Not available in 2022/23
AN469      Half Unit
The Anthropology of Amazonia

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Harry Walker OLD 5.06B


This course is available on the MSc in Anthropology and Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development Management 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

The course will introduce students to selected themes in the anthropology of Amazonia. It will provide a grounding in the ethnographic literature of the region while seeking to engage with current theoretical debates, highlighting their potential importance to the discipline of anthropology. Topics to be covered include history, indigenous social movements; sexuality and gender; trade and inter-ethnic relations; politics and power; illness, well-being and death. Students will be encouraged to reflect on the broader relationship between ethnography and theory, to challenge common stereotypes of Amazonia and its inhabitants, and to explore ways in which the region has inscribed itself on the imagination of anthropologists and laypersons alike.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT.

This course has a reading week in Week 6 of MT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT.

Indicative reading

Clastres, Pierre. 1987. Society Against the State: Essays in Political Anthropology.

Overing, Joanna. & Alan Passes (eds). 2000. The Anthropology of Love and Anger: The Aesthetics of Conviviality in Native Amazonia.

Walker, Harry. 2012. Under a Watchful Eye: Self, Power and Intimacy in Amazonia.

Descola, Philippe. 1994. In the Society of Nature: A Native Ecology in Amazonia.

Gow, Peter. 2002. An Amazonian Myth and its History.

Fisher, William H. 2000. Rainforest Exchanges: Industry and Community on an Amazonian Frontier.

Seeger, Anthony. 2004. Why Suyá Sing: A Musical Anthropology of an Amazonian People.

Gregor, Thomas. 1985. Anxious Pleasures: The Sexual Lives of an Amazonian People.

Lévi-Strauss, Claude. 1984. Tristes Tropiques.

Conklin, Beth. 2001. Consuming Grief: Compassionate Cannibalism in an Amazonian Society.


Take-home assessment (100%) in the MT.

The take home exam will be held the week following the end of the MT.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Controlled access 2021/22: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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