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About us

Anthropology at LSE has a strong international reputation and a long and distinguished history of leadership in the discipline. In the 2008 RAE (Research Assessment Exercise), our Department scored the highest percentage of the maximum 4* grades among all anthropology departments in the UK. The Department offers a dynamic and engaged research culture with a strong commitment to teaching and to promoting an inclusive environment.

We combine innovative research in the unfolding contemporary world with maintenance of the core anthropological traditions: long-term empirical research, commitment to a broad comparative enquiry on the nature of human sociality and human nature, and a constructive but critical engagement with social theory. Our weekly Friday morning Research Seminar has, since Malinowski's time, been the venue for cutting-edge, intensive debate on current research in the discipline.

We maintain extensive international links, and leading scholars in the discipline often come to LSE as academic visitors, including in recent years Marshall Sahlins, Fei Xiaotong, Sherry Ortner, Dan Sperber, Unni Wikan, Akis Papataxiarchis, Dipankar Gupta, Radhika Chopra and Webb Keane. In addition to permanent members of staff, our Postdoctoral Fellows and a large group of PhD students also make important contributions to the Department's research culture.

Alongside the Friday seminar, we host at present a seminar on Anthropological film, four ongoing regional anthropology seminars on Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Austronesia and South Asia, and have just initiated a new MSc degree programme on China in Comparative Perspective. There are also regular workshops and conferences in the Department on specific themes, including, recently, Objects of Evidence; Cognition, Psychology and Anthropology; Anthropological Perspectives on Friendship; and the Ghanaian diaspora.

An emphasis on long-term anthropological fieldwork has always been a hallmark, and continues to be a strength, of the Department. Most members of staff, in addition to their responsibilities to students, conduct ongoing field research, which engages both with new research agendas and with well-established anthropological debates. Many members of staff also work at the intersections with other disciplines, including history, cognitive psychology, and religious studies.

The Department is decidedly international and our students - who have diverse academic backgrounds - come from all over the world. PhD students conduct their fieldwork in an equally wide range of settings; our website gives a complete list of current and past PhD theses supervised in the Department.

Teaching has always been a priority of the Department, and we currently offer undergraduate degree programmes (BA/BSc Social Anthropology and BA Anthropology and Law); taught Master's degree programmes (MSc Social AnthropologyMSc in Social Anthropology (Learning and Cognition), MSc Anthropology and Development, MSc Anthropology and Development Management and MSc China in Comparative Perspective as well as the MSc Law, Anthropology and Society with the Law Department); and a postgraduate research programme leading to the MPhil/PhD.

Anthropology has been taught at the LSE since 1904. The Department rose to prominence under Malinowski, who arrived in 1910 and developed what was to become British social anthropology. Many of the leading figures within this evolving tradition, and others whose work has built in new directions, have been associated with the LSE as students and/or teachers, including Raymond Firth, E.E. Evans-Pritchard, Hortense Powdermaker, Edmund Leach, Michael Taussig, Jean and John Comaroff, Maurice Bloch, and a great many others. Recent graduates of the Department have been very successful in taking up posts in UK and overseas universities.

Read more about Anthropology at LSE: the first 40 years in the Library's archive.


Bronislaw Malinowski