Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Anthropology


Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide an introduction to the peoples and cultures of the world from an anthropological perspective and prepare students for further critical study of the discipline.


  • Introduction to ethnographic studies.
  • Human diversity, cultural and bio-social.
  • Anthropological studies of social groups and cultural patterns.
  • Anthropological studies of comparative organisational scales of society.
  • Anthropological studies of comparative human and non-human interactions.
  • Topics studied will include such as the following: family and kinship; exchange and production; politics with and without rulers; food and taboo; witchcraft old and modern; feud, factions and violence; ritual, symbols and communication; ancestors, ethnicity and nationalism; subsistence (e.g. hunter-gathering, pastoralism), people and environments; culture and colonialism; globalisation and multiculturalism.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of this module students will
  • Know how to use factual material, showing awareness of techniques of comparison between various forms of livelihood, social order and belief systems across the world.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with basic anthropological terminology.
  • Understand some fundamental concepts of socio-cultural anthropology, e.g. holism.
  • Understand basic arguments over interpreting ethnographic data.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Read ethnography with a basic understanding of the purposes of anthropological research.
  • Use ethnographic material and methods to address elementary questions in socio-cultural anthropology.
  • Present basic ethnographic information in a form that is clear and easily assimilated.
  • Show familiarity with some of the key methods of anthropological study.
  • Display awareness of ethnocentrism, cultural relativity and their implications.
  • Distingush ethnographic film from reality TV e.g. ‘Tribal Wives’
  • Apply some key concepts and methods of the social sciences
Key Skills:
  • At the end of this module students will be able to:
  • Write a basic essay.
  • Use ethnographic information to evaluate anthropological theory
  • Understand and know how to avoid plagiarism.
  • Manage time and work to deadlines.

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

  • 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 and tutorials, geared to the specific needs of the material.
  • The lectures and tutorials are carefully integrated.
  • Audio-visual aids (videos, DVDs, powerpoint 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 people and cultures.
  • Lectures provide a traditional method of communicating not only fact but clear undersandings of process and the relationship between issues.
  • Lectures are used for the for guidance in how students can approach materials for the study of people and cultures, because they allow clear transmission of information and promote 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 concepts, 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.
  • Tutorials provide an opportunity for students to discuss a series of topics and to prepare and make oral presentations.
  • Difficult, sensitive and unresolved issues can all be approached effectively through discussion in group tutorials.
  • Tutorials will cover topics relevant to the content of the module, and allow students reflect on their learning practices.
  • Tutorials imply a higher degree of student involvement and teach subject-specfic and generic skills.
  • For anthropology students this medium cannot simply be replaced by texts or websites, though both are important adjuncts.
  • Formative assessment takes place on a regular basis and may be regarded an integral part of the day-to-day teaching process.
  • Two multiple choice on-line tests must be completed, by which skills in note taking from lectures and library research will be assessed.
  • Writing an essay provides an opportunity to give formative feedback on a student’s learning process, and encourages a questioning approach to how techniques of understanding and knowledge acquisition can be improved.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 22 1 per week 1 hour 22
Classes 5 1 hour 5
Study Skills 3
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
written examination two-and-a-half hour 100%

Formative Assessment:

Two multiple choice on-line tests must be completed and an essay of 2000 words will be submitted for formative assessment by week 14.

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