SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

The research of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology has significant influence on policy, practice and public education, through multiple interactions - with international development agencies, NGO networks, museums and galleries, the UK asylum system and law-making, and with craft industries. These interactions have an impact not only in SOAS regions of specialism - Asia, Africa and the Middle East – but throughout the world. 

The Department’s reach is extend by the enduring relationships it has built through repeated engagement with key economic, cultural and diplomatic non-academic users as diverse as the World Bank, NGOs in India, the Royal Institute of British Architects and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  

Bringing the world’s attention to the art of central Nigeria

Exhibits in 'Central Nigeria Unmasked'

Professor Richard Fardon is one of the main authors of a 600 page catalogue accompanying the international exhibition entitled ‘Central Nigeria Unmasked’, producing the first comprehensive overview of the hitherto poorly understood arts of the region. Read more... 

Reasserting the value of labour and craft

Fine woodwork instructor and trainees, Building Crafts College, London

Through his fieldwork with builder-craftspeople in Yemen and Mali and fine woodwork trainees in East London, Trevor Marchand has developed a profound understanding of the nature of apprenticeship and the importance of learning and preserving manual skills.  Professor Marchand has worked with UK craftspeople, architects and educationalists to advocate for crafts as key elements of the creative industries, contributing not only to the nation’s economy, but to its social and cultural life. Read more...

Informing policy and practice in international development

Literacy class in West Bengal. Photo: Sudipto Das

Development aid policy and practice around the world has been informed by the research of David Mosse, Professor of Social Anthropology. His novel approach to questions of policy analysis and policy change has been widely influential on thinking among policy makers and practitioners, from the UK government’s Department for International Development (DfID) to the university sector in China and the World Bank. Read more...