Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2009-2010 (archived)


Department: Anthropology


Type Tied Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2009/10 Module Cap None. Location Durham
Tied to L602
Tied to LF64
Tied to LL36


  • Political & Economic Organization (ANTH2051) OR Kinship & Belief Systems (ANTH2041).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To give students a critical understanding of the relationships between language and other socioculutural phenomena through examination of ethnographic and linguistic materials
  • To give students an understanding of the ways in which anthroplologists, linguists and others have historically understood these relationships
  • Enable students to interrogate these materials using conceptual tools acquired in other anthropology modules


  • The module is intended to enable students to:
  • consider the relationships that exist between linguistics and anthropology
  • examine a number of influential theories of language
  • evaluate the use of the theories in approaches to anthropology studied in other modules
  • examine theories that:
  • treat languague as an autonomous entity
  • universalist and relativist perspectives
  • contextually based theories that analyse speech in terms of non-linguistic phenomena, and
  • approaches that foreground language as a kind of practice in itself

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Have a thorough understanding of the intellectual topography related to linguistic anthropology.
  • Have a demonstrable in-depth knowledge of certain key issues.
  • Integrate and evaluate a range of information and data from ethnographic and theoretical sources.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Be familiar with, and able to demonstrate, links and differences between the ideas and approaches adopted by various anthropologists/linguists.
  • Able to evaluate and critically analyse anthropological/linguistic literature and related social thought.
  • To discern and establish connections between intellectual arguments.
  • To present a coherent demonstration of the theoretical implications of different arguments.
Key Skills:
  • To succinctly present complex arguments related to current issues as advanced by anthropologists/linguists.
  • To identify a researchable problem independently and explore it.
  • To find relevant information and utilise socio-cultural anthropological sources effectively.
  • To construct an effective argument that demonstrates an awareness of the subtlety and complexity of selected theoretical issues.
  • Demonstrate an ability to explore the issues creatively in writing.

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

  • Lectures, seminars, presentations, essays. Lectures give students summaries of the key positions and arguments of important authors. Seminars will allow them to interrogate the assumptions of these authors. Presentations give the student a chance to study a particular theme in depth and work together to create a coherent argument.
  • Summative essay tests 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.
  • 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 the Summative Essay as well as on seminar presentations.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 fortnightly 1 hr 10
Seminars 10 fortnightly 2 hr 20
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2000 words 100%
Component: Exam Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Exam 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment provided on presentations.

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