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Materialities in Practice

Winter Programma

The Medical Anthropology and Sociology winter school course takes place annually in January. These short, intensive courses are designed to offer participants both an overview of and insight into the state of the art of medical anthropological research in essential themes in health care.

Source: Henk Strikkers

The courses are open to:

  • Health and health-related professionals
  • PhD students in health or social sciences
  • Master’s students in health or social sciences

The courses are taught in English. Participants will be exposed to the latest thinking in medical anthropology and will be stimulated to discuss and exchange ideas. This winter school is part of the Master’s programme in Medical Anthropology and Sociology offered by the Graduate School of Social Sciences, University of Amsterdam. 


Prof. Dr. Jeannette Pols & Dr. Alana Helberg-Proctor

Course objectives

After this course participants should be able to:

  • recognise various ways in which social/material, culture/nature, scientific/lay divisions tend to be made in academia and beyond;
  • not take the results of (biomedical) research for granted, but instead investigate the contexts from which it emerges and explore the political consequences;
  • discern normative issues in empirical situations and their materiality;
  • differentiate between the effectiveness and the effects of technologies;
  • explore racialized and intersectional inequality and bias in technology, research, and academia
  •  discuss the pros and cons of the methods of holism (adding aspects of reality
  •  together) and contrasting (situating, specifying and differentiating between versions of reality).


From the bodies of humans via the flesh of apples and oranges, through to bacteria; from sewage systems via needles through to wheelchairs, or to the built environment; and so on: a lot of stuff is relevant to health and disease. Did I say health apps? Caring for self and others is as physical as it is emotional. Whether in the high tech practices of modern hospitals or the mundane practices of sleeping, eating and working: materialities are everywhere. How to analyse them? How to account for them in anthropological studies; in sociological analyses? How to not take what natural and medical sciences have to say about materialities for granted, but situate it in their socially embedded knowledge practices? These are the questions that in this course we will address.

Course code





Tuesday January 9th 2024 10:00 - 16:30
Thursday January 11th 2024 10:00 - 16:30
Monday January 15th 2024 10:00 - 16:30
Wednesday January 17th 2024 10:00 - 16:30
Friday January 19th 2024 10:00 - 16:30


UvA Master of Medical Anthropology and Sociology students take the course for 3 EC as part of their curriculum. VU Master Global Health students take the course for 6 EC as part of their electives. All other participants take the course for 3 EC.  

  •  3 EC course: attendance, readings and small assignment
  •  6 EC course: attendance, readings, and a more substantial paper

Tuition fee

Students enrolled in a full time Master’s programme at a Dutch university are legally exempt from paying extra tuition.

PhDs at a Dutch university:

  • 3 EC course = € 820,-

Professionals and PhDs and students from a non-Dutch university:

  • 3 EC course = € 1525,-

Lunch is not included.

Invoices can be paid by employers, research institutes or individuals.


The winter schools have a limited capacity. Applications can be sent in from 1 October 2023. Students of the Medical Anthropology and Sociology Master programme are guaranteed a spot in one of the courses. You will be informed about the admission decision by 1 December 2023 latest. Applicants will send in a CV and motivation letter upon registration. Entry requirements for the winter courses are:

  • having a Bachelor’s degree or higher from a university or University of Applied Sciences related to health or social science, or the equivalent thereof
  • and/or a minimum of 2 years of relevant working experience.
  • or being a PhD candidate

Are you an international participant? Please note that housing/hotel and visa arrangements need to be made individually and are not included in the tuition fees. In case you need a visa, please start procedures as soon as possible.

Register now
Only 29 days left!

Application deadline

1 November 2023

More information

For more information contact the study advisor via 

Facts & Figures
Contract teaching
3-6 ECTS, 2 weeks
Language of instruction
Starts in