About the Anthropology and Sociology Collection in the Library

The Library develops and maintains significant collections on [social and cultural] anthropology and sociology relating to the countries of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The material is in European, Asian and African languages. Material on anthropology and sociology of areas outside Asia and Africa and general works are acquired where they are needed to support teaching or specific research.

We welcome suggestions for new purchases from Library members. Please complete a recommendation form.

  • What is in the collection?
    • Works on history, theory and practice of anthropology and sociology, alongside specific works on the anthropology and sociology of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
    • Formats include print, electronic, audio-visual, archival material, data and microforms.
    • Extensive collection of journals in both electronic and print.
    • Newspapers from Africa, Asia and the Middle East in print and electronic media.
    • Check the Library catalogue and eJournal and eBook Finder for more information.
  • Location
    • The bulk of the Anthropological and Sociological Collection [classmarks A300-A307] can be found on Level E between stacks 7 and 16. Oversized books are shelved at the end of the collection at Level E, stacks 56 to 58. There is also a small collection of reference works on Level E, stacks 49
    • Journals held in print can be found at Per 28, Lee Per 28 and L Per 28.  Significant relevant content can also be found in region specific journals.
    • Works focusing on a specific country or region are shelved in the respective regional collection. They will have a different letter code to indicate this.
    • For a full listing of classmarks and their location, please consult the Library location list .
  • Collection strengths
    • SOAS Library collects and maintains a research level social and cultural Anthropology collection that is amongst the most significant in the UK.
    • The depth of regional collecting means that some parts of our Anthropology collections are unique.
    • The Sociological aspects of the collection are maintained to support taught course students.
    • If you are interested, the Library’s Collection Development Policy is available online .
  • Special collections

    A range of special collections that are of interest to those studying Anthropology are held in the Archives & Special Collections. These are housed on Level F of the Library.

    Below are some of those collections, you can see the whole list on this leaflet: Archival Sources for Anthropology [PDF; 941kb]

    • Aylward, Gladys [MS 291571] China. Includes papers and artefacts relating foot binding
    • Caplan, Lionel [PP MS 77] India & Nepal. He was Professor of Anthropology at SOAS, 1965-2003.
    • Caplan, Patricia [MS 381062] India & Nepal, she was Professor of Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London
    • Earthy, Emily Dora [MS 380515] East Africa.
    • Fürer-Haimendorf, Christoph Von [PP MS 19] South Asia. An extensive archive [56 boxes, >20,000 photographs] cataloguing the working life of a pioneer in the field of visual anthropology. He was Professor of Anthropology at SOAS and 1951-1976 President of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 1975-77.Much of this archive has been digitsed and is available online at the Fürer-Haimendorf collection ]
    • Perlman, Melvin Lee [PP MS 38] Uganda. Studies of Toro marriages and Tea estate workers.
    • Ray, Sidney Herbert [PP MS 3] Oceania. Ethnology and languages.
    • Whiteley, Wilfred Howell [PP MS 42] Africa. He was Head of Africa Department at SOAS, 1959-1972.