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Department of Social Anthropology


 Love, Marriage & Polygamy in Contemporary Malaysia

 Image:“Halal” Intimacy: Love, Marriage & Polygamy in Contemporary Malaysia', Nurul Huda Mohd Razif 

On this page:

Key Contact People

Staff Office Hours


Track and Paper Registration


Essays and Examinations


Student Wellbeing

Teaching and Content Warnings

Student Complaint and Appeal Procedure

After the Undergraduate Degree


Key Contact People

For any Department related questions, concerns or suggestions, please see below:

The Director of Undergraduate Education, and chairman of the Department's Undergraduate Education Committee, is Dr Perveez Mody ()

The Head of Department is Professor James Laidlaw ()

Any administrative questions can be addressed to the Undergraduate Administrator on 

Please see the Paper Coordinators for a list of all paper coordinators.

Part IIA and IIB Social Anthropology Student members.

For College-related issues, you should consult your Director of Studies or Tutor.


Academic Staff Office Hours

Please contact lecturers via email to make an appointment.

Staff Name

Room  Arrangements Email
Dr Perveez Mody 2.1 appointment by email
Dr Andrew Sanchez 1.8 appointment by email
Professor James Laidlaw 2.3 appointment by email
Dr Yael Navaro 2.6 appointment by email
Dr Sian Lazar G6 appointment by email
Prof David Sneath 1.7 appointment by email
Dr Rupert Stasch 1.4 appointment by email
Prof Susan Bayly G5 appointment by email
Prof Joel Robbins 2.5 appointment by email
Dr Anita Herle  MAA appointment by email  

Dr Tom White 2.7 appointment by email


Dr Matei Candea 1.1

appointment by email



Part II Handbook for Social Anthropology 2020-21

Dates for your diary and dissertation deadlines: Part IIA and Part IIB.


Registering on a Track and Paper Options

Part IIA and Part IIB students should register for their single or joint-track and desired papers at the Options Session during the Part I and Part IIA years respectively. For further information and the relevant forms please see the following links:

  Options Registration Guide to Papers Available For Questions Form Submission Deadline
Going into Part IIA in 2020-21 Online Registration System Part IIA Options Guide 22 May 2020
Going into Part IIB in 2020-21

Online Registration System

Part IIB Options Guide 22 May 2020

If you have any questions regarding IIA or IIB registration, please contact your Director of Studies in the first instance for advice and guidance.



The timetables for Social Anthropology lectures are available on our Timetables page. Please consult the timetables regularly, as any changes will be updated on the online timetable.


Supervision and Arrangements

In Cambridge, lectures and seminar teaching are the responsibility of the Faculties or Departments, and supervisions are formally the responsibility of the Colleges. All students have a Director of Studies in their College, and it is the responsibility of the Director of Studies to oversee the supervision arrangements for each of the papers taken by their students.

Supervisions for all “SAN” Social Anthropology Papers are organised by Directors of Studies – each Director of Studies will be provided with a list of possible supervisors by the Department before the start of the year and will arrange supervisors for their students for each paper they are taking. We believe that one of the strengths of our course is the convention that students are normally supervised by the same supervisor across quite a range of topics and essay questions for each Social Anthropology paper they take, normally, in fact, for the entire paper. This allows for the supervisor to help guide the students through the range of anthropological materials they encounter in lectures and their supervision work. There will always be variation of provision, since it is still the student's Director of Studies who makes the decisions about who will supervise them and how. But we do feel this to be a good model, allowing for continuity and a sense of coherence in students' engagement with a paper's broad concerns and themes. Experience shows that it is desirable for Directors of Studies to arrange for immediate contact between students and their supervisors. If a student is uncertain about who is supervising them or has not heard from a supervisor for a Social Anthropology paper by the end of the first week of Full Term, they should immediately contact their Director of Studies. If there are problems your Director of Studies cannot resolve and particularly if there is no contact with a supervisor by the second week of Full Term, you should alert the Director of Undergraduate Education in Social Anthropology ().

Students should expect to receive approximately three supervisions a term for each core paper, and two supervisions a term for each optional paper.  Revision supervisions are often provided at the discretion of the Director of Studies and supervisor during the Easter Term.  Students should begin having supervisions as early as possible in Full Term, and should begin setting up a timetable for the term ahead with their supervisor by the beginning of Week 2.  For every lecture series, lecturers in Social Anthropology try to provide possible supervision questions and readings so that students are able to get started independently on supervision work as soon as the lectures begin.  This is strongly recommended as it prevents you from falling behind as well as safeguarding against unnecessary bunching of essays at the end of the term.  Towards the end of Easter Term, we advise students to give their Director of Studies an indication of what papers they hope to do in the subsequent year, as this allows Director of Studies to begin to make provisional supervision arrangements for their students during the summer.

Please note: There are no supervisions for SAN4 (the Ethnographic Area Papers) because they are taught by seminar discussion, with students preparing seminar presentations instead of supervision essays through the course of the year.

Troubleshooting and Feedback on Supervisions:

Any queries or concerns relating to supervisions should be addressed by students in the first instance to their Director of Studies. If the issue cannot be resolved by your Director of Studies, you should contact the Director of Undergraduate Education in Social Anthropology () or the Head of Department without delay.  The Department welcomes any feedback on supervision that students wish to make.


Essays and Examinations

For information on essays and examinations, including the HSPS Part II marking and classing criteria, the essay writing guide and information on the correct use of ethnographic materials, please see Essays and Exams.

For all University information please read the University Guide to the Examinations.  Please note all students should contact their Director of Studies at their college to register for examinations.

Information on the HSPS Faculty Data Retention Policy.



Plagiarism Information

Recording Lectures

Lectures and presentations are the intellectual property of the presenter, whether a staff member or student, who retains control over their use and dissemination. Recording, photographing or filming of teaching (lectures, seminars) in any form is thus prohibited. Students who have a documented disability may be granted an exception to record lectures and presentations, but not question sessions, seminar discussions and similar settings. Students must provide support for this request to the Disability Resource Centre, who will make a decision as to the nature of the reasonable adjustments that may be requested of a lecturer.

Health and Safety


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 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. 


Student Complaint and Appeal Procedure


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 (Departmental Administrator), Dr Perveez Mody (Director of Undergraduate Education) or Professor Susan Bayly (Director of Graduate 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

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.


After the Undergraduate Degree

If you are interested in taking your studies further, you should seek the advice of your supervisors and Director of Studies. You might wish to supplement your Social Anthropology with one of our specialist Master’s courses (MPhil or MRes) or think about going on to professional training and fieldwork at PhD level (PhD). In either case, applications for places (at Cambridge or other universities) and for grants usually have to be made in the Michaelmas term in the academic year preceeding admission.

The Graduate Studies Prospectus is available on the Graduate Admissions website. The prospectus covers all postgraduate courses offered at Cambridge and incorporates all necessary documentation including graduate application and reference forms.

The Cambridge University Careers Service provides careers education, information and guidance to students and alumni of the University of Cambridge. Cambridge students, alumni and staff should register with the Careers Service for complete access to their services and website.

Information on upcoming vacancies, scholarships and funds are also posted on the noticeboards in the Common Room of the Social Anthropology building.