Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Overview

We are a diverse, multi-lingual, and engaged community. Our teaching is research-led and our curriculum is sharp and cutting-edge. We teach what we practise, and we practise what we teach. We grapple with the theory and practice of real-world issues having to do with migration, race, gender, climate change, and social justice.

Our programmes of study are built on the premise that the world has many layers, faces, perspectives, and forms of knowledge. Across our programmes, students acquire the methods and theories to help understand the world and to make a difference. Our approach to teaching is practice-based and collaborative: we strongly believe in collaborative learning and peer-mentoring, thereby offering a unique learning opportunity for our diverse and vibrant student community.

Academics in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology have an impact on the world inside and outside of academia – on policy and government, in the arts, and on public media.

Meet the academics.

Our Head of Department says...

I have the fortune to be Interim Head of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology – a department that is exciting for students and staff. We are a diverse, multi-lingual, and engaged community who practise what we teach. Our teaching is research-led and collaborative, and our curriculum is cutting-edge. We lead the way in grappling with the theory and practice of real world issues, while not letting go of the older question of our discipline: what does it mean to be human? Our programmes and modules invite students to explore what it is to be human in a complex and changing world and to think creatively about how to address global problems. Across our programmes, students acquire the methods and theories to help understand the world and make a difference.

Facts and figures

5th in the UK

QS World University Rankings 2022 for Anthropology

10th in the world

QS World University Rankings 2022 for Anthropology

4th in the UK

2023 Times/Sunday Times League Table

Why Choose SOAS for Anthropology and Sociology?

Our research

The Department of Anthropology and Sociology is one of the leading research-driven centres in the UK. Unlike other UK Anthropology departments, SOAS anthropologists are specialists on Asia, Africa or the Middle East, their global interconnections, and their diasporas. We share a strong SOAS tradition of language-related and practice-oriented work, applied to subjects as varied as:

  • Gender and other social identities
  • Migration and diaspora
  • Belonging and exclusion
  • Political economy
  • Environment
  • Development and sustainability
  • Trade
  • Infrastructure
  • Food
  • Consumption
  • Mental health
  • Medicine
  • Science and technology
  • Religion
  • Material culture
  • Tourism

Our academics conduct ethnographic research on a variety of topics and in different fields, ranging from masculinity and the new middle classes in India, to infrastructure in South Asia, the relationships between parliaments and people, cultural transformation in China studied through the lens of food, mental health and cultural psychiatry in the UK and Iran, entrepreneurs at the frontiers of African capitalism, and religious transformation in West Africa. What binds our research is that we lead the way in exploring the big issues of our time.

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