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Department of Social Anthropology


Professor James Laidlaw,  Head of Department,  


"Happy New Year! I wish you all the best – most importantly good health for you and your loved ones – in 2021. Let’s fervently hope that this year will be on an upward trajectory.

Sadly, following recently revised government guidelines, all teaching in the Lent Term 2021 will have to be online. This coming term will therefore be more like the Easter Term last year than like last Michaelmas, except of course that we are all at least more used to online video interaction than we were last summer, even if we haven’t come to love it much. Look out for emails from course directors and departmental administrators that will let you know which platform teaching will be on, and when and how to access lectures and seminars. Supervision too will all be conducted virtually, so look out for messages from your DoS and/or supervisors about those.

The Department building will be closed.

Below you will find links to a range of relevant information: health advice, teaching arrangements, and contact details respectively for undergraduates, MPhil students, and research students, as well as information on events this term. 

Please all stay well, and in good spirits so far as you can."



Form & Conduct Notices for Undergraduate Part II Social Anthropology Papers

Please see the Form and Conduct Notice for Undergraduates Part II Social Anthropology Papers 2021 here.


Library and digital services for Social Anthropology students

Please visit the the Haddon Library website for details of service for the Easter Term.

The library will be open for study spaces starting April 26th. There will be 20 spots available for each session from 10.00-1.00 and 2.00-5.00. You may book one space per day via the booking system  Please bring/wear layers, as the windows will need to be kept open.  If you are more than an hour late for your slot, it might be given to a waiting student. 

Please do not hesitate to contact the Haddon Library with any library-related questions, including about finding books/articles, accessing databases or sharpening your study skills.  Please email the library,  Be on the lookout as well for a new library newsletter that they will send toward the start of term. You can also continue to follow the library on Twitter @HaddonLibrary 

University iDiscover

Additionally, the University iDiscover website allows you to search the University Library and every Faculty and College library's print and online collections with a single search.

Reading Lists Online

The Department continues the process of putting your reading lists onto Reading Lists Online, with the link for each RLO Reading List that has been completed being made available on the Moodle page for that paper.   Reading lists linked via RLO show you the Cambridge library location and availability of print books and link to electronic books, articles and websites, videos and digitised chapters, allowing you to click through via a link to find digital or paper reading sources more easily. 

The University Library has a suite of virtual services this term which are detailed at

New e-resource: Anthropology Resource Library

Cambridge anthropology is now supported by online access to the collections of the Anthropology Resource Library, including sound and video archives and digital transcripts of ethnographic fieldwork studies

Cambridge University now has access to the full wealth and range of the Anthropology Resource Library from ProQuest. The online library comprises the largest collection of ethnographic video documentaries and primary footage—over 1,500 hours, with many rare and exclusive titles from independent production companies and researchers.

The library also includes 2,000 historic field recordings from around the world, alongside their supporting field notes and ethnographers’ metadata, opening new paths for the study of music in its cultural context; 250,000 audio recordings from a wide range of labels including Smithsonian Folkways Recordings; rare and previously unpublished field research from partners such as the Royal Anthropological Institute, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and university archives such as the London School of Economics and Vassar College. The Anthropology Resource Library can be accessed via this link or you can go directly to the individual collections:

Anthropological Fieldwork Online

This fully indexed, primary-source database unfolds the historical development of anthropology from a global perspective—with archival collections from North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific — including key field notebooks, images, and recordings of the early- to mid-20th century. The collection brings together the work of scholars who shaped the theories and methods students learn about, critique, and reshape in their own fieldwork endeavors today. Content is focused around each scholar’s prominent expedition field experience, with comprehensive inclusion of fieldwork, contextualizing documents from the same time period, including correspondence, and subsequent writings that led to major publications, such as draft manuscripts, lectures, and articles. Users will see the full qualitative scholarly process unfold in all its iterations, from data gathering in the field to later analysis, early writings, and final publication

Anthropology Online

Anthropology Online brings together a wide range of written ethnographies, seminal texts, memoirs, and contemporary studies, covering human culture and behavior the world over. The collection contains the published versions of the research aggregated in Anthropological Fieldwork Online, making this database a perfect companion piece. When used together, the two collections present firsthand insight into the process that transforms field notes into finished manuscripts. The collection is a comprehensive resource for the study of social and cultural life throughout the 20th century, providing the works of such key practitioners and theorists as Franz Boas, Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, Claude Levi-Strauss, Clifford Geertz, Max Gluckman, David MacDougall, Paul Rabinow, E. E. Evans- Pritchard, Robert Borofsky, and more

Ethnographic video online

Ethnographic Video Online contains documentaries, shorts, and ethnographies from every continent and hundreds of cultures, and include films from the most significant names in visual anthropology, such as the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) ethnographic film library, and many independent producers and distributors previously unavailable outside their regions. With footage from the early days of film in the field, contemporary counterpoints, and the classic titles, these films provide core visual materials for anthropology courses at all levels. Explore growing areas of study such as environmental anthropology, medical anthropology, and language preservation

Ethnographic sound archives online

Ethnographic Sound Archives Online is an initiative to digitize and make available previously unpublished field recordings that underpin the history of ethnomusicology and that represent research around the world. Curated to integrate field recordings with their contextualizing field notes and supporting field materials, the collection opens new paths for analyzing, interrogating, and connecting historic primary sources in context. Music is tightly woven into society and culture — it accompanies rituals and dances, and fills social spaces. It is the goal of the ethnomusicologist to document sound in this broader context, so field recordings are often accompanied by film footage, photographs, handwritten notes, and records of the larger soundscape. Where possible, the audio in this collection is presented along with its contextual materials, totaling more than 10,000 pages of field notes and 150 hours of film footage, recreating music’s relationship to its cultural context in a digital space

These new online collections have been made available through special funding provided by the University to support teaching and learning impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the unavailability of library resources on campus.


Individual Questions

Individual questions can be addressed to:

Undergraduate students, Dr Mody, Director of undergraduate education ( or Claudia Luna (  
MPhil students, Dr Lazar ( or Postgraduate Administrator (
MRes and PhD students, Dr Stasch ( or Postgraduate Administrator (


Student Representatives

Student representatives will be elected at the start of the academic year 2020 - 2021.  They are there to represent your views at committee meetings.  Once the representatives are known we will communicate their contact details to you by email and on this and other web pages.

Part IIA
Part IIB


Any wellbeing concerns can be addressed to our wellbeing officer, Dr Perveez Mody .  

Please note that the wealth of advice for students and staff from the University here.  

We also urge students and staff to follow official advice from the Government, NHS and Public Health England regarding personal hygiene and social distancing.”


CUSAS events

CUSAS have a number of interesting online events this term.  More details here


Further Information

For further information please see University Coronavirus information -