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Department of Social Anthropology


Professor James Laidlaw,  Head of Department,  


"Welcome to the 2020-2021 academical year - surely set to be one of the strangest ever!  It will be difficult, to different degrees and in different ways, for all of us, and nothing will be entirely as normal, but the Department is committed to running our teaching and other academic activities as best we can, within safety guidelines and with care for the health and wellbeing of us all. 

For the Michaelmas Term 2020, teaching will be a mixture of on-line and in person, and the mix may need to be adjusted in response to changing circumstances. Larger lectures will all be on-line, some recorded and some live-streamed. Some smaller-group teaching will be in-person, where this is possible, but it will be limited by health needs of both lecturers and students, and the constraints of available space and social distancing regulations. Departmental events will generally be on-line, in order to facilitate participation for as many as possible. Last term we learned that although lectures, supervisions, seminars, and talks on Panopto, Teams, or Zoom are definitely not optimal, they do work. And we have no option but to make the best of things. We will keep the arrangements under review, and please be in no doubt that we will return things as much as possible to normal as soon as we can be confident it is safe to do so. We all miss the close personal interaction and social dimension of our department’s normal ways of going on , and would like to get back to them when we can. Sadly, we have to accept that this may not be soon.

A huge amount of work has had to be done behind the scenes, for instance to get the Department building open for limited use. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to make this possible. The protocols for safe use of the building require limited occupancy, so please do not come to the building unless you need to, such as for a scheduled seminar or supervision. And please follow the guidance closely, irksome though it will be. If we have to close the building again, things will be made very much more difficult for a lot of people. And of course, do not under any circumstances come to the Department if you feel unwell. 

Below you will find links to a range of relevant information: on use of the building, 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."



With the start of Michaelmas 2020, the Haddon library will re-open on weekdays (with slightly different opening hours – see below).  The Library may need to make changes to their services at short notice in response to COVID-19 restrictions required by the UK Government and the University of Cambridge.  Please check the Haddon website regularly for updated information on  

Michaelmas Term 2020

The Haddon Library will be staffed Monday-Friday 10:00-16:00. Please wear a mask, keep 2 metres apart, follow the 1-way system and keep left on the stairs. They are initially offering the following services to all staff and students:

1. Book return. You can drop off books for return at the library issue desk on the first floor. If there is already a library user at the desk, please wait until they have left.

2. Click and collect. Email with details of the book(s) you want to borrow. You can then collect the book(s) from the issue desk during opening hours.

3. Scan and deliver. Visit to request a scan to be made of a chapter or article from any item held in the University to be delivered to your email address.

4. Book a study space in the Haddon Library. Email with details of an hourly slot during opening hours when you would like to study in the library. They can only fit 18 people at a time safely. If there is a high demand they will prioritise HSPS students and prevent a few people booking most of the slots. They hope to get a formal booking system up and running using LibCal during the first week of term.

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.

The Haddon library (alongside the Department) have recently begun the process of putting your reading lists onto a new system called Reading Lists Online.  You can search RLO at  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. 


Individual Questions

Individual questions can be addressed to:

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


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 -