Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2005-2006 (archived)


Department: ANTHROPOLOGY (HUMAN SCIENCES) [Queen's Campus, Stockton]


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2005/06 Module Cap None. Location Queen's Campus Stockton


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce students to the analysis of social change in past and present societies.
  • to discuss contemporary as well as historical views of the past.
  • to debate the relative validity of theories used by archaeologists, anthropologists and sociologists in attempting to account for social and cultural change.


  • We examine changes in human societies around the world as well as the theories that people have used to understand such changes.
  • In addition we look at changing perceptions of the past in relation to wider social and cultural contexts.
  • Part 1: explanations for economic, social and political change in ancient societies.
  • coursework including discussions of the origins of agriculture, sedentism, urbanisation, social stratification and technological innovations.
  • Part 2: the development of 'modern' society and of anthropology itself.
  • Marx, Durkheim and Weber and subsequent work, including debates over post-industrialisation, post-modernism and globalisation.
  • the relationship between functionalist anthropology and western colonialism.
  • the development of ideas of nationhood, ethnicity and race.
  • Contemporary views of the past are dealt with by an examination of the heritage industry.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Acquaintence with key concepts in archaeology and the social sciences.
  • Familiarity with issues surrounding the analysis of social change.
  • Familiarity with characteristics used to define complex or ???civilised??? populations.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Read and critically evaluate literature relating to the origins of social and technological complexity in human societies.
  • Compare and contrast past and paresent societies in relation to the factors leading to socail and cultural change.
  • Summarise complex debates in writing.
Key Skills:
  • Give verbal presentation of class discussions.
  • Work with others to produce a verbal presentation.
  • Write short reports of class discussions.
  • Conduct research on a given subject using print and electronic resources.
  • Extract and integrate key concepts from primary research material.
  • Formulate a coherently argued research project.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Fieldtrips
  • Project Work
  • Essay Work.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 16 Weekly (approx) 1 hour 16
Seminars 8 Fortnightly (approx) 1 hour 8
Fieldwork 2 1 in Term 1 and 1 in Term 2 3 hour 6
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Project Work Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
2500 word project 60%
500 word class write-up 1 20%
500 word class write up 2 20%
Component: Essay Work Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
2500 word essay 80%
500 word class write-up 20%

Formative Assessment:

Project plans and essay plans submitted and returned with comments; feedback on seminar (oral and written) contributions.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University