assessment Details


10 minute oral presentation, ILOs 1-4


Report, 3500 words (70%), ILOs 1-4

Open book exam, 1000 words (30%), ILOs 1,4

Reading and References

UNICEF (Annual) The State of the World's Children

World Bank (Annual) World development report

Demographic and Health Survey website

Population Reference Bureau website and factsheets

Sachs, J.D. (2015) The Age of Sustainable Development. New York: Columbia Press

Hahn, R.A. and Inhorn, M.C. (2008) Anthropology and Public Health: Bridging Differences in Culture and Society. Oxford: OUP.

Mosse D. (2013) The anthropology of international development. Annu Rev Anthropol, 42: 227-246.