750A Ethnographic Locations: Sub-Saharan Africa

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Module overview

This module introduces students to ethnographic studies in and of a particular region in Sub-Saharan Africa, its resident populations, and its diasporas, viewed through a variety of interconnected topics that have been important in the anthropological literature. With a particular focus on West Africa, East Africa, or Southern Africa, students will have the opportunity to explore classic and contemporary anthropological themes such as social organization, political economy, religion, gender and sexuality, race/ethnicity, personhood, the body, consumption, labour and livelihoods, violence and justice, and social identities, as they take shape in particular locales.

The module also encourages students to consider how anthropological and historical understandings help us to recognize the fundamentally interconnected and global nature of any nation, subregion, or region, whose boundaries are often designated or shift as a result of colonial, post-colonial, and neo-colonial social processes and power relations.

Whilst anthropologists are well-attuned to the histories and politics of "regionality", we remain committed to our core critical and reflective tool of fieldwork-based research, which enables us to explore the effects of extralocal and historical dynamics in the everyday practices and lived experiences of specific communities and particular lives. Such grounded, experientially based knowledge is a key aspect of anthropology—whether the anthropologist is studying their own region/community or an initially foreign locale—and thus offers a distinctive contribution to programmes across the School.

The module’s lectures, tutorials, readings and assignments are designed to ensure that students develop a solid grounding in the anthropological study of the region covered, refine their ability to critically engage diverse literatures and perspectives, and communicate their knowledge in a variety of ways. While the focus in the module is on anthropological sources, we may also look at how non-anthropologists, including novelists, filmmakers, artists, and activists, have portrayed specific regions and regional issues.


Guided option for students on:

  • MA Social Anthropology
  • MA Social Anthropology + Intensive Language
  • MA Anthropology of Food
  • MA Anthropology of Food + Intensive Language
  • MA Anthropology of Global Futures and Sustainability
  • MA Medical Anthropology and Mental Health
  • MRes Social Anthropology
  • MRes Social Anthropology + Intensive Language

This module is also a School-wide Open Option. No prerequisites.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules