SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Ethnography of South Asia

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2022/2023
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 2 or Year 3
Taught in:
Term 2

South Asia is the region which includes Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka. Because of the availability of academic literature, the course does tend to have a stronger focus on Indian ethnographies, but the other regions are represented.

The course introduces students to some core topics in the anthropology of South Asia, such as the study of caste and issues of agrarian relations, kinship, South Asian religion (Hinduism, Islam and Christianity); it gives students a chance to explore both classic and contemporary ethnographies; it offers opportunities for deeper study of particularly salient issues as they appear in South Asian ethnography (such as gender or modernity); and it introduces students to recent debates and scholarship on 'breaking issues' of research (e.g. environment, consumption).


This module is open to all undergraduates as an Open Option.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to: 

  • critically evaluate a range of theories and ethnographic source material relating to South Asian society
  • locate and use secondary sources relevant to selected topics
  • have a grasp of the key debates in the anthropology of South Asia

Developing regional expertise is a key component of the study of anthropology, and central to programmes across the school. The learning outcomes are designed to ensure that students develop a solid grounding in the anthropology of East Africa, refine their ability to critically engage diverse literatures and communicate their knowledge in a variety of ways. These processes of comprehension, analysis and communication are central to all anthropology programmes, as well as to the broader humanities and social sciences at SOAS.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules