Introduction to Social Anthropology

The details
Sociology and Criminology
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 02 July 2021
20 April 2021


Requisites for this module



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

No information available.


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 Coursework weighting
Coursework   Class test via Moodle    30% 
Coursework   Essay 1  19/11/2020  30% 
Coursework   CV and Cover letter (Employability)  21/01/2021  10% 
Coursework   Essay 2  25/03/2021  30% 
Exam  Main exam: 24hr during Summer (Main Period) 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
70% 30%


Coursework Exam
70% 30%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Sandya Hewamanne, email:
Dr Jason Sumich, email:
Professor Sandya Hewamanne, Dr Jason Sumich
email: socugrad (Non essex users should add to create the full email address)



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 1164 hours, 4 (0.3%) hours available to students:
1160 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Sociology and Criminology

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