University of Kent s4


Module Specification

1. The title of the module

Research Methods in Social Anthropology II (SE806)

2. The School which will be responsible for management of the module

Anthropology and Conservation

3. The Start Date of the Module

January 2009

4. The cohort of students (onwards) to which the module will be applicable

2008-2009 onwards

5. The number of students expected to take the module


6. Modules to be withdrawn on the introduction of this proposed module and consultation with other relevant Schools and Faculties regarding the withdrawal


7. The level of the module (eg Certificate [C], Intermediate [I], Honours [H] or Postgraduate [M])

Postgraduate (M) (FHEQ level: 7)

8. The number of credits which the module represents

20 Credits

9. Which term(s) the module is to be taught in (or other teaching pattern)


10. Prerequisite and co-requisite modules

SE802: Research Methods in Social Anthropology I is strongly recommended. Students must be enrolled in M.A. programmes in the School of Anthropology. For persons wishing to take the module from outside these programmes, prior agreement of the convenor and their supervisors will be required.

11. The programmes of study to which the module contributes

Compulsory for students registered for the MA programmes in Social Anthropology, Visual Anthropology, the Anthropology of Ethnicity, Nationalism and Identity, and Environmental Anthropology

12. The intended subject specific learning outcomes and, as appropriate, their relationship to programme learning outcomes

·  provide critical skills for examining the relationship between anthropological theory and methods (MA PLO – A: 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; B – 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; D – 2,)

·  introduce various methodological approaches within anthropology (A – 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; B – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; C – 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, D – 2,)

·  instil a sophisticated understanding of ethics within the context of fieldwork and the disciple at large (A: 1, 5, 9; B2, C – 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, D – 2)

·  develop proficiency in following the guidelines of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth (ASA) Statement on Ethics and the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Code of Ethics, as well as complying with school fieldwork ethic requirements necessary for conducting fieldwork (A: 9; B:3; C: 6, 7, 8; D: 1, 2)

·  develop a critical understanding of the ‘participant observation’ method and its role within anthropological fieldwork (A – 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; B – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; C – 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, D – 2)

·  provide the necessary skills to develop, conduct and analyse a ‘life history’ as part of a broader anthropological project (A – 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; B – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; C – 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, D – 2)

·  present case studies through which these concepts can be thought and critiqued (A:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; B1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; C: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, ; D: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

·  develop a nuanced comparative perspective on these concepts engaging ethnographic materials (A1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; B; 1, 2, 7; C: 3, 4,6, 7,8; D – 1)

·  gain an appreciation of the potential challenges and benefits of anthropological research in local, regional, national and international settings(A1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; B; 1, 2, 7; C: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; D – 1)

13. The intended generic learning outcomes and, as appropriate, their relationship to programme learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this module will be able to:

·  articulate and assess a range of methodological approaches for anthropological fieldwork research (MA PLO – A: 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; B – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; C – 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, D – 2)

·  locate contemporary issues in anthropology's relation to ethics, fieldwork, method and theory (A:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; B1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; C: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, ; D: 1, 2,)

·  summarise and interpret texts and performance by locating them within appropriate cultural and historical trajectories (A: 1, 2, 5, 6, 7; B: 1 8; C: 3, 5; D 1; 2)

·  think critically about fieldwork research methods through an anthropologically informed analysis (A: 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; B – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; C – 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, D – 2)

·  choose appropriate methods in relation anthropological questions suitable for research study (A: 5, 6, 7, 9; B: 2; C: 2, 4, 6, 8)

·  present ideas systematically and cogently both orally and in writing (B: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8: 1,2,3,4,5)

·  interact with peers and their seminar leaders in the exchange of ideas (B: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7; D: 1,2,5)

·  summarise complex material succinctly (B: 1, 2,3,7; C: 3,4,5,6; D : 1,2)

14. A synopsis of the curriculum

Fieldwork is the hallmark of anthropological research. Its style and delivery, as well as the discourses surrounding it, have changed alongside the discipline. In his book Routes, Travel And Translation In The Late Twentieth Century, Clifford (1997) flags two important aspects of fieldwork: first, the formation of intensive interactions and relationships that produce “deep” cultural understanding in settings that can vary in time and location, and, second, a sense of displacement, movement or travel for the fieldworker thus allowing for an objective detached perspective. The ways in which anthropologists strive to interact with people while maintaining objectivity, make research ethics and methodological choices particularly important since their presence in the field has implications on the people whom they study.

15. Indicative Reading List

Alexiades M. and D. M. Peluso, 2002. Prior Informed Consent: the politics of cross cultural

exchange. In: S. A. Laird, ed. Biodiversity and Traditional Knowledge: Equitable

Partnerships in Practice. London: Earthscan.

Antonius, C. G. M. Robben and Jeffrey A. Sluka, eds. 2007. Ethnographic Fieldwork: An Anthropological Reader. London: Blackwell.

Bernard, H. Bernard. 2005. Research Methods in Anthropology: Qualitative and

Quantitative Approaches. Altamira Press.

Bourgois, Philippe 1996. “Confronting Anthropology and Inner-City Apartheid,” in

American Anthropologist. 98(2):249-258.

Clifford, James 1986. Introduction: Partial Truths. In Writing Culture: The Poetics and

Politics of Ethnography, ed. James Clifford and George Marcus, 1-26. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Faubion, J.D. and G.E. Marcus (eds) 2009. Chapter 1, Introduction. Fieldwork is Not What it Used to Be: Learning anthropology's method in a time of transition. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Lassiter, Luke. 2005. The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography. University of

Chicago Press.

Lévi-Strauss, Claude 1973 [1955]. "On the Line" and "A Writing Lesson." Tristes Tropiques.

Translated by John and Doreen Weightman. New York: Penguin Books.

Marcus, George E. And Michael Fischer 1999. Anthropology as Cultural Critique: An

Experimental Moment in the Human Sciences. University of Chicago Press.

Narayan, Kirin 1997. How Native is a “Native Anthropologist? Situated Lives: Gender and

Culture in Everyday Life. Louise Lamphere, Helen Ragoné, and Patricia Zavella (eds).


16. Learning and Teaching Methods, including the nature and number of contact hours and the total study hours which will be expected of students, and how these relate to achievement of the intended learning outcomes

Teaching Methods:

The total study hours will be 200. There will be 12 x 2 hour classes and 2x1 hr tutorials per student (120 study hours)

The module will consist of twelve two hour classes consisting of short introductions to weekly topics by the course convenor followed by intensive discussion of ethnographic and theoretical readings assigned as appropriate to specific topics as outlined in the syllabus. Student presentations may take place, and audio-visual adjuncts to the topic may be facilitated. Students will furthermore meet with the instructor for at least forty minutes during the term to discuss detailed plans for an essay related to the course materials.

Skills: Through preparation for the seminars all students will be acquainting themselves with the principal ideas underlying anthropological research methods, fieldwork and ethics. Students are encouraged in course meetings to think critically and systematically about different methodological approaches to a range theoretical questions and predicaments. This will be operationalized through the close analysis of ethnographic literature and other empirical materials as well as through directed readings and detailed class discussion. Students will learn how to follow the ethical guidelines for anthropological fieldwork as set forth by institutional codes within the discipline of anthropology as well as comply with school requirements necessary for field research to take place. Students will be trained in developing, conducting and analysing a small anthropological field research project. Throughout the course, students will be in an environment aimed to foster the expression of their ideas both in speech and in writing. They will be trained in how to use ethnographic examples to present theoretical concepts, and how to use scholarly resources to present their own arguments. Intensive seminar engagement will develop students’ abilities to present and debate ideas in small group discussions as well as to formulate and ask questions. They will as well learn how to search libraries and data banks for research materials and how to make use of electronic networks to gain access to information.

Achieving objectives:

·  information provided in lectures, complimented by the in-depth discussion ethnographic examples, will introduce students to a conceptual apparatus appropriate to the analysis and comparison of possible research method choices in relation to their MA research project.

·  through the presentation of anthropological theories and ethnographies students will be introduced to a range potential research methods and the theoretical, logistical and ethical dilemmas they may present.

·  in seminars students will be encouraged to discuss the issues and concepts raised in lectures and to integrate their ideas with various ethnographies material and directed readings. They will learn to express their critical evaluations in the presence of their peers (and the seminar leader) and to debate the issues raised by themselves and their peers. Students will also be presenting the results of a small research project whereby they will learn to make an academic presentation as well as to cross-examine their peers.

·  students will be instructed in the dialectical relationship between theory and methods and how this can be addressed in their essay writing via the overall structure, use of illustrative material, development of hypotheses, proper acknowledgements and the appropriate use of sources. Students and will be exposed, through their essays, to ways that they can implement the ideas accumulated through lectures, seminar discussions, reading and specific directed research into coherent and critical written essays

17. Assessment methods and how these relate to testing achievement of the intended learning outcomes

Students are assessed on this module, as on others in the Social Anthropology programme, through a combination of essays and coursework. This module will have a two thousand word essay decided between the student, his or her supervisor, and the course convenor. These will count for 65% of his or her module mark. The remainder of the mark will be made up of a combination of course presentations, seminar participation and an examination that will be marked by the course convenor and moderated by another member of staff. This remaining will constitute 35% of the final module grade. Feedback on both essays and coursework will be provided to the student; through this feedback students are informed of the strengths and weaknesses of their understanding and their presentation of anthropological arguments.

Students from outside of the Social Anthropology programmes taking this module will follow a similar procedure: one two thousand word essay plus coursework.

18. Implications for learning resources, including staff, library, IT and space

This module requires little in the way of resources other than those already available. Library and school resources, both textual and electronic, are regularly reviewed and course handouts are revised on an annual basis with extra purchases made where necessary.

19. The School recognises and has embedded the expectations of current disability equality legislation, and supports students with a declared disability or special educational need in its teaching. Within this module we will make reasonable adjustments wherever necessary, including additional or substitute materials, teaching modes or assessment methods for students who have declared and discussed their learning support needs. Arrangements for students with declared disabilities will be made on an individual basis, in consultation with the University’s disability/dyslexia support service, and specialist support will be provided where needed.

20. Campus(es) where module will be delivered

Canterbury campus

Statement by the Director of Learning and Teaching: "I confirm I have been consulted on the above module proposal and have given advice on the correct procedures and required content of module proposals"

Director of Learning and Teaching
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Statement by the Head of School: "I confirm that the School has approved the introduction of the module and, where the module is proposed by School staff, will be responsible for its resourcing"

Head of School
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