Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module ANTH30C7: Decolonising Anthropology

Department: Anthropology

ANTH30C7: Decolonising Anthropology

Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Not available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • At least 40 credits of Level 1 Anthropology modules AND 40 credits of Level 2 Anthropology modules


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To encourage critical reflection on the legacies of the colonial encounter for the practices and theories of different sub-disciplines of Anthropology.
  • To provide students and staff with a set of critical tools to reflect on their own positions and practices within post-colonial structures of power, prejudice, and inequality.
  • To co-produce practical strategies for ‘decolonising’ Anthropology
  • Engage in ‘decolonised’ pedagogy, through the co-development of forms of teaching, learning, and assessment throughout the module


  • The module will examine legacies and continuations of colonialism and how they shape the discipline of Anthropology. These will be explored via examples from across Anthropology’s various sub-disciplines, including social anthropology; anthropology of health; and biological anthropology.
  • Students will examine epistemological, methodological and institutional influences of colonialism on Anthropology
  • Building on the insights gained from critical discussion, students will be supported to work alone or groups on projects that aim to ‘decolonise’ Anthropology.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Demonstrate advanced levels of current knowledge around debates on ‘decolonisation’ in Anthropology
  • Deploy critical skills and insights around ‘decolonising’ in a practical way.
  • Competency in accessing and assimilating specialised research literature relating to ‘decolonisation’ from across the discipline of Anthropology.
  • Critical awareness of the relationship between colonial legacies and practices of teaching, learning and assessment in higher education.
  • Choosing an appropriate format for the assessment.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • In depth knowledge of the legacies of the colonial encounter across the breadth of Anthropology.
Key Skills:
  • Preparation and effective communication of critical arguments in written and alternative forms.
  • Development of practical activity based on critically engaged thinking.

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

  • The module will integrate lecture, and class components.
  • Lecture elements will provide students with an outline of key knowledge and debates in the topic area, discuss the literature that students should explore, and provide relevant examples and cases studies.
  • Classes will develop topics introduced in lectures and required reading to analyse aspects or case studies in greater depth via discussion, group work and practical exercises, to prepare students for their summative assignment
  • Student preparation and reading time will allow engagement with specific references in advance of tutorials and general and particular reading related to the assessment.
  • Choosing an appropriate format for the assessment is a learning outcome for this module. Students will be required as part of one formative to develop learning outcomes and assessment criteria. They will need to prove that their assignment choice meets the criteria and will result in the chosen learning outcomes. Summative Assessment is up to 2 pieces of writing totalling 2500 words, or an equivalent alternative non-written format. The assessments can be presented in a format chosen by students, for example: short essays; blog posts; critical reflections; vlogs; etc. The 2500 word total is per student. If they choose, students can submit work in groups for one of their assignments.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 1 1 hour 1
Classes 7 Weekly (weeks 2-8 inclusive) 2 hours 14
Preparation and Reading 85
Classes 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Module portfolio 2500 words or equivalent 100%

Formative Assessment:

Extract of critical reflections (250 words) and an outline for your assignment (250 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