skip to content

Department of Social Anthropology

 

Mumbai beach

 Two core papers in Advanced Social Anthropology address cutting-edge questions in the fields of Ethical life and the anthropology of the subject (SAN5), and Power, economy and social transformation (SAN6). These papers put anthropological studies into direct dialogue with the latest research in fields as diverse as cognitive science, economics, moral and political philosophy, and social theory.

Students then choose two further papers from a wide variety of ethnographic area papers and optional papers. These include specialist areas of Social Anthropology, and papers borrowed from elsewhere and within the Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) Tripos.

Alternatively, students may opt to substitute one of their ethnographic area/optional papers for a dissertation. In Social Anthropology, dissertation research can be library-based or archival – but it can also include the student’s own ethnographic fieldwork, usually conducted in the summer vacation between Part IIA and Part IIB. The Department of Social Anthropology does not offer undergraduate students formal training in ethnographic fieldwork methods. However, all students planning to do a dissertation must attend two compulsory dissertation planning workshops (in Lent and Easter term of their IIA year) in which key aspects of their undergraduate projects such as risk, personal well-being and ethics as well as practical considerations concerning logistics will be discussed. Past dissertations are available, as reference only, from the Haddon library. 

Please note: The University of Cambridge has stated that following the lifting of social distancing and other restrictions by the UK government they plan to provide as much in person teaching as is possible in the academic year 2021-22. The Department of Social Anthropology is supporting in person and hybrid teaching and supervision wherever it is possible. The University and the Department will adopt precautionary behaviours and control measures to minimise COVID-19 transmission, and encourage new courtesies and etiquette around face coverings and social distancing between individuals. A few lectures will need to be given online. Where this is the case, details will be given on the Moodle courses and online timetables for each paper. However, please be aware that the methods of teaching may have to be adjusted, sometimes at short notice, as the public health situation continues to develop.  Further more detailed guidance on the format of teaching and control measures in the Department will be made available to you on the Moodle Course for each degree.

 

Structure of the course

 

Single-subject track

Students take:


(i)    Papers SAN5 and SAN6

(ii)   One paper chosen from from Papers SAN7-15, or a dissertation on a subject approved by the Head of the Department of Social Anthropology.

(iii)  Either a further paper chosen from Papers SAN4 or SAN7-15, or one paper chosen from POL13, POL17, SOC5–15, Paper 5 for the subject History and Philosophy of Science in Part II of the Natural Sciences Tripos or Paper J9 in the AMES Tripos. 

Please note you may only take a specific SAN4 ethnographic area, SAN Optional paper (i.e. SAN7-15), or SOC5 if you did not take that paper at Part IIA. SOC6 may only be taken if a candidate has taken SOC2 in Part IIA. POL13 and POL17 may only be taken if a candidate has taken POL3 or POL4 in Part IIA. 

 

Joint-subject tracks

Social Anthropology can be combined with Politics and Sociology in joint track streams. Please note that students in Part IIB who have taken Part IIA in the HSPS Tripos may not change their subject track between Parts IIA and IIB, unless changing from a joint track to one of the single subjects within it.

Social Anthropology and Politics

(i)    One paper chosen from SAN5 and SAN6, and one paper chosen from SAN4SAN5, SAN6, or SAN7-SAN15
(ii)    Two papers chosen from POL6, POL10-21.
(iii)    A candidate may substitute for one paper a dissertation on a subject within the field of Social Anthropology or Politics approved by the Head of the relevant Department.


Please note you may only take a specific SAN4 ethnographic area or SAN Optional paper (i.e. SAN7-15) if you did not take that paper at Part IIA. Paper POL10 cannot be taken if POL8 was taken in Part IIA and students may only take one paper out of POL19, POL20 and a dissertation. Please see the Politics and International Relations website for more information on Politics papers.

 

Social Anthropology and Religious Studies (Modern Religion) 
This joint track in Modern Religion combines papers taught in Social Anthropology (HSPS Tripos) and in Religious Studies (Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion Tripos). Students must take note of the regulatory conditions for this joint track. 

In addition to the teaching on the four chosen papers, all students selecting the joint track in Modern Religion will attend timetabled seminars organised for students taking this joint track. 

A flow chart of paper choices is available here

i) Required papers: SAN5
ii) Choose one paper from:  SAN4, SAN6, SAN8, SAN9, SAN11.  Regulatory note: Students may only sit a SAN4 ethnographic area paper or SAN8, SAN9, or SAN11 paper, if not sat at Part IIA. 
iii) Choose one paper from: B1a, B1b, B1c, B1d, C1a, C1b, C1c, C1d, C2, C3, C5, C6, C8, C9, C10, C11, C12.  Regulatory note: Students may only sit one of papers B1a, B1b, B1c, B1d, if not sat at Part IIA. 
iv) Choose one paper from: C2, C3, C5, C6, C8, C9, C10, C11, C12, D1b, D1c, D1d, D1f, D1g, D2b, D2c, D2d, D2e, D2f, D2g. Regulatory note: Students may only sit one of papers D1b, D1c, D1d, D1f, D1g, D2b, D2c, D2d, D2e, D2f, D2g, if not offering a dissertation. 

Students may also offer a Dissertation in Social Anthropology (in place of item ii) or in TRPR (in place of item iii or iv) above. 

Please see the Divinity website for more information on Religious Studies papers.

 

Sociology and Social Anthropology

(i)    Two papers chosen from SOC5–15 or a dissertation on a subject approved by the Head of the Department of Sociology.


(ii)    One paper chosen from SAN5 and SAN6 and one paper chosen from SAN4SAN5, SAN6, or SAN7-SAN15
(iii)    A candidate may substitute for one paper a dissertation on a subject within the field of Social Anthropology or Sociology approved by the Head of the relevant Department.

Please note you may only take a specific SAN4 ethnographic area, SAN Optional paper (i.e. SAN7-15), or SOC5 if you did not take that paper at Part IIA. Please see the Sociology website for more information on Sociology papers.