Anthropology for a World in Crisis - SACO8830

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Autumn Term 7 15 (7.5) Matthew Hodges checkmark-circle


The module is of relevance for postgraduate students of social anthropology, and related disciplines preoccupied with the role of critical, anthropologically-informed thought in a world in crisis. It addresses a series of themes that explore how anthropologists throughout the history of the discipline have engaged with the pressing political, social and environmental concerns and crises of their day. The module aims to support postgraduate students in making connections between theoretical issues and ethnography, as they recur in the practices and debates of social anthropologists. It also explores the relevance of anthropology for the Contemporary world beyond the university, and educates students in how to adapt anthropological knowledge and skills to analysis of real world issues. A key objective is to support students in developing and consolidating their understanding of contemporary anthropology and their own assessment of the wider utility of the social sciences.


Contact hours

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


MA Social Anthropology and associated pathways. Optional module for Environmental Anthropology

Method of assessment

Essay (3000 words) (65%)
Concept Note (15%)
Weekly Reading Diary (20%).

Reassessment methods: 100% coursework.

Indicative reading

Barnard, A. 2000. History and Theory in Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.
Clifford, J. 1988. The Predicament of Culture. Harvard: Harvard University Press.
Farmer, Paul. 2003. Pathologies of Power. Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor. Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press.
Herzfeld, M. 2000. Theoretical Practice in Culture and Society. Oxford: Blackwell.
Kapferer, B. and Theodossopoulos, D. 2018. Democracy's Paradox: Populism and is Contemporary Crisis. London: Berghahn.
Knight, D.M. & C. Stewart (eds). 2017. Ethnographies of Austerity. Temporality, Crisis and Affect in Southern Europe. London: Routledge.
Layton, R. 1997. An Introduction to Theory in Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P.
Moore, H. 1999. Anthropological Theory Today. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Moore, H. & T. Sanders. 2005. Anthropology in Theory: Issues in Epistemology. Oxford: Blackwell.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 gain an advanced grasp of signal concepts in the contemporary and historical corpus of social anthropology

8.2 examine the evolution of anthropology's approach to these and related concepts

8.3 present case studies through which these concepts can be thought and critiqued

8.4 develop a nuanced comparative perspective on these concepts and phenomena by engaging with both ethnographic and historical materials

8.5 facilitate the application of anthropological modes of thinking to contemporary political, social and cultural events and structures

8.6 Apprehend both theoretical issues and current events with a critical and informed sense of difference in the human experience


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  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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