Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module ANTH3257: Anthropology of Tobacco

Department: Anthropology

ANTH3257: Anthropology of Tobacco

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


  • ANTH2111 Sex, Reproduction and Love OR ANTH2141 Global Health and Disease OR ANTH2161 Kinship and Religion OR ANTH2051 Politics and Economics


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To take an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural perspective on the place of tobacco in history and the contemporary world.
  • To consider the materiality of tobacco and its associated paraphernalia and their power to shape human life and thought.


  • Tobacco in indigenous contexts
  • Tobacco in history
  • Tobacco in contemporary society
  • Tobacco control

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Demonstrate higher levels of knowledge and understanding of tobacco and its impact on human life and health.
  • Explain one or more of the theoretical approaches in the field broadly defined as material culture studies.
  • Apply one or more of the approaches used in material culture studies in a study of a tobacco-related object of their choice
  • An depth knowledge of tobacco in history and contemporary life through the use of a diverse range of literature and other resources.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Applying key skills (see below) to discourses and debates pertaining to anthropological, medical and public discourses surrounding tobacco production and consumption
Key Skills:
  • Critical analysis of primary and secondary data
  • Self-reflection on knowledge and skills acquired and developed
  • Accessing library resources
  • Undertaking independent study and research
  • Preparation and effective communication of interpretations and arguments in written form
  • Analysis and interpretation of visual material

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

  • Lectures will provide students with an outline of key knowledge and debates relevant to the anthropology of tobacco, direct students to different kinds of literature for further exploration, and provide relevant examples and case studies.
  • Seminars will permit further discussion and development of topics introduced in lectures, and will prepare students for their formative and summative assignments.
  • Student preparation and reading time will allow engagement with specific references in advance of and following on from lectures and serminars, and with more specialised reading related to the assessment.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 1 hour 10
Seminars 5 Fortnightly 1 hour 5
Preparation and Reading 85
Total 100

Summative Assessment

The summative assignment will take the form of an illustrated written account of a tobacco-related object. This may be in the form of an essay with supplementary visual material, or a video or podcast (guide length 10 minutes) with supplementary written material.
Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assignment 1500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

The formative assignment will be a 500 word piece of work based on an exercise developed in the classes. This will enable students to experiment with different presentational styles found in the field of material culture studies that are relevant to the anthropology of tobacco.

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