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Department of Anthropology

How to contact us

Department of Anthropology
6th Floor, Old Building
London School of Economics
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE


Head of Department
Professor Rita Astuti


Departmental Manager
Ms Yanina Hinrichsen
+44 (0)20 7955 7202


Mr Tom Hinrichsen (Thu & Fri)
+44 (0)20 7955 6775

Administrative Officer
Ms Andrea Elsik
+44 (0)20 7107 5037

Administration and Communications Officer 
Ms Renata Todd
+44 (0)20 7852 3709 


Fax: +44 (0)20 7404 4907


General Enquiries




LSE's Anthropology Department, with a long and distinguished history, remains a leading centre for innovative research and teaching. We are committed to both maintaining and renewing the core of the discipline, and our undergraduate teaching and training of PhD students is recognised as outstanding.

Follow this link to see a short film about the Department and some of its students.|

David Graeber Head shot

Promises, Promises: A History of Debt.  Click here| to listen to David Graeber's 10 part series on Channel 4 where he explores the ways debt has shaped society over 5,000 years.

LSE student honoured at prestigious Chinese language competition
Angel Naydenov, undergraduate student in the Department of Anthropology, has won an award for ‘The Best Performance’ at the UK finals of the Chinese Bridge College Student Competition. The competition, which runs annually, contains a three minute speech in Mandarin, two minutes of questions on Chinese language, culture and geography, and a three minute talent show. Angel, who is from Bulgaria and studying Mandarin Language and Society Advanced Level, competed against 30 candidates from 15 universities across the UK to reach the finals, where he went up against another nine candidates. This is the second time LSE has won an award in the competition - last year Edward Knight, from the Department of International Relations, won another individual award for 'The Most Eloquent'.
  Money From Nothing
Money from Nothing by Deborah James explores the dynamics surrounding South Africa's national project of financial inclusion—dubbed "banking the unbanked"—which aimed to extend credit to black South Africans as a critical aspect of broad-based economic enfranchisement. The book reveals the varied ways in which middle- and working-class South Africans' access to credit is intimately bound up with identity, status-making, and aspirations of upward mobility. It draws out the precarious nature of both the aspirations and the economic relations of debt which sustain her subjects, revealing the shadowy side of indebtedness and its potential to produce new forms of oppression and disenfranchisement in place of older ones. Money from Nothing captures the lived experience of indebtedness for those many millions who attempt to improve their positions (or merely sustain existing livelihoods) in emerging economies.
Tamil Brahmans Book Covercropped
In this book, C. J. Fuller| and Haripriya Narasimhan examine one particularly striking group: Tamil Brahmans—a formerly traditional, rural, high-caste elite who have transformed themselves into a new middle-class caste in India, the United States, and elsewhere.
Cover of The Social Life of Achievement 62x86
The Social Life of Achievement|, edited by Nick Long| and Henrietta Moore. This theoretically eclectic volume promises to be of interest to anyone with interests in the anthropology of education, the anthropology of neoliberalism, theories of agency and motivation, or the study of ethical life.
Elusive Promises homepage
Featuring contributions by Richard Baxstrom, Laura Bear, Åsa Boholm, John Gledhill, Deborah James, Sarah Lund, Halvard Vike, and an introduction by Simone Abram and Gisa Weszkalnys, this volume and links planning to a set of anthropological concerns regarding the state, development, entitlement, agency and the imagination.
Cover of Vital Relations
Fenella Cannell's| book Vital Relations: Modernity and the Persistent Life of Kinship|, published in August 2013, will be of interest to anyone who wishes to gain a different perspective on the concept of modernity itself, and on the place of kinship and 'family' in modern life.
Under a watchful eye book cover
Harry Walker|’s book Under a Watchful Eye: Self, Power and Intimacy in Amazonia|, published in November 2012 examines the formation of self among the Urarina, an Amazonian people of lowland Peru and raises fundamental questions about what it means to be alive, to be an experiencing subject, and to be human.
Potent Landscapes: Place and Mobility in Eastern Indonesia|, by Catherine Allerton|, has recently been published by the University of Hawai'i Press. Based on two years of fieldwork in rural Flores, the book situates Manggarai place-making and mobility within the larger contexts of human-environment interactions. Potent Landscapes will appeal to students and specialists of Southeast Asia and to those interested in the comparative anthropological study of place and environment.
In and out of each others bodies book cover
Maurice Bloch|’s book In and Out of Each Other’s Bodies| was published in November 2012. It offers an accessible introduction to fundamental human questions such as: What is human sociality? How are universals such as truth and doubt variously demonstrated and negotiated in different cultures?
Ordinary Ethics in China book cover
Ordinary Ethics in China|, edited by Charles Stafford|, has been published by Bloomsbury as part of the LSE Monographs on Social Anthropology series. The book includes chapters by LSE faculty and former students including Laura Bear|, Hans Steinmuller|, Stephan Feuchtwang|, Eona Bell, James Johnston| and Daniel Roberts.
Communities of Complicity book cover
Hans Steinmuller’s book Communities of Complicity: Everyday Ethics in Rural China|, has been published by Berghahn Books. An ethnographic study of the village of Zhongba (in Hubei Province, central China), the book attempts to grasp the ethical reflexivity of everyday life in rural China. Drawing on descriptions of village life, interspersed with targeted theoretical analyses, Steinmuller examines how ordinary people construct their own senses of their lives and their futures in everyday activities.
Ethnographies of Doubt book cover 
Mathijs Pelkmans|’ title, Ethnographies of Doubt: Faith and Uncertainty in Contemporary Societies| has recently been published by I.B. Tauris. The volume contains several chapters by members and friends of the LSE Anthropology department: Alpa Shah| on doubting revolutionaries; Maurice Bloch| on types of shared doubt among Zafimaniry forest-dwellers; Giulia Liberatore on the doubtful belief of newly practicing Muslim women; and Mette High on doubting the cosmos in Mongolia.
Anthropology and the Cognitive Challenge book cover
In this new study: Anthropology and the Cognitive Challenge|Maurice Bloch| proposes that an understanding of cognitive science enriches, rather than threatens, the work of social scientists. Arguing for a naturalist approach to social and cultural anthropology, Bloch introduces developments in cognitive sciences such as psychology and neurology and explores the relevance of these developments for central anthropological concerns: the person or the self, cosmology, kinship, memory and globalisation.

LSE Anthropology holds many events| throughout the year, ranging from the annual Malinowski Memorial Lecture| (which in 2015 will be given by Harry Walker and will take place on Thursday 28 May) to regional seminars, a weekly research seminar, and a host of conferences and workshops.

Every Friday during term time we hold a research seminar on anthropological theory| between 10:30am and 12:30pm in the  Seligman Library (OLD 6.05). Follow the link (which is in red) for the dates and titles of the papers.

Speakers in Summer Term are:

Di Wu (LSE)
John Bowen (Washington University)
Tania Li (University of Toronto) 
Paul Basu (UCL) 
Alice Street (University of Edinburgh) 
Ellen Judd  (University of Manitoba)
Dinah Rajak (University of Sussex)
Thomas Hylland Eriksen (University of Oslo)
Geert de Neeve (University of Sussex)
Hans Steinmuller (LSE)

The Programme for Religion and Non-Religion| offers a number of Forum on Religion events| which are free and open to all. 

Di Wu The everyday life of Chinese migrants in Zambia: emotion, stability and moral interaction

Michael Berthin Touch future x ROBOT: examining production, consumption, and disability at a social robot research laboratory and a centre for independent living in Japan

Tamara Hale Mixing and its challenges: an ethnography of race, kinship and history in a village of Afro-indigenous descent in coastal Peru

Jovan Lewis Sufferer’s market: sufferation and economic ethics in Jamaica

Mohamed Zaki And they say there aren't any gay Arabs: ambiguity and uncertainty in Cairo's underground gay scenes

Ana Gutierrez-Garza The everyday moralities of migrant women: life and labour of Latin American domestic and sex workers in London

Zorana Milicevic Children and the benefits of gender equality: negotiating traditional and modern gender expectations in a Mexican village

Sarah Grosso Extraordinary ethics: an ethnographic study of marriage and divorce in Ben Ali's Tunisia

Miranda Sheild Johansson To work is to transform the land: agricultural labour, personhood and landscape in an Andean ayllu

Anna Tuckett The ambiguities of documentation: migrants' everyday encounters with Italian immigration law

Sitna Quiroz Uria Relating as Children of God: Ruptures and Continuities in Kinship among Pentecostal Christians in the South-East of the Republic of Benin

Xiaoqian Liu The state through its mirrors: an anthropological study of a ‘Respect-the-Elderly Home’ in Rural China at the turn of the 21st century

Gustavo Barbosa Non-cockfights: on doing / undoing gender in Shatila, Lebanon

Daniela Kraemer Planting roots, making place: an ethnography of young men in Port Vila, Vanuatu

Marek Mikus What reform? Civil societies, state transformation and social antagonism in 'European Serbia'

Gus Gatmaytan Indigenous autonomy amid counter-insurgency: cultural citizenship in a Philippine frontier
Aude Michelet No longer kings: learning to be a Mongolian person in the Middle Gobi

Dina Makram Ebeid Manufacturing stability: everyday politics of work in an industrial steel town in Hulwan, Egypt

Giulia Liberatore Transforming the self: an ethnography of ethical change amongst young Somali Muslim women in London

Agnes Hann An ethnographic study of family, livelihoods and women's everyday lives in Dakar, Senegal
Matthew Wilde We shall overcome: radical populism, political morality and participatory democracy in a Venezuelan barrio
Yasna Singh Satnami self-assertion and Dalit activism: everyday life and caste in rural Chhattisgarh (central India)

Ruben Andersson Clandestine migration and the business of bordering Europe

Hakem al-Rustom Anatolian fragments: Armenians between Turkey and France

Michael Hoffmann  Patronage, exploitation and the invisible hand of Mao Tse Tung in an urban municipality in western Nepal

Alanna Cant Practising aesthetics: artisanal production and politics in a woodcarving village in Oaxaca, Mexico

Daniel Roberts The family in changing China: a local history of kinship in rural Zhejiang province

Cathrine Furberg Moe Peripheral nationhood: being Israeli in Kiryat Shemona

Denis Regnier Why not marry them?: history, essentialism and the condition of slave descendants among the southern Betsileo (Madagascar)

Luca Pes Building political relations: cooperation, segmentation and government in Bancoumana (Mali)

Tom Boylston The shade of the divine: Approaching the sacred in an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian community

Rebecca Chamberlain-Creanga Cementing modernisation: Transnational markets language and labour tension in a Soviet-era factory in Moldova

Kimberly Chong The work of financialisation: An ethnography of a global management consultancy in a post-Mao China

I-Chieh Fang Growing up and becoming independent: an ethnographic study of new generation migrant workers in China

Eona Bell An anthropological study of ethnicity and the reproduction of culture among Hong Kong Chinese families in Scotland