SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

MA Anthropology of Food and Intensive Language (2019 entry)

  • Combinations
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment

Overview

Our MA programme in the Anthropology of Food offers you the opportunity to explore historically and culturally variable foodways, from foraging to industrial agriculture, from Europe and North America to Africa, Asia and South America.

You will study the passage of food from plant to palate, and examine who benefits, and who suffers, from contemporary modes of food production, exchange, preparation, and consumption. You will also explore the role of food in human migrations and investigate the formation of regional and national cuisines. As well as examine food fears and food safety and concerns over ‘nutrition transition’. 

Debates over the impact of agricultural biotechnology on agrarian livelihoods and knowledge systems, as well as on the natural environment, are assessed. Movements toward organic agriculture, veganism and vegetarianism, fair trade, and slow food are also analysed. 

An anthropological approach to the study of food draws upon and challenges the perspectives of other disciplines, whether agronomy or nutritional science, economics or law, history or literature.

This programme has a first-rate graduate employability record, with graduates moving on to find employment in food-related government ministries, international organisations, development agencies, or non-governmental associations.

Why study MA Anthropology of Food at SOAS?

  • our Anthropology Department is ranked 6 in the UK and 16 in the world in the 2019 QS World University Rankings
  • we draw on the exceptional regional expertise of our academics in Asian, African, and Middle Eastern languages and politics, many of whom have joined us with a practical working knowledge of their disciplines
  • you will be joining our thriving community of alumni and academics who have an impact on the world outside of academia
  • you will be able to flexibly structure your programme using our optional modules and/or optional modules from other departments, including the opportunity to learn a regional language
  • we are specialists in the delivery of languages. Your command of a second language at SOAS will set you apart from graduates of other universities

This two-year intensive language pathway is directed at students who want to engage with a country in a professional as well as academic way, as the intensive language courses will enable them to reach a near proficient knowledge of the language.

For more information email: jk2@soas.ac.uk 

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

Entry requirements

  • Minimum upper second class BA degree (or equivalent) in the humanities, social sciences or natural sciences, or significant experience in a relevant food- and/or agriculture-related career

Featured events

duration:
2 year full-time or 4 years part-time. The expectation in the UK is of continuous study across the year, with break periods used to read and to prepare coursework.

Convenors

Combinations

May be combined with:

The following Intensive Language pathways are available with the MA Anthropology of Food

Structure

Students must take 315 credits in total, comprised of 255 taught credits (45 of which are taught abroad as part of a Summer School) and a 60-credit dissertation as outlined below. 

In their first year, students on this two-year Intensive Language programme take 60 credits of intensive language instruction and 60 credits in the discipline. During the summer, they participate in a Summer School abroad. In the second year, they take another 30 language credits as well as 30 credits in the discipline; they also complete their dissertation in the discipline. 

Students are also required to audit 15PANH002 Ethnographic Research Methods, i.e. to attend lectures for this module (without attending seminars or submitting any assessments). The module does not count towards the total of 315 credits.

There are two different pathways for the Anthropology of Food component of this programme: one for students without a background in Anthropology, and one for students with previous knowledge of the subject.

For information on the programme structure for the four-year part-time version of the programme, please see the pdf programme specification at the bottom of this page.

Please see the relevant web pages in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and in the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics for information on the Intensive Language part of the programme.

Two years without background in Anthropology
Year 1 (two years full time)
Discipline Component
Module Code Credits Term
Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology 15PANC008 30 Full Year
AND

Language Component

Students take 60 credits in the selected language.

Summer Abroad

Students participate in a Summer School abroad for the selected language.

Year 2 (two years full time)
Discipline Component

AND

Guided module(s) from the lists below, OR from the Postgraduate Open Options List, to the value of 45 credits.

AND

Language Component
Students take 30 credits in the selected language.

Dissertation

Students must complete a Dissertation (10,000 words) worth 60 credits.

Module Code Credits Term
Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology 15PANC999 60 Full Year
Two years with background in Anthropology
Year 1 (two years full time)
Discipline Component
Plus

A module(s) from Anthropology and Sociology list below to the value of 30 credits.

Language Component

Students take 60 credits in the selected language.

Summer Abroad

Students participate in a Summer School abroad for the selected language.

Year 2 (two years full time)
Discipline Component

AND

Guided module(s) from the lists below, OR from the Postgraduate Open Options List, to the value of 45 credits.

AND

Language Component
Students take 30 credits in the selected language.

Dissertation

Students must complete a Dissertation (10,000 words) worth 60 credits.

Module Code Credits Term
Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology 15PANC999 60 Full Year
List of modules (subject to availability)
Anthropology and Sociology
Module Code Credits Term
Anthropology of Globalisation (PG) 15PANH061 15 Term 2
Anthropology of Human Rights (PG) 15PANH058 15 Term 1
Culture and Society of China 15PANH062 15 Term 2
Culture and Society of Japan 15PANH065 15 Term 1
Culture and Society of South Asia 15PANH064 15 Term 2
Culture and Society of South East Asia 15PANH066 15 Term 1
Culture and Society of Near and Middle East 15PANH067 15 Term 1
Culture and Society of East Africa 15PANH063 15 Term 2
Culture and Society of West Africa 15PANH068 15 Term 2
Directed Practical Study in the Anthropology of Food 15PANH045 15 Full Year
Ethnographic Research Methods 15PANH002 15 Term 1
Issues in Mind, Culture and Psychiatry 15PANH032 15 Term 1
Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology 15PANC008 30 Full Year
Tourism and Travel: A Global Perspective 15PANH059 15 Term 1
Centre for Gender Studies
Module Code Credits Term
Gender in the Middle East 15PGNH001 15 Term 1
Queering Migrations and Diasporas 15PGNH002 15 Term 2
Development Studies
Module Code Credits Term
Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty 15PDSH026 15 Term 2
Civil society, social movements and the development process 15PDSH001 15 Term 1
Energy Transition, Nature, and Development in a Time of Climate Change 15PDSH048 15 Term 2
Famine and food security 15PDSH022 15 Term 2
Gender and Development 15PDSH010 15 Term 1
Natural resources, development and change: putting critical analysis into practice 15PDSH031 15 Term 2
The Working Poor and Development 15PDSH030 15 Term 2
Religions and Philosophies

 

Programme Specification

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Year abroad

Yes (summer)

Teaching & Learning

Course teachers Johan Pottier, Harry G. West, and Jakob Klein were awarded the 2009 Excellence in Instruction Award by the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society. West was named joint runner-up for the SOAS Director’s Teaching Prize in 2011-2012. The SOAS MA in the Anthropology of Food was named a Finalist in the Best Food Initiative category in the BBC Food & Farming Awards in 2015.

Modules

In the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, most postgraduate modules have a one or two-hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week. Lectures and seminars are often taken by different teachers to provide a variety of angles on the subject.  The majority of the student’s time will be through their own independent study. Students become more active in class through their reading and essay-writing and should greatly enhance their participation in discussion groups.

The Dissertation

These are taken by final-year students only, its aim is to provide an opportunity for students to conduct original historical research on their own initiative, to engage in in-depth analysis of particular subjects and to use a range of primary historical sources. It is assessed by a single 10,000-word dissertation (including notes but excluding bibliography).

The Language Entitlement Programme 

While you may take a language module for credit, all SOAS MA students, regardless of department or degree, are also entitled to register for non-credit free courses in a single language through the Language Entitlement Programme (LEP). Languages normally available include Arabic, Chinese, French, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu. Others may also be offered. 

Employment

Skills gained include:

  • the development of analytical and theoretical skills based on a detailed understanding of the social science literature on migration and diaspora
  • ability to approach theories and debates from a critical and reflexive basis
  • ability to develop their presentation skills and their ability to articulate arguments coherently in order to promote class discussion and critical engagement with ideas and practices
  • learn photographic and film making techniques through the Media unit
  • practice research techniques in a variety of specialised research libraries and institutes
  • acquire/develop skills in a language to Effective Operational Proficiency level (in the two-year intensive language pathway)
  • be able to apply for funding to do a PhD
  • be prepared to enter a Social Science PhD programme

Please see our Alumni Profiles.

For more information visit our Graduate Destinations page.

A Student's Perspective

I’m from Haiti, and my experiences there have helped me become sensitive to social and class struggles and political turmoil, which are topics that Anthropology provides tools for analysing.

Adele Austin

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