Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module ANTH2227: Conceptual Issues in Anthropology and Psychology

Department: Anthropology

ANTH2227: Conceptual Issues in Anthropology and Psychology

Type Tied Level 2 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham
Tied to PAJHnewcode


  • ANTH1091 Human Evolution and Diversity AND PSYC1071 Introduction to Psychology 1 OR PSYC1081 Introduction to Psychology 2


  • ANTH2187 Research Project Design

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • ANTH2207 Biology, Culture and Society, ANTH2197 Reading Ethnography, ANTH2217 Debating Anthropology and Archaeology


  • To provide students with an advanced understanding of debates about the relationship between psychological and anthropological approaches.
  • To show how pyschology and anthropology provide overlapping yet distinct perspectives on key aspects of social, cultural and biological aspects of human life.
  • To explore how common theories, concepts and approaches have moved between the two disciplines.
  • To develop students' skills in researching and communicating a range of contemporary and conceptual issues in the two disciplines.
  • To provide students an opportunity to discuss anthropological and pyschological research in a tutorial / seminar context.
  • To prepare students for the integrated Psychology and Anthropology dissertation at Level 3.


  • The focus of the module will be on research-led teaching (highlighting current research areas in the Anthropology and Psychology Departments) and the development of skills for understanding and communicating empirical findings and theoretical concepts.
  • Historical dimensions to the development of anthropology and psychology as distinct yet related disciplines.
  • How concepts and approaches have moved between the disciplines.
  • How anthropology and pyschology have provided conflicting and/or complementary accounts of key aspects of human and nonhuman life.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • In depth knowledge relating to a sub-set of topics researched within the Anthropology and Psychology Departments.
  • Critical understanding of historical dimensions of the relationship between psychology and anthropology.
  • Knowledge and critical awareness of the similarities and differences in the ways that psychologists and anthropologists have approached key issues of common interest.
  • Understanding of current debates about the relationship between the two disciplines.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to synthesise psychological and anthropological approaches and insights.
  • Understand the relationship between theory and data, including the ability to evaluate competing theories and concepts.
  • Ability to formulate research questions and hypotheses.
Key Skills:
  • Synthesis and analysis of written and orally presented ideas and research evidence.
  • Summarising and exemplifying ideas and arguments.
  • Competence in written and oral communication skills and responding to questions.
  • Critical evaluation of the quality of evidence and arguments.
  • Ability to adopt different theoretical perspectives and see relationships between them.

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

  • The informal components of the module use a variety of methods, including posting course documents and information on DUO, seminar presentation and associated oral discussions.
  • Lectures delivered by staff with anthropological and psychological backgrounds will give a broad overview of key ideas, approaches, debates, issues and historical context.
  • Seminars provide an opportunity to critically explore a series of topics in greater depth, to make oral presentations and to debate key questions posed in the lectures.
  • The summative essay tests skills of understanding, analysis, information collection and presentation, with respect to a specific issue drawing on psychological and anthropological approaches.
  • Oral presentations and class discussions allow students to develop critical perspectives on key issues and to analyse and synthesise competing accounts from psychological and anthropological perspectives.
  • Formative feedback will also form an integral part of the seminar discussions. Students are encouraged to utilise office hours of contributing staff for feedback and clarification on issues raised in seminars and lectures.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 7 Distributed evenly in Michaelmas Term 1 hour 7
Seminars 6 Distributed evenly in Michaelmas Term 1 hour 6
Preparation and Reading 87
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written assignment 2500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment and feedback is integral to questions and comments on seminar presentations and debates. Written feedback will be given on a 500 word plan of the written assignment.

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