Thinkers and Theories: An Introduction to the History and Development of Anthropology - SE307

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Spring 4 15 (7.5) checkmark-circle


This module introduces students to the major figures, theories and approaches that have shaped Anthropology, both Sociocultural and Biological, over the past two centuries. It presents an historical outline of the major schools of thought and discusses the historical relationship between social, cultural and biological anthropology. It focuses on two major figures (Charles Darwin and Émile Durkheim) and on their theoretical legacies, namely the central notions of "evolution" and “structure” that dominated thinking on human sociality throughout the twentieth century.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours



BA Social Anthropology; BSc Anthropology; BSc Biological Anthropology plus associated programmes

Method of assessment

100% coursework
In-class Test (20%)
Essay (80%). (2000 words)

Indicative reading

Bowler, P.J., "Evolution: The History of an Idea", California: University of California Press, 2003
Desmond, A. and Moore, J., "Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist", 1994
Moore, J.D., "Visions of Culture: An Introductio of Anthropological Theories and Theorists", Walnut Creek: Altimira Press, 1996
Barnard, A., "History and Theory in Anthropology", Cambridge: CUP, 2000
Barnard, A. and J. Spencer (eds). 1996. Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology. London: Routledge.
Kuper, A. 1996 Anthropology and Anthropologists: The Modern British School. London: Routledge

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the major thinkers who have influenced the history and development of anthropology as a discipline
Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the major schools of thought within anthropology
Demonstrate an understanding of the historical development of, and changes within, anthropology
Demonstrate an understanding of the historical relationship between sociocultural and biological anthropology


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage 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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