Not available in 2013/14
AN235      Half Unit
The Anthropology of Southern Africa

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Julie Archambault.


This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law, BA in Social Anthropology and BSc in Social Anthropology. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


Undergraduates taking this course should have completed an introductory course in anthropology unless granted exemption by the course teacher

Course content

This course serves as an introduction to the ethnography of Southern Africa; Topics to be considered include colonialism and postcolonialism, Christian missionization, labour migration, Apartheid and anti-colonial struggles, changing kinship and gender relations, ethnicity and identity, witchcraft, and the role of performance and expressive culture in social transformation. The ethnography of South and southern Africa has played a formative role in social anthropology, generating some of the key theoretical issues which underpin the discipline. This course provides students with an opportunity to understand changes in anthropological theory and practice by comparing the classic ethnographic texts with more recent writings from the same regions. Areas covered include South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The course develops students' ethnographic knowledge about specific communities, and also equips them with the skills to address key theoretical issues from the broader corpus of anthropological writings, in the context of data from this particular region.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to prepare discussion material for presentation in the classes and are required to write assessment essays. Anthropology students taking this course will have an opportunity to submit a tutorial essay for this course to their personal tutors. For non-Anthropology students taking this course, a formative essay may be submitted to the course teacher.

Indicative reading

J Comaroff, Body of Power, Spirit of Resistance; J L; J Comaroff,
From Revelation to Revolution; J Ferguson, Expectations of Modernity;
L White, Magomero; A Ashforth, Madumo: A Man Bewitched; D Lan,
Guns and Rain; V Turner, The Forest of Symbols. Detailed reading
lists are provided at the beginning of the course.


Exam (70%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (20%, 2000 words) and presentation (10%) in the LT.

Students who do not give a presentation will receive a mark of 0 (incomplete). The written essay of 1500-2000 words will be on the topic covered in the presentation.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2012/13: Unavailable

Average class size 2012/13: Unavailable

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information