Introduction to Social Anthropology

The details
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 03 October 2019
Friday 26 June 2020
16 May 2019


Requisites for this module


SC204, SC205, SC208, SC213, SC224, SC233, SC277

Key module for

BA LL36 Social Anthropology,
BA LL3P Social Anthropology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LL6P Social Anthropology (Including Placement Year),
BA LL37 Social Anthropology with Human Rights,
BA LL38 Social Anthropology with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA LL39 Social Anthropology with Human Rights (Including Placement Year)

Module description

This module introduces students to the discipline of social anthropology, its history, methods, and theories. The focus is on the study of human cultural diversity and social organization, through a critical awareness of the ways anthropologists theorise "culture" and "society". There will be some sessions on human evolution and how that can help us study of contemporary societies and, in particular, human variation.

Students will encounter a range of ethnographic and case study materials, learning about witchcraft, potlatch ceremonies in North America, and the aesthetics of nomadic peoples, to choose just a few examples. Students will furthermore learn about anthropological approaches to gender, ethnicity, race, and kinship and develop a critical awareness of the ways in which culture - be it our own or that of others - can be studied.

Module aims

The module aims to:

Explore the ways "culture" and "society" have been theorised by social anthropology;

Introduce students to the basic historical developments of social anthropology;

Give students an appreciation of its key methods and theoretical approaches;

Provide a awareness of the contribution social anthropology has made to the study of social life;

Demonstrate to students how ethnographic techniques can be used in conjunction with other social science research methods.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will be expected to:

Be aware of the methods of anthropological research and the relevance of the discipline for studying contemporary societies;

have an understanding of the relationship between local social and cultural forms in relation to broader global processes;

be able to critically analyse ethnographic data;

have an appreciation of the intellectual tools needed to understand their own and other cultures.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Teaching will done in two-hour blocks and involve group work, discussion, short in-class reading and regular showings of anthropological films.


This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non-essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Class Test    25% 
Coursework   Essay 1    30% 
Coursework   CV & Covering Letter (Employability)     5% 
Coursework   Essay 2    30% 
Practical   Quiz Week 20    10% 
Exam  1440 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
70% 30%


Coursework Exam
70% 30%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Sandya Hewamanne, email:
Dr Jason Sumich, email:
Dr Jason Sumich and Dr Sandya Hewamanne
Cydney Barrows,Student Administrative Assistant, Telephone: 01206 873052 E-mail:



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 75 hours, 38 (50.7%) hours available to students:
37 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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