212 Theory in Anthropology

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 2 or Year 3
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level

Module overview

This module introduces and critically examines a series of fundamental changes in anthropological theorising from the 1970s to the present, contextualised in both theoretical and historical terms.

Major topics include interpretive, postmodern, and poststructural perspectives, as well as technologies of power, especially politics of numbers and data (plus other less-obvious workings of power).

The second half of term turns to some fairly recent currents of anthropological thought, whose development has relied on explicit conversations with other fields of inquiry, such as biomedical studies, postcolonial studies, and interspecies studies.


Compulsory for all Year 2 students on:

  • BA Social Anthropology
  • BA Social Anthropology and...

This module is also a School-wide Open Option (Year 2 or Year 3).

Prerequisite: 101A Anthropology in and of the World : An Introduction

Suggested reading

Representative readings:

  • Abu-Lughod, Lila. 1991. Writing Against Culture. In R. Fox (ed.) Recapturing Anthropology. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, pp.137-162
  • Hoffman, Danny. 2011. The War Machines: Young Men and Violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Durham: Duke University Press
  • Mbembe, A. Joseph. 2016. Decolonizing the University: New Directions. Arts & Humanities in Higher Education 15(1): 29-45
  • Nelson, Diane. 2010. Reckoning the After-Math of War in Guatemala. Anthropological Theory 10(1-2): 87-99
  • Pandian, Anand and Stuart McLean (eds.) 2017. Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing. Durham: Duke University Press
  • Stoler, Anne Laura. 2008. Imperial Debris: Reflections on Ruins and Ruination. Cultural Anthropology 23 (2): 191-219.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules