Not available in 2013/14
AN429      Half Unit
The Anthropology of Southern Africa

This information is for the 2013/14 session.


This course is available on the MSc in Anthropology and Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development (Management), MSc in Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies, MSc in Religion in the Contemporary World and MSc in Social Anthropology. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

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 seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to prepare discussion material for presentation in the seminars

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 (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2012/13: Unavailable

Average class size 2012/13: Unavailable

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information