Anthropology for a World in Crisis - ANTS5970

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 6 15 (7.5) Matthew Hodges checkmark-circle


The module is of core relevance for students of anthropology, and a wide range of related disciplines preoccupied with the role of anthropologically-informed thought and cultural literacy in today's transnational and multicultural globe. It explores the relationship between social between social anthropology and the Contemporary World, and a series of themes that explore how anthropologists engage with the pressing political, social and environmental concerns and crises of their day. Through examination of 'hot topics' in the discipline, key debates in public anthropology, and anthropological and ethnographic theory, the module clarifies the relevance of anthropology for the world beyond the university, and educates you in how to adapt anthropological knowledge and skills to analysis of real world issues. It also advances core disciplinary understanding relevant to social anthropological modules in stages 2 and 3. Throughout, key objectives are to support you in developing and consolidating your understanding of contemporary anthropology and your own assessment of the wider utility of the social sciences, and to provide essential critical tools for understanding the changing world around us.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


Compulsory to:
BSc Anthropology (including cognate courses)
BA Social Anthropology (including cognate courses)

Available as an elective module
Running last time 2024/25.

Method of assessment

Critical review (2500 words) 50%
Essay (2500 words) 50%

Indicative reading

The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages (

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module you will be able to:
1. be conversant in the main theoretical schools to have affected social anthropology
2. have cultivated an in-depth understanding of the historical depth of theoretical debates in social anthropology, as well as the way in which these debates have been taken up differently in the different national schools of thought
3. understand how social anthropologists apply the theories of their day to the ways in which they conduct ethnographic research in different parts of the world, and use comparative/historical analysis in their ethnographic writing.
4. analyse theoretical positions critically, locate them in the appropriate intellectual schools of thought from which they originate, and assess how well they make sense of ethnographic data
5. analyse and communicate your understanding of anthropological texts
6. construct coherent and logical arguments that combine theoretical writings with the discussion of ethnographic data.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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