skip to content

Modules for 2022- 23

This is the list of specialist seminar modules that we hope to offer in 2022-23. Please note that the programme varies each year and depends on staff availability, timetabling and student numbers. 

Students will choose 6 modules: 2 in the first half of Michaelmas term, 2 in the second half of Michaelmas term and 2 in the first half of Lent term. 

Timetabling constraints will mean that not all combinations will be possible, and if student numbers are deemed too small, some modules may not run.


Research Methods I  & II (various lecturers)           

Research Methods I & II consist of a combination of lectures (held together with other cohorts) and postgraduate-specific seminars at which each method, and its relation to your research, is discussed in greater detail.  These sessions will be especially useful if you've had limited experience of doing in-person research/fieldwork or would like to explore unfamiliar methods for your dissertation research.

Research Methods I (Michaelmas w 1-4) covers:  participant observation, interviews, audiovisual methods and digital ethnography.  Research Methods II (Michaelmas w 5-8) covers:  archives, life histories, extended case methods, anthropology 'at home'.


Comparative environments (Joe Ellis, Elizabeth Turk and others)             

This module will aim to explore some of the geographically and historically-situated ways humans relate to the environment, landscape, and nature. It will use the Inner Asian region as a comparative lens on how environmental politics, legal regimes, human-animal interactions and religious and cosmological understandings of landscapes and climate change differ around the world. The module will offer students in-depth examples of current MIASU research drawn in comparison to ethnographic contexts further afield and situated within larger theoretical frameworks. 


From Symbol to Index and Back (Joel Robbins)          

This module explores the theoretical grounding of structural and symbolic anthropology, on the one hand, and that of anthropological approaches to pragmatic meaning on the other.  It charts the rise to dominance of pragmatic approaches over the last two decades while also considering the possibility of a renewed place for symbolic analysis today.  The module will engage both sociocultural and linguistic anthropological theory and data.


Political Economy (Sian Lazar)             

In this seminar we will read classic and recent texts to explore how anthropologists have articulated intimate ethnographic engagement with a critique of globally connected (or repeated) political-economic processes. We will study capitalism(s) and colonialities on the one hand, and their counterforces and present-day alternatives on the other. 


The Anthropology of Care (Perveez Mody)             

For anthropologists, “care” and the “care industry” conjoin the economic with kinship intimacies and the affective and political domains in particularly poignant ways. Care serves as a helpful analytic for exploring new ways of belonging and connecting with each other. These seminars will explore the anthropology of care by moving away from its medical antecedents towards a broader articulation of care as a field of engagement and contestation that can implicate a host of other anthropological subjects (kinship, economy, politics, gender, migration, race, religion, love) and that is often messy, intimate and deeply unsettled. These seminars will explore key themes within the anthropology of care such as kinship care and paid care, intimacy and ritual care, care and recovery and finally, care as a form of colonial governance, abandonment and social death. 


Museum Anthropology (Anita Herle and Mark Elliott)             

These seminars will be led by Senior Anthropology Curators in the Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology (MAA). Drawing on MAA's extensive collections and critical museological practice, the module will focus on pressing issues related to de-colonisation, diversity, inclusion and public engagement. The sessions will provide the opportunity to combine theoretical concerns and practical engagement with the ongoing work of the Museum.


Anthropology and Art (Iza Kavedžija)              

In this seminar we will consider the processes of making art in the context of various contemporary art worlds, departing from the processes of enskilment and becoming an artist. The focus on art-making as a process further foregrounds it’s the relational nature. If an artwork is collaborative, a response to the ideas of others that entails a responsive relationship with materials, then what is the role of the artist as an author? The making of art unfolds over time and intersects with various temporalities, including the life course of the artist, as well as the proximate horizon of a project or an art event. What is to be gained by attending to the temporality of the creative process? Finally, we will think about the various intersections of art and anthropology. What are the key similarities and differences between the two fields? How does ethnographic work and an anthropological sensibility underpin certain contemporary art projects, and what kinds of art can we hope to make as anthropologists?


Infrastructure and its Parasites (Michael Degani)

This module surveys anthropological perspectives on infrastructure (roads, pipelines, and payment networks, but also standards, reputation and language) and those parasitic agents (gatekeepers, translators, saboteurs, pests, pirates) that redistribute their flows and the sociopolitical reltations those flows nourish.  How do different infrastructures constitute our sense of what is close or far, signal or noise, kin or stranger?  What are the affordances by which those senses might be altered or challenged?  To answer these questions, each week will explore infrastructure in relation to a different topic and its associated anthropological literature:  media, linguistics, economics, and politics.


Students will choose 6 modules: 2 in the first half of Michaelmas term, 2 in the second half of Michaelmas term and 2 in the first half of Lent term.

Timetabling constraints will mean that not all combinations will be possible, and if student numbers are deemed too small, some modules may not run.