AR1SOC-Contemporary world cultures: an introduction to social anthropology

Module Provider: Archaeology
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:4
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Thomas Grisaffi

Email: t.grisaffi@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module provides a general introduction to social anthropology as the comparative study of human cultures.  The module will introduce you to major themes in the discipline of anthropology, which may include: the interaction between nature and culture seen through the study of body techniques and the senses; how men are thought to be different from women; the debate about the integration of hunter-gatherer societies into the modern world; the roles of religion and ritual in social life; and whether ‘ethnic groups’ are natural entities. The module will also consider what anthropology has to say about some key issues in today’s world, such as modernity, globalisation, consumption, exchange and violence. The module will highlight the connections between anthropology, geography and archaeology. The module is taught by a team of social anthropologists who are active researchers, and who will draw on their own research experience to inform their teaching.


Aims:


  • To introduce you to anthropological theory and ethnographic texts.

  • To familiarize you with a range of questions that anthropologists have focused on via their research in societies around the world.

  • To examine a range of political, economic, family, and religious systems found among different peoples.

  • To provide you with an understanding of the applicability of anthropological theories and concepts to contemporary global events, issues and processes.

  • To explore connections between anthropology, geography and archaeology.

  • To encourage you to think critically about what is variable and what is universal in human culture and society.


Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of this module, you will be able to:




  • Demonstrate an understanding of one or more key anthropological theories, supported by one or more contemporary case studies;

  • Demonstrate an ability to apply anthropological theories and/or concepts to contemporary issues, in an appropriate, selective and informed way;

  • Assemble and synthesise anthropological theories, concepts and case studies in structured writing.


Additional outcomes:

By the end of this module, you will have greater confidence in your ability to apply your learning from this and other related modules to a range of issues. You will have experience of working in a small group on class discussion exercises and will have been introduced to some of the main themes and issues that will form the basis of future enquiry in related courses in human geography and archaeology.


Outline content:

Students on this module will encounter a wide range of topics, ranging from family life to key theories in economic anthropology. Specific themes will vary, but may include the interaction between nature and culture seen through the study of body techniques and the senses; how men are thought to be different from women; the debate about the integration of hunter-gatherer societies into the modern world; the roles of religion and ritual in social life; and whether ‘ethnic groups’ a re natural entities. A key emphasis will be on considering how anthropological theory can help us to understand contemporary issues in human society, such as modernity, globalisation, consumption, exchange and violence. The module will also explore relevant connections and overlaps between Anthropology, Archaeology and Geography, such as approaches to material culture in the contemporary world.


Global context:

Social anthropology is inherently global; this module encourages students to look at diverse examples from across the globe in order to understand cultural variability and human universals. Anthropological research mostly focuses on the places and peoples whose stories are seldom told.  The teaching team will make use of their own research experiences, but link theory to contemporary global events.


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This module is divided into ten blocks of two lectures, led by a member of the teaching team, supported by fortnightly seminar sessions. The module is taught by social anthropologists from across SAGES, who will draw on their own research experiences.



As a 20-credit module, An Introduction to Social Anthropology should involve 200 hours of study time: attending lectures and seminars, general background reading, reading for your essay and shorter assignment, essay writing, and completing the short assignment. You should therefore expect the following sort of workload:




  • 25 hours: Contact hours in formal teaching sessions (lectures & seminars);

  • 80 hours: General background reading and note-taking from key texts for each week’s lecture topic(s) - i.e. 8 hours per week;

  • 25 hours: General background reading and note-taking from key texts for each of the seminar topic(s) - i.e. 5 hours every two w eeks;

  • 50 hours: Reading for, preparation of, and writing your essay;

  • 20 hours: Reading for, and completion of, the shorter assignment


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 5
Guided independent study: 175
       
Total hours by term 200
       
Total hours for module

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Set exercise 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

An assessed essay of 2,500 words; worth 70%



An assessed piece of coursework worth 30% of the grade.


Formative assessment methods:

Oral feedback will also be given during the discussion seminars.


Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 40% overall.


Reassessment arrangements:

Re-assessment in August.


Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 4 April 2020

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MODULE DESCRIPTION DOES NOT FORM ANY PART OF A STUDENT'S CONTRACT.

Things to do now