The Anthropology of Space, Place and Architecture
- Course Code:
- Unit value:
- Year of study:
- Year 3
- Taught in:
- Term 2
The principal aim is to challenge notions of ‘space’ as a reified entity which is conceptualised and inhabited in a universal manner, and to cultivate a more complex understanding of the processes of human agency which manipulate, produce and re-produce space as perhaps the most significant and crucial component of any material culture.
PrerequisitesThe theory presented in this course builds on the students’ theoretical background acquired in the second-year Theory in Anthropology course, and it will compliment many of the theoretical issues covered in the third-year Contemporary Trends course.
The ethnographic examples of space, place and architecture discussed in the lectures and tutorials cover a wide number of regions including the Near and Middle East, Asia and Africa, and thus the course also builds upon the students’ second-year ethnographic studies.
Objectives and learning outcomes of the course
Students will study various anthropological and social theories applied to the study of space, place and architecture in a variety of cultural and social settings (including London and the SOAS regions).
Students will learn how to:
- critically assess data from texts, various forms of visual media, and
digital sources (including documentary film, and web and electronic data sources);
- solve problems of conflicting sources and conflicting interpretations;
- locate materials and use search sources (including research library catalogues) and other relevant sources;
- and conduct a small component of fieldwork.
Intellectual (thinking) Skills
- Capacity to discuss anthropological issues concerning space, place and architecture in an articulate, informed and impartial manner.
- Ability to frame and present an argument.
- Ability to absorb, process and distinguish descriptive and interpretative material.
- Capacity to think both critically and creatively about anthropological issues and topics.
The programme will encourage students to:
- Write concisely and with clarity.
- Communicate ideas both orally and with the aid of visual material.
- Engage critically with debates on social and cultural issues, to pose relevant questions, and to formulate and orally communicate ideas with clarity and precision.
- Explore a variety of sources for research materials.
- Develop research methods and elementary fieldwork skills.
- Possess basic computer skills and ability to use basic software packages.
- Work to deadlines and standards.
- Develop self-reflexiveness.
- Develop awareness of the relativity of diverse social structures, cultural values, beliefs and attitudes.
- Assess the validity and cogency of arguments.
- Make judgments involving complex factors.