Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2009-2010 (archived)


Department: Anthropology


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2009/10 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • People and Cultures (ANTH1061).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • An intermediate core module on the four main areas of socio-cultural anthropology: economic anthropology, political anthropology, kinship and marriage, and the anthropology of religion and belief systems.
  • It explores in further depth the key-socio-cultural issues and theory essential to an anthropological education.
  • This module co-ordinates coverage of key themes with the associate module Kinship and Belief Systems (ANTH2041), which adopts a regional focus on various core topics.


  • Contents: Students are introduced to a range of theoretical issues that build progressively into a fuller understanding of how anthropologists interpret ethnographic data on the one hand, and of the perspectives they employ to understand socio-cultural phenomena generally on the other.
  • The module complements the regional perspective offered in Kinship and Belief Systems (ANTH2041).
  • Synopsis: to ensure a broad acquaintance at an intermediate level with some of the main topics of Sociocultural anthropology seen in theoretical context.
  • The module co-ordinates coverage of key themes with the associated module Kinship and Belief Systems (ANTH2041), which adopts a regional focus on various core topics.
  • Summary Syllabus: The module has a thematic focus to cover core topics such as economic anthropology, political anthropology, kinship and marriage, and the anthropology of religion and belief systems.
  • It explores in further depth the key socio-cultural issues and theory essential to an anthropological education.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Factual Material: General awareness of the basic issues covered by the main areas in socio-cultural anthropology.
  • A demonstrable more in-depth knowledge of certain key issues.
  • Knowledge of middle-range anthropological theory.
  • Integrate and evaluate a range of information and data from ethnographic and theoretical sources in association with a regional perspective given in Kinship and Belief Systems (ANTH2041).
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Familiarity with the concepts and methods of socio-cultural anthropological analysis.
  • Understanding the technical vocabularies of social science as these apply to the study of anthropology.
  • Familiarity with, and ability to access, sources of anthropological knowledge.
  • Ability to analyse critically and evaluate anthropological literature and arguments.
  • Discern and establish connections between ethnographic data and theoretical arguments.
  • Present a coherent demonstration of your theoretical and practical understanding.
Key Skills:
  • Search information sources effectively (e.g. libraries, archives) and find information.
  • Use academic literature effectively.
  • Use information technology and demonstrate word processing competence.
  • Structure and communicate ideas effectively in writing.
  • Apply key concepts and methods of the social sciences.
  • Adopt a holistic approach to solving problems.

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

  • Lectures and tutorials in Sociocultural Anthropology I and II will give an integrated approach to theoretical and regional studies.
  • Lectures, videos (with discussion) and tutorials in co-ordination with Kinship and Belief Systems (ANTH2041) and an intensive tutorial programme accompanies this module.
  • Assessment and feedback is described below.
  • The formal components of the module use a range of teaching modes and methods, within an integrated framework to contribute to the intended learning outcomes as listed above.
  • The module benefits from a balance between lectures, practicals and tutorials, geared to the specific needs of the material.
  • The lectures, practicals and tutorials are carefully integrated.
  • Audio-visual aids (videos, slides, summaries and diagrams on overhead projection sheets etc.) are used where appropriate.
  • The informal components of the module utilise a variety of methods, including posting course documents and information on DUO, seminar presentations and associated oral discussions.
  • Lectures will cover topics relevant for providing students with an understanding of theories currently available for the study of Sociocultural anthropology.
  • Lectures provide a traditional method of communicating not only fact but clear understandings of process and the relationship between issues.
  • They are used for the primary delivery of material in Sociocultural anthropology because they allow clear transmission of information in an active learning environment where students can question and seek clarification.
  • Lectures introduce students to issues, structure the subject matter and provide a grounding in principal issues so they can progress to further learning and study.
  • Lectures provide the framework for analysis and relevant background, theoretical and/or historical information, and are used to assist in the assimilation of technically demanding or conceptually difficult material.
  • Practicals and tutorials provide an opportunity for students to discuss a series of topics and to make oral presentations.
  • Difficult, sensitive and unresolved issues can all be approached successfully through discussion in practicals and tutorials.
  • Practicals and tutorials will cover topics relevant to the content of the module.
  • Practicals and tutorials imply a higher degree of student involvement and teach subject-specific and generic skills.
  • For anthropology students this medium cannot simply be replaced by texts or websites, though both are important adjuncts.
  • Summative essays test skills of understanding, analysis, information collection and presentation, while final written examinations test assimilated knowledge and understanding and the ability to write succinctly and analytically at short notice.
  • Students are required to submit two essays based on seminar presentations, each of 2000 words, one in the Michaelmas Term and one in the Epiphany Term (which together will contribute 20% towards your total mark for the module).
  • The remaining 80% comes from a two-hour examination in May/June.
  • Formative assessment takes place on a regular basis and may be regarded an integral part of the day-to-day teaching process.
  • Formative feedback is given on Summative Essays as well as on two seminar presentations, including a one page written handout for distribution in class, scheduled at appropriate times.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 22 1 per week 1 hour 22
Tutorials 5 Distributed 2:2:1 in the 3 terms 1 hour 5
Preparation and Reading 173
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
written examination 2 hours 15 minutes 100%
Component: Essay Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
essay 1, Michaelmas term 2000 words 50%
essay 2, Epiphany term 2000 words 50%

Formative Assessment:

Formative feedback on summative essays and tutorial notes to be submitted.

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