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News Archive 2010-2014

Professor Emeritus Ioan Lewis

We are sad to announce that Professor Emeritus Ioan Lewis died on 14 March 2014. After holding positions at the African Studies University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland and at UCL, he joined the LSE in 1969, where he held a Professorship in Anthropology until his retirement in 1993. He is best known for his influential ethnographic work on Somalia.

Click here| to access his FBA page.

Jensen Memorial Lectures

Professor Maurice Bloch was invited to give the Jensen Memorial lectures for the Frobenius Institut| during summer term 2012. The lectures, titled Is Religion a Special Form of the Social?, took place at the Goethe-University, Frankfurt. The Jensen Memorial Lectures are a series of guest lectures, given each year by an internationally-renowned researcher, dedicated to Adolf Ellegard Jensen (1899-1965), former Director of the Frobenius Institut and of Frankfurt's Museum of Ethnology.

View the podcasts of the Jensen Lectures at http://www.youtube.com/user/FrobeniusInstitut|

Student prizewinners

Research students' prizes

Alanna Cant was awarded the Raymond Firth Prize for her paper Made in China: factory copies and the auras of Mexican tourist art, presented at the Anthropology department's Research Seminar on Anthropological Theory (Friday Seminar) during the 2011-12 sessions.

Maxim Bolt (PhD 2011) has been chosen as runner-up for the 2011-12 Audrey Richards Prize for his thesis Rooting Production: Life and Labour on the Settler Farms of the Zimbabwean-South African Border. The prize, presented biennially by the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK), is awarded to the best doctoral thesis in African Studies which has been successfully examined in a UK institute of higher education during the preceding two calendar years. Maxim will receive his prize at the ASAUK conference in Leeds on 7th September.

Previous winners of the Audrey Richards Prize have included alumna Will Norman (PhD 2005) and Fraser McNeill (PhD 2007) who won in 2006 and 2008 respectively.

Masters students' prizes

The Maurice Freedman prize for the best Social Anthropology dissertation was awarded to Anna-Riikka Kauppinen. 

Maria Munson received the Lucy Mair prize for the best Anthropology and Development dissertation.

The recipient of the Edvard Westermarck prize, for the best Learning and Cognition dissertation, was Ivan Deschenaux.

Mark Haskew was awarded the Isaac Schapera prize for the best Law, Anthropology & Society dissertation.

The Fei Xiaotong prize, for the best China in Comparative Perspective dissertation, went to Yuanqing Yi.

Undergraduate students' prizes

Kate Ryan has been awarded the Jean la Fontaine Prize for 2011/12. This prize is given by the Anthropology department each year to an outstanding undergraduate degree student. Kate successfully achieved a first class classification in every course she took during her three years' study towards the BA in Social Anthropology at LSE.

Barry Ronan has been awarded the Michael Sallnow Prize for 2011/12 for the excellent mark he received for his third year undergraduate dissertation: “Responsibility, agency and genocidal groups”.

LSE Anthropology tops Guardian league table

We are delighted to announce that the LSE's Department of Anthropology is top-ranked in the Guardian's University Guide 2013 Anthropology league table|.

Adam Kuper on Thinking Allowed

Professor Adam Kuper joined a debate on kinship on BBC Radio 4's Thinking Allowed| programme on 13 June 2012. The programme's host, Laurie Taylor, talked to Maurice Godelier about his ground-breaking study into the evolution of kinship with Henrietta Moore and Adam Kuper taking part in the discussion. You can listen to the programme on the BBC Radio 4 podcast site|.

In Memory of Peter Loizos 1937-2012 


The Department of Anthropology is very sad to announce the death of Emeritus Professor Peter Loizos, on Friday 2nd March.

Peter Loizos started working at LSE in 1969, and became professor of Anthropology in 1997. He was a specialist in, and made well-known contributions (among other things) to the anthropology of the Hellenic world with special reference to politics, ethnicity and nationalism in Cyprus; and to the study of gender relations in the Mediterranean. He was an expert on ethnographic film and on the study and teaching of ethnographic research methods. He also served as the editor of Man (now the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute). His publications include The Heart Grown Bitter: A Chronicle of Cypriot War Refugees (Cambridge 1981) and Iron in the soul: displacement, livelihood and health in Cyprus (Oxford, 2008). He was co-editor, with Patrick Heady, of Conceiving persons: ethnographies of procreation, fertility and growth (London, 1999).  

In addition to these achievements, he is remembered with great fondness as an excellent teacher and an extraordinarily supportive colleague and friend.  

Peter Loizos
Born 17th May 1937.
Died 2nd March 2012.

For DART project interviews with Peter Loizos by Clarinda Still about his key findings and experiences, see http://elearning.lse.ac.uk/dart/interviews/loizos.html|.

To see a film of Peter Loizos interviewed by Alan Macfarlane on 14th September 2002, see http://www.alanmacfarlane.com/DO/filmshow/loizos_fast.htm|.

More information about Peter's work can be found on his Departmental staff web page|. Obituaries have been published in The Guardian on 20th March 2012| and in The Telegraph on 9th May 2012|

A memorial service| for Peter was held at 5pm in the New Theatre, LSE on 18 May 2012.

Since Peter's death we have received many tributes, memories and messages of condolence and have created a web page for them here|.

Dr Matthew Engelke on Thinking Allowed

Matthew Engelke| appeared on BBC Radio 4's Thinking Allowed| on 29 February 2012, talking about his study of the Bible Society of England and Wales. You can hear the programme on the BBC's web site.

LSE research highlighted in special issue of Africa journal

Africa book coverThe findings of research on popular economies in South Africa, led by LSE Anthropology professor Deborah James, have been published in a special issue of Africa, the journal of the International African Institute.The special 2012 issue is guest edited by Deborah James and (then) LSE researcher Elizabeth Hull, now a lecturer at SOAS. The articles arise out of an ESRC-funded research project.The broader context is one in which financialisation is increasing, and the state and banks try to incorporate more and more people into mainstream financial structures. But informal arrangements nevertheless persist - and expand. Ideologies and practices of neoliberalism are juxtaposed with long-founded expectations of social welfare, which have been overlaid, in turn, on an uneven mix of market-orientated and state-regulated practices.The research project explored the effects of the attempted formalisation of investment, credit, enterprise, wage labour and insurance, and of state attempts to regulate gambling and to address over-indebtedness, seeking to understand whether these efforts have succeeded in creating a uniformly formal economic realm or whether deepening inequality has prompted new divisions.

For Africa, click here|.
For more on the Popular Economies project, click here|.

Marshall Sahlins  - Honorary Doctorate

Photograph taken at the Marshall Sahlins orationMarshall Sahlins was nominated by our Department to receive an honorary doctorate, the highest academic honour the LSE can bestow. The degree was awarded at the graduation ceremony held on Wednesday 14th December 2011, alongside various MSc degree awards and three PhDs (Maxim Bolt, Elizabeth Frantz and Jordan Mullard).

For a transcript of the department's oration, click here|.

For more about the ceremony please click here|.

Watch a video of the ceremony below.

Recent Awards

Professor Martha Mundy| has been awarded one of the 2011 Student Union's Teaching Excellence Awards. The Union "sought teachers who inspired students to use what they had learnt in the classroom to think about the world differently". Martha's work as a tutor and supervisor, with students at different stages in their student careers who have worked with her over some years, was commended for "demonstrating the practical application of her academic expertise and motivating students to do the same".

Dr Fenella Cannell| was awarded the ASA-C-SAP National Award for Excellence in Teaching Anthropology, 2010-11. Details about her entry can be viewed here.|  

Professor Martha Mundy| has been awarded £6,640 from the British Academy. The research will analyse recent transformations in the political economy of the agriculture sector in the wake of the oil boom.

Professor Martha Mundy| received £99,000 from the Royal Society. The funds form the Newton International Fellowship for Mr Ronald Jennings (who participates in our MSc Law, Anthropology and Society programme interdisciplinary research seminars).

Dr Matthew Engelke| has been awarded £76,952 from the ESRC. He is conducting an in-depth anthropological study of the British Humanist Association.

Dr Heonik Kwon has been awarded £802,276 from the Academy of Korean Studies. The AKS award will fund a laboratory for Korean Studies for five years on the theme of 'Beyond the Korean War', an international, interdisciplinary research on local and global histories and meanings of the Korean War.

Student Prize Winners

Christopher Bell (BSc Social Anthropology) has been awarded the department's Michael Sallnow Prize for obtaining the highest mark in the third year Special Essay in 2010/11.

Kimberly Chong won the 2010/1 Firth Prize for "Implementing Strategy, Reengineering Culture: Management Consulting and The Project of Modernisation in post-Mao China" which was the best paper presented by a research student the Anthropology Department's Research Seminar on Anthropological Theory. The committee praised the standard of all the papers presented by our research students in 2010/1.

Katie Huston was awarded the 2009/10 Maurice Freedman prize for the best MSc Social Anthropology dissertation. Her dissertation is entitled "Citizenship re-extended? AIDS policy, biomedicine and marginalisation in South Africa".

Tim McLellan was awarded the 2009/10 Isaac Schapera prize for the best MSc Law, Anthropology & Society dissertation. His dissertation is entitled "Welfare exploitation, identity and (mis)recognition in contemporary Australia".

Natalia Buitron Arias was awarded the 2009/10 Edvard Westermarck prize for the best MSc Anthropology of Learning & Cognition dissertation. Her dissertation is entitled "Children's Understanding of Supernatural Illness: A Discussion of an Ethnography of Ecuadorian Illness in Light of Developmental Research".

Nicolas Ferminet was awarded the 2009/10 Lucy Mair prize for the best MSc Anthropology and Development dissertation. His dissertation is entitled "Moral Spheres and Islamic Finance: From universal values to local acculturation and mutual recognition".

Melvin Sanborn was awarded the 2009/10 Fei Xiaotong prize for the best MSc China in Comparative Perspective dissertation. His dissertation is entitled "A Chosen Trauma: Comparing Victim Narratives in China and Japan".

Gillian Mann was awarded the Firth Prize for "Being, Becoming and Unbecoming a Congolese Refugee in Dar es Salaam" which was the best paper presented by a research student the Anthropology Department's Research Seminar on Anthropological Theory in 2009/10.

Meadhbh McIvor (BA Anthropology and Law) was awarded the department's Jean la Fontaine Prize in 2009/10 for her outstanding performance in her degree overall as she obtained a first in all 9 of the units which counted towards her degree classification.

Philip Proudfoot (BA Social Anthropology) and Nicholas Winnett (BA Social Anthropology) shared the department's Michael Sallnow Prize for the best Special Essay in 2009/10.

Congratulations to them all!

Professor Anjan Ghosh

It is with great sadness that we report the sudden death of Professor Anjan Ghosh in Kolkata on June 5 2010. Anjan Ghosh was both a public intellectual and social scientist who was widely know among South Asianists. He worked at the Centre for Studies in the Social Sciences (CSSSC), Kolkata for most of his life. He was an exemplary combination of academic and activist who was also well known for his kindness to young scholars.

Obituary| (written by Laura Bear|)

Professor Martha Mundy honoured by Harvard University for her co-authored book Governing Property, Making the Modern State: Law, Administration and Production in Ottoman Syria

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University is pleased to sponsor the exploratory seminar "Towards a New Agenda for Multi-disciplinary Research on Modern Middle Eastern History," which will be led by Roger Owen, A.J. Meyer Professor of Middle Eastern History at Harvard University, and Beshara Doumani, Professor of History at University of California, Berkeley. It begins on Friday morning, May 14, 2010 and concludes after dinner on Saturday, May 15th.

The seminar leaders have described the purpose of the seminar as follows:

"The aim of the exploratory seminar is to bring together a group of international scholars to discuss the many academic and methodological implications of Martha Mundy|'s new book, Governing Property, Making the Modern State: Law, Administration and Production in Ottoman Syria, I.B. Tauris (2007). This path-breaking work, which has been two decades in the making, provides, for the first time, a detailed and archive-based account of the way in which the Ottoman government attempted to provide individual title to the lands famed by certain villages in what is now the northern district of Trans-Jordan. The subject of land registration, although written about quite extensively in general, has never been treated either with such a level of theoretical sophistication or in such a local-specific way before. Not the least of its many virtues is the way it presents a way of thinking about the development of Middle Eastern rural property relations in a way that should be instantly recognizable to the peoples of the region themselves."