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Department of Social Anthropology


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Useful contacts in the Department

Useful contacts in the University


Research Ethics and Integrity Guidelines


Student wellbeing resources -


Useful contacts in the Department

You are very welcome to contact the following people with specific questions, concerns or suggestions related to the Department. Your College tutor may also be able to provide advice.

    •    The Head of Department is Professor Sian Lazar (
    •    The Chair of the PhD Committee is Professor Rupert Stasch (
    •    The Director of Postgraduate Education is Professor Rupert Stasch (
    •    The MPhil in Social Anthropology Coordinator is Professor Yael Navaro (
    •    The MPhil in Social Anthropological Research Coordinator is Dr Liana Chua (
    •    The MRes/Pre-field Coordinator is Dr Natalia Buitron (
    •    The Department’s Research Ethics Officer is Professor Uradyn Bulag (
    •    The Postgraduate Administrator is Veronica Flack (


Useful contacts in the University

Student Registry (01223) 766302 (

ESRC Doctoral Training Centre (
International Students Team (
Social Science Research Methods Programme (

Student Wellbeing Resources -



Online Meetings

Please see our online meetings policy here.


Plagiarism Information



Where a student is dissatisfied with any provision, action or inaction by the University, students are able to raise a complaint. Students are expected to initially raise a complaint with a suitable member of staff within the Department of Social Anthropology. 

In the first instance, this will be Dorothy Searle/Monica Baker (Departmental Administrators) or Professor Rupert Stasch (Director of Postgraduate Education). However, where the matter is serious or where students remain dissatisfied, a complaint can be made through the complaints process available at central University level. Complaints need to be raised in a timely way and within 28 days to ensure an effective remedy can be put in place.

The University complaints procedure is detailed on the Student Complaints website and involves filing a formal complaint.


Mark Checks and Examinations Data

Students may request a mark check for up to 28 days following the publication of their examination results by contacting their College Tutor who will approach the Department on their behalf to check the following:

  • check that they have been marked on all their answers and ensure all of their answer booklets etc have been marked by the assessors or examiners
  • check that their marks on individual scripts and other assessed work have been correctly recorded
  • check that any reasonable adjustments relating to Specific Learning Difficulties and the marking of their scripts and any other assessed work have been put in place
  • Information on the HSPS Faculty Data Retention Policy.


Recording Lectures

HSPS Statement on Recorded Lectures.

The Faculty of Human, Social and Political Sciences recently issued a statement on lecture recordings.   You can view the statement here.
“Standardised recording of lectures has led to declining attendance, undermining the status of in-person teaching and depriving students of the pedagogical and social benefits of collective lecture hall learning. Repeat viewing of captioned lectures has also led to the misuse of lectures, transforming them from launchpads for further reading and critical reflection to quotable forms of content to be reproduced in exams and essays. Binge-watching of lectures at the end of term undermines their role in setting the rhythm of the paper by sequentially introducing topics. Recording of lectures may also inhibit student participation.” 
In light of these concerns, it will no longer be standard practice to record lectures and upload them onto Moodle across the Faculty of HSPS, including Social Anthropology. We are returning to pre-COVID practices. 
There are of course some students who need to have access to recordings for reasons relating to accessibility and disability. Any student with a Student Support Document from the Accessibility and Disability Resource Centre that says that they should have permission to record lectures will be able to do so, for their own private study, and if it is clear from the SSD that the lecturers themselves should record the lecture and make it available, then they will do that where it is possible for them to do so.


Teaching and Content Warnings

Social Anthropology encompasses the study of all aspects of human social life. Many of these are positive, and studying them can be a cheering and enlivening experience, but others of course are negative. So the discipline rightly seeks to address anthropology ethnographically and develop our understanding of a range of difficult phenomena including conflict and war, illness and disease, poverty, exploitation, oppression, abuse, and suffering in various forms. 

As responsible adults, students may need to exercise discretion in reading texts that deal with these matters, especially if they have personal experiences of any of these states of affairs. Of course, academic study can be empowering in relation to such experiences, so it would be a mistake to assume that material relating to one's personal experiences, even where those have been negative, should be avoided. In many cases, anthropologists and other social scientists are motivated to study difficult subjects precisely because they have such experience. That process can be challenging as well as rewarding. 

It would not be possible, even were it desirable, for the Department to anticipate which specific subjects might be personally difficult for some particular students. And the Department does not issue so-called 'trigger warnings' about specific academic materials. If individual students have concerns about their own reactions to specific thematic content, then in addition to exercising their own discretion (specific individual readings are virtually never absolutely required, and alternative topics and readings are generally available) they are encouraged to consult their supervisor, Director of Studies, or Tutor in confidence. 


Health and Safety


Research Ethics and Integrity Guidelines

The University of Cambridge Research Integrity website provides extensive ethics and integrity guidelines to support staff and students. The Association of Social Anthropologists also provides extensive ASA ethics guidelines. Please consult these carefully in advance of applying for research clearance from the Department. Also, see the ESRC framework for research ethics and AAA ethical guidelines. As the statement from the ASA Chair usefully points out, the guidelines are not intended to provide ready-made answers or to absolve researchers from ethical responsibilities, but should be a starting point for a concrete reflection on the specific ethical issues which may have to be borne in mind in the case of your specific research:  

“Codes of practice and guidelines are of necessity succinct documents, couched in abstract and general terms. They serve as a baseline for starting to think about ethical issues, but cannot of their nature encompass the complexities of concrete situations and the dilemmas of choice and positioning that anthropologists routinely face as they navigate through a variety of intersecting fields of power and responsibility and start to consider how their own work both reflects and affects power relations. If ethics is seen simply as a question of avoiding a lawsuit and our codes are simply a list of restrictions on conduct designed to protect us from interference, our ethical purpose will simply be a matter of self-serving professional interest.” (Statement from the Chair, ASA) 

Researchers should also be aware of data protection issues that arise as a result of conducting research. In particular, you should keep in mind that when using cloud-based storage, or programmes such as Evernote, data will be crossing international borders even if your research does not. This means you should be aware of any issues raised concerning not only the security of your own research data, but also the legal issues surrounding data protection of all personal data. Further information on data protection can be found at the following places:
The University of Cambridge Staff and Student Information on Data Protection
Research data Q&A from Jisc Legal
SOAS information on personal data in research which covers some issues of particular interest to anthropologists in more depth

If, having read these guidelines, you have any questions or would like any advice relating to research ethics, please consult the Department’s research ethics officer.



Funding is a complicated issue for most postgraduate students. We try to keep our information up to date, but please be sure to investigate sites published by the University, research councils and other research funders. For a searchable database of information on all University, department and college funding for students, please visit the Student Funding Search.