Anthropology for a World in Crisis - ANTS5970

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Spring Term 6 15 (7.5) Matthew Hodges checkmark-circle


The module is of relevance for students of social anthropology, and a wide range of related disciplines preoccupied with the role of critical, anthropologically-informed thought and cultural literacy in today's transnational and multicultural world. It addresses the relationship between anthropological theory 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 key debates in public anthropology, and selected 'hot topics’ in the discipline, the module clarifies the relevance of anthropology for the world beyond the university, and educates students in how to adapt anthropological knowledge and skills to analysis of real world issues. Throughout, 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


BA Social Anthropology; Joint Honours; with a Year Abroad

Method of assessment

Book Review (35%) – Students must pass this component in order to successfully complete the module
Essay (50%) - Students must pass this component in order to successfully complete the module
Seminar Presentation (15%)

Indicative reading

Barnard, A. 2000. History and Theory in Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Clifford, J. 1988. The Predicament of Culture. Harvard: Harvard University Press.
Herzfeld, M. 2000. Theoretical Practice in Culture and Society. Oxford: Blackwell.
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.
Moore, H. 2011. Still Life: Hopes, Desires and Satisfactions. Cambridge: Polity Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8.1 be conversant in the main theoretical schools to have affected social anthropology
8.2 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
8.3 understand how social anthropologists have applied the theories of their day to the ways in which they have conducted ethnographic research and writing
8.4 analyse theoretical positions critically, and to locate them in the appropriate intellectual schools of thought from which they originate
8.5 analyse and communicate their understanding of anthropological texts in both written and spoken form
8.6 construct coherent and logical arguments, particularly in written form, which 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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