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SAN7 Africa

Not offered in the academic year 2016-2017.

The aim of this paper is to introduce students to key issues in the history and contemporary life of the nations, communities and cultures of selected African regions.

Themes covered include:

  • gender, kinship and personhood
  • households, trade and money
  • world religions and local realities
  • ritual, power and authority, both in historical perspective and in the contemporary context
  • the politics of violence and the post-colonial state
  • urbanisation and thinking the city
  • African intellectuals and popular culture
  • the debt crisis, structural adjustment and local solutions to economic problems
  • the African diaspora

Africa is a culturally and linguistically diverse continent that no single course can cover adequately. Rather than organising this paper in terms of Africa’s many sub-regions or peoples, students explore topics and themes that have played a prominent role in the anthropological study of Africa. Conversely, the influence of anthropological research in Africa on the development of anthropological theory and methods is a central interest throughout the paper. As such, students will gain a perspective on the range and variety of ethnography on Africa and an understanding of the formative and continuing importance of Africa for the discipline of social anthropology.

Further information including a list of lecture courses and background reading can be found in the Paper Guide in the Paper Resources section to the right of this page.

Paper Resources


For lecture reading lists, additional teaching materials, past exam questions and exam reports for all ethnographic areas please see the SAN7 Moodle Course.

Please note teaching staff and students enrolled on SAN7 will automatically be enrolled on the SAN7 Moodle course and you will find a link to the course in the ‘My Home’ section of Moodle.

If you are a member of the University of Cambridge and you wish to view the reading lists, past exam questions and exam reports then you can access the SAN7 Moodle Course as a guest. For more information on how to access Moodle Courses as a guest please see Moodle Help.