AN1E0      Half Unit
Being Human: Contemporary Themes in Social Anthropology (Anthropology Exchanges)

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Gisa Weszkalnys


This course is available on the Exchange Programme for Students in Anthropology (Cape Town), Exchange Programme for Students in Anthropology (Fudan), Exchange Programme for Students in Anthropology (Melbourne) and Exchange Programme for Students in Anthropology (Tokyo). This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

This course provides a general introduction to Social Anthropology as the comparative study of human societies and cultures. Students will be introduced to key themes and debates in the history of the discipline. Ethnographic case studies will be drawn from work on a variety of societies, including hunter-gatherers, farmers, industrial labourers, and urban city-dwellers.

The Lent Term will address the different types of relations people have with other beings, with places, and with a variety of technologies and infrastructures, and what how these are mediated by and produce forms of power, identity, and differences. The term is also divided into three blocks: 1) Relations, 2) Place, 3) Technology. Some of the questions considered during the term include:

Is it valid to distinguish between people and things? What are the politics of human animal relations? To what extent is place a product of power? Can people only be dispossessed of material belongings? In what ways does technology mediate and reinvent expressions of race and racism? Do infrastructures only become visible on breakdown?


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

This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of virtual lectures, classes and online interactive activities. The contact hours listed above are the minimum expected. This course has a reading week in Week 6 of 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 one tutorial essay for this course to their academic mentor in the LT. For non-Anthropology students taking this course, a formative essay may be submitted to the course teacher in the LT.

Indicative reading

M Engelke, Think Like an Anthropologist (2017)

R. Govindrajan, Animal Intimacies: Interspecies Relatedness in India’s Central Himalayas (2018)


Essay (100%, 2500 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Capped 2021/22: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.