Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module ANTH2207: Biology, Culture and Society

Department: Anthropology

ANTH2207: Biology, Culture and Society

Type Tied Level 2 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham
Tied to L601
Tied to L602
Tied to B991
Tied to LL36
Tied to CFG0
Tied to LMV0
Tied to LA01


  • Being Human (ANTH1111)


  • Research Project Design (ANTH2187)

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Reading Ethnography (ANTH2197)


  • To introduce students to problems of interest to both biological and social scientists, and engage with debates and controversies occurring across disciplinary boundaries.
  • To develop skills in identifying the theoretical orientation of anthropological texts.
  • To give students the tools to think critically about the possibilities, limitations and the challenges of integrating different approaches.


  • Historical and intellectual contexts in which different subfields of anthropology developed.
  • Key debates, controversies and examples of collaboration involving different subfields of anthropology and related disciplines.
  • Theories and case studies on the interrelationships between biology and culture, their coevolution, and the multifaceted, biosocial character of the human condition.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Critical awareness of possibilities, limitations and challenges of working across the different sub-disciplines within anthropology.
  • Students will learn about the perspectives from which social and biological scientists approach disputed issues of key ideas in theory and of the presuppositions underlying those perspectives.
  • Understanding how sources of evidence have been used to support these perspectives, which may include evolutionary theory, ethnography, social theory, animal behaviour, genetics, and psychology.
  • Awareness of theoretically and empirically based criticisms of particular perspectives.
  • Familiarity with the technical vocabularies of social science and biological science as these apply to the study of anthropology.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Negotiate the boundaries, overlaps and intersections of human biology and culture.
  • Develop skills in applying types of evidence and modes of reasoning employed in social and biological anthropology.
  • Construct a critical argument about the possibilities and limitations of integrating natural and social sciences.
Key Skills:
  • Intellectual agility, and the ability to think critically and coherently across different paradigms and perspectives.
  • Ability to integrate and evaluate a range of information and data from different sources, discern and establish connections, extract material points and present a coherent theoretical and practical understanding of them.
  • Condensing and communicating complex ideas succinctly through blog posts.

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

  • Lectures will map out the general intellectual context of the topics, outline key theories and present relevant case studies.
  • Lectures will be delivered live, and may be supported by pre-recorded videos and/or study exercises as appropriate to the material covered from week to week.
  • Seminars will provide students with opportunities to discuss material covered in the lectures and readings with the module tutor/s and peers.
  • Group blogs will provide students with opportunities to develop their own perspectives on topics and engage in collaborative learning via discussion threads with peers. Students will post on the blog at regular intervals during the term, with deadlines set by the module tutor.
  • Formative assessment will involve a practice blog post.
  • Summative assessment will be based on individual contributions to a blog based on topics covered in the module.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 1 hour 10
Seminars 3 Teaching weeks 1/2 (seminar 1), 5/6 (seminar 2), 9/10 (seminar 3) 1 hour 3
Preparation and Reading 88
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Blog 2500 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Practice blog post of 500 words.

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