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Department of Social Anthropology


Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology


The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology is a major new outreach initiative for the department. It is an open-access encyclopaedia that provides people around the globe with information about commonly used anthropological concepts, such as “race and ethnicity”, “migration” and “religion”. You can find the first few entries here:

Each entry is peer-reviewed by leading academics. In times of increasing uncertainty around the reliability of online knowledge, we consider peer-reviewed content more valuable than ever. Over time, we aim to turn the encyclopedia into an important alternative to expensive printed reference works, which are inaccessible in most countries of the Global South, and to online databases that are either too unreliable to be cited or not free of charge. The encyclopedia is also an open resource in that it allows any author in the world to submit an entry. We hope it will be a truly international effort, shared with the world at large.

The encyclopedia will serve a readership of pupils and students who lack access to academic works. It also targets government officials, NGO workers, artists, journalists and members of the business community. Their work is increasingly research-heavy, using social science concepts as part of funding calls, fundraising, working across cultural boundaries, and thinking about global challenges such as forced migration or indigenous rights.

Lastly, we want the encyclopedia to become a key part of the currently growing movement for open access Anthropology. We are firmly convinced that anthropological knowledge must be shared between academics and with the general public in order to deal with the fundamental challenges of our time. We therefore actively encourage entry submissions on contemporary topics such as climate change, nationalism and finance as well as about long established subjects such as kinship and ritual. To get the ball rolling, we have uploaded a small set of entries ourselves. We look forward to growing the site over the years to come.

Felix Stein is the founder and managing editor. The Editorial Board is: Sian Lazar, Matt Candea, Hildegard Diemberger, Joel Robbins, Andrew Sanchez and Rupert Stasch. The encyclopedia is an initiative of the whole Department of Social Anthropology. 

Part funding: Wenner Gren and the ESRC Impact Acceleration Grant

Professor Susan  Bayly
Professor Emerita of Historical Anthropology
Fellow, Tutor and Director of Studies, Christ's College
Office hours: appointment by email
Dr Matei  Candea
Professor of Social Anthropology
Director of Undergraduate Education and Chair, Undergraduate Education Committee
Fellow and Director of Studies, King's College
Office hours: appointment by email
Dr Hildegard  Diemberger
Affiliated Lecturer
Fellow and College Lecturer, Pembroke College
Office hours: appointment by email
Professor Harri  Englund
Professor of Social Anthropology
Fellow, Churchill College
Coordinator, MPhil in Social Anthropology and Chair, MPhil Committee ( Michaelmas 2022 and Lent 2023)
Office hours: appointment by email
Dr Filippucci
Fellow and Senior College Lecturer in Social Anthorpology, Murray Edwards College
Office hours: appointment by email
Dr  Anita  Herle
Senior Curator (Anthropology), the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Professor James  Laidlaw
William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology
Fellow, King's College
on leave: 2021-2023
Dr Sian  Lazar
Professor of Social Anthropology
Head of the Department of Social Anthropology
Fellow, Clare College
Office hours: 11:30 - 12:30 Thursdays
Professor Joel  Robbins
Sigrid Rausing Professor of Social Anthropology
Fellow, Trinity College
Office hours: appointment by email
Professor David  Sneath
Caroline Humphrey Professor of Anthropology of Inner Asia
Director Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit (MIASU)
Fellow, Corpus Christi
Office hours: appointment by email
Dr Rupert  Stasch
Associate Professor
Director of Postgraduate Education and Chair, PhD Committee
Visual Anthropology Lab Manager
Fellow and Director of Studies, Sidney Sussex College
Office hours: appointment by email
Dr Felix  Stein
Affiliated Lecturer, Department of Social Anthropology
Professor Dame Marilyn  Strathern
Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology
Life Fellow, Girton College