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Postgraduate Anthropology 2016-2017

AT5026: THE MUSEUM IDEA

30 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

‘The Museum Idea’ course introduces Museum Studies, focusing on the history and philosophy of museums and collecting, relating this to contemporary museum practice. It is a taught by a team of academic staff in disciplines such as Anthropology, Archaeology, Education and History of Art, and the professional staff of the University’s museums. Many class meetings will be held in the University’s museums, including display areas, conservation laboratory and reserve collections and reserve collections, with a field trip to museums in another city in Scotland.

AT5027: ANTHROPOLOGICAL THEORY FOR MSC

30 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

This course explores theoretical issues and key debates in contemporary anthropology. We begin with the questioning of the central concepts of culture and society in anthropology during the 1980s. Following this, we ask: how can anthropology proceed if the targets of its investigation can no longer be understood as objective entities? How can anthropology proceed if the anthropologist themselves is inevitably implicated in and part of those very targets? To look for possible answers, the course examines current anthropological interest in power and history, political economy and phenomenology, experience, embodiment and practice, ontology and things that speak.

AT5029: SUPERVISED READING I

15 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

The course comprises a programme of readings that will be devised in advance through consultation between student and supervisor, in light of the student’s intended research interests. The student will write a 3000 word essay on the readings.

AT5031: RESEARCH IN SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY 1

15 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

Research in Social Anthropology 1 (15 credits, first semester) will provide a broad introduction to the discipline of social anthropology at postgraduate level, over the first half of term. We will discuss the history of social anthropology, its position within the social sciences and the humanities, and the nature of anthropological theory.

AT5032: RESEARCH IN SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY 1 (EXTENDED)

30 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

Research in Social Anthropology 1 (30 credits, first semester) will provide a broad introduction to the discipline of social anthropology at postgraduate level. We will discuss the history of social anthropology, its position within the social sciences and the humanities, the nature of anthropological theory and further themes in contemporary anthropological research. Coursework will comprise of a 5000 essay on a topic to be decided in consultation with the student’s supervisors.

AT5033: RESEARCH SKILLS IN ANTHROPOLOGY

15 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

This course allows students to learn about and practice research skills in social anthropology through a series of workshops. It will encourage reflexive awareness of the role of research skill, technique and methodology in the discipline. Topics will include the history of methods in anthropology, participant observation, writing fieldnotes, interviews, analysis, and working with media technologies, historical resources and museums. Case studies of how these skills are combined in practical fieldwork will be held. Students will be expected to bring any previous experience of anthropological fieldwork to bear on the discussions, and to develop ideas for their future research practice.

AT5034: UNDERSTANDING PEOPLE AND ENVIRONMENT

15 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

This course is structured around four sections. The first section will provide an introduction to ecological and environmental anthropology, exploring key issues, theories and debates in the history of the field. The remaining three sections will focus on three broad sub-themes: environmental perception, human-animal relations and anthropology and conservation. These are areas of particular research strength at Aberdeen but between them they also draw on a wide range of approaches and themes, including phenomenology, political ecology, indigenous rights, applied anthropology and aesthetics.

AT5035: UNDERSTANDING PEOPLE AND ENVIRONMENT (EXTENDED)

30 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

This is a course in environmental anthropology, which explores theoretical ideas and major research areas in the field.  It is an excellent option for students taking an MRes in anthropology who have an interest in environmental themes.  It is also a great choice for students from other disciplines whose work is concerned with human-environment relations.

AT5036: MORE THAN HUMAN

15 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

The course is focussed on relations between humans and nonhumans, particularly animals and plants. A range of disciplinary approaches are explored, including history, cultural geography, natural science and science and technology studies, as well as anthropology.

AT5037: MORE THAN HUMAN (EXTENDED)

30 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

This course explores new directions in how we think about humans and other species.  Recent years have seen an upsurge in interest in how the social sciences and humanities deal with animals, plants and other organisms and we scrutinise these cutting edge ideas in depth.  A lot of emphasis is placed on trying to think through real life encounters and issues, from a walk in the park to new revelations about life from the bottom of the ocean.  Although the focus is on anthropological work, the course should appeal to students from a wide range of backgrounds.

AT5038: MATERIALS, TECHNOLOGY AND POWER IN THE ANDEAN REGION (EXTENDED)

30 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

This course introduces students to anthropological studies of the Andes region of South America.  Its particular focus is on Andean technologies and uses of materials. Historically, approaches to working with materials in the region differed markedly from those found in Europe and the region remains interesting from a technological perspective.  Four main technological areas are addresses:  mining and metallurgy; the use of fibres (including for textual purposes); medicine and the body; and working the land.  Course material includes contemporary ethnographic and historical studies and incorporates three relevant ethnographic films.

AT5040: ANTHROPOLOGICAL THEORY FOR MSC (SHORT VERSION)

15 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

Lectures on current issues in anthropological and the main theoretical approaches in contemporary anthropology. Lectures address the concepts and themes of: culture, society, embodiment, biomedicine, technology, ontology, power, subjectivity.

AT5041: MATERIALS, TECHNOLOGY AND POWER IN THE ANDEAN REGION

15 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

This course introduces students to anthropological studies of the Andes region of South America. Its theoretical focus is on Andean technologies and uses of materials and it examines how these intersect with questions of political power.

AT5508: CURATING AN EXHIBITION

30 credits

Level 5

Second Sub Session

The ‘Curating an Exhibition’ course leads to the creation and opening of the summer exhibition in King’s Museum. Working together as a team, each student also takes on a specific role, including research, writing, design, installation, events management and marketing, working closely with the relevant members of museum staff. The course makes extensive use of the University’s internationally-important museum collections and gives students an opportunity to reflect on an important aspect of museum practice.

AT5513: WORK PLACEMENT FOR MSC IN PEOPLE AND ENVIRONMENT

30 credits

Level 5

Second Sub Session

This course is an opportunity for students studying for the MSc People and Environment to gain valuable work experience by doing a project-based placement with an environmental organisation.

AT5521: MORALITY AND BELIEF IN ISLAM

30 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

This course examines how Muslims engage with Islam as a system of morality and belief. It discusses the debates within Muslim societies about what constitutes ‘real’ Islam and how Muslims should conduct themselves. How does belief in Islam as a unitary, transcendent Truth, which is universal to all humanity, relate to the diverse manner in which Islam in actually lived in practice throughout the world? An important issue which will be explored in the course is that of subjectivity and selfhood within a Muslim context, and how we might approach the topic of belief itself.

AT5529: SUPERVISED READING II

15 credits

Level 5

Second Sub Session

The course comprises a programme of readings that will be devised in advance through consultation between student and supervisor, in light of the student’s intended research interests. The student will write a 3000 word essay on the readings.

AT5530: RESEARCH IN SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY 2

15 credits

Level 5

Second Sub Session

Research in Social Anthropology 2 (15 credits, second semester) will discuss key topics within social anthropology, over the first half of the second semester. These may include religion, politics and the state, environmental anthropology, the anthropology of the north, creativity and knowledge, medical anthropology, linguistic anthropology, oral traditions, media, or museums, amongst others. Following the class each week a student-led seminar will be held to discuss the issues raised. Coursework will comprise of a 3000 essay on a topic to be decided in consultation with the student’s supervisors.

AT5531: RESEARCH IN SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY 2 (EXTENDED)

30 credits

Level 5

Second Sub Session

Research in Social Anthropology 2 (Extended) (30 credits, second semester) will discuss key topics within social anthropology. These may include religion, politics and the state, environmental anthropology, the anthropology of the north, creativity and knowledge, medical anthropology, linguistic anthropology, oral traditions, media, or museums, amongst others. Following the class each week a student-led seminar will be held to discuss the issues raised. Coursework will comprise of a 5000 essay on a topic to be decided in consultation with the student’s supervisors.

AT5532: RESEARCH DESIGN AND PRACTICE IN ANTHROPOLOGY

15 credits

Level 5

Second Sub Session

This course will introduce students to a range of conceptual and philosophical issues that are relevant to research design in anthropology, and will enable them to write their own research proposal. Taking its lead from critiques of knowledge production in anthropology, it will describe how the contemporary discipline has been shaped by the interplay of objectivity and subjectivity, the representation of the anthropologist and their informants, and new forms of ethical practice. Students will be enabled to respond to these trends by designing research in ways that are both theoretically informed and politically aware.

AT5533: CULTURE AND SOCIETY IN LATIN AMERICA

15 credits

Level 5

Second Sub Session

Culture and Society in Latin America focuses on topical issues emerging from that geographical region. The exact topics covered vary from year to year, and recent presentations have included sessions on indigenous movements and identity politics; the Amazon region and its contribution to anthropological scholarship; mestizaje and hybridity;  Latin American perspectives on gender; and museums and display in Latin America. It is an interdisciplinary course taught jointly by staff from anthropology and Hispanic studies and is available to taught postgraduate students in anthropology and from other disciplines (on approval of the course coordinator). 

AT5534: CULTURE AND SOCIETY IN LATIN AMERICA (EXTENDED)

30 credits

Level 5

Second Sub Session

This course provides a more in-depth coverage of issues of culture and society in Latin America than the MSc core course Themes in Latin American Studies, although the course will also be available for students of other MSc and MRes programmes, pending approval of the course coordinator. The course will cover a range of topics from the anthropology of indigenous and non-indigenous societies to colonial and modern history and contemporary literature and film. This will also introduce students to a wide range of approaches to Latin American Studies, especially those of anthropology, of history, and of literary and cultural studies.

AT5535: FIELD TRIPS FOR PEOPLE AND ENVIRONMENT

15 credits

Level 5

Second Sub Session

Six half-day or full-day field trips in northeast Scotland. Possible sites that we will visit include Bennachie, RSPB Loch of Strathbeg, Forvie NNR, Crathes Castle, Doonies Farm, Cairngorms National Park and Tyrebagger Forest. Sites will be selected to explore a range of themes that are taught on other courses within the programme, such as conservation, landscape perception, environmental art and human-animal relations. If possible, staff from organisations will be available to guide the students and to answer their questions.

AT5539: ROADS: MOBILITY, MOVEMENT, MIGRATION (EXTENDED)

30 credits

Level 5

Second Sub Session

The course explores concepts related to notions of movement and mobility, topical themes in contemporary anthropology. Students will be introduced to the following themes: roads, automobility, car cultures, migration, road narratives, and roads in film and literature. The course will rely on ethnographic material from the North, including Scotland.  Students will conduct original research on the theme of road. Course assessments include an essay and short submissions on topical issues related to roads and mobility. This course offers five documentary film screenings. 

AT5542: ROADS: MOBILITY, MOVEMENT, MIGRATION

15 credits

Level 5

Second Sub Session

The course explores concepts related to notions of movement and mobility, topical themes in contemporary anthropology. Students will be introduced to the following themes: roads, automobility, car cultures, migration, road narratives, and roads in film and literature. The course will rely on ethnographic material from the North, including Scotland.  Students will conduct original research on the theme of road. Course assessments include an essay and short submissions on topical issues related to roads and mobility. This course offers five documentary film screenings. 

AT5902: DISSERTATION IN PEOPLE AND ENVIRONMENT

60 credits

Level 5

Second Sub Session

The Dissertation for the MSc People and Environment is a substantial piece of independent research and writing within the field of environmental anthropology. The topic is agreed with the programme coordinator, and it is generally completed during the summer months.

AT5906: SCOTTISH TRAINING IN ANTHROPOLOGICAL RESEARCH (STAR)

15 credits

Level 5

Second Sub Session

Scottish Training in Anthropological Research (STAR) is a week-long residential course undertaken in partnership with the Universities of St Andrews, Edinburgh and Glasgow. MRes and pre-fieldwork PhD students in Social Anthropology are normally required to attend. Students will take part in a series of lectures, seminars and workshops related anthropological methods and disciplinary practice. Specific topics will vary from year to year but may include participant observation, fieldnotes, documentary research and the ethics and politics of anthropological research.  There are additional costs of approximately £36 per student for undertaking this course.

Full participation at the STAR event, including presentation of group work. Assessment will be marked on a pass/fail basis.


AT5908: MUSEUM STUDIES DISSERTATION

60 credits

Level 5

Second Sub Session

*

AT5909: MUSEUM STUDIES PROJECT

60 credits

Level 5

Second Sub Session

As a practice-based alternative to a dissertation, students take part in a 20 day placement in a museum or gallery followed by writing an 8,000 word Museum Studies Project. Some students opt for a four-week placement in the early summer, while others choose to make a regular arrangement to volunteer in a local museum during term-time. Placements are offered in a range of museums in Scotland, but students can also identify other possibilities themselves.

AT5910: DISSERTATION IN SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY

60 credits

Level 5

Second Sub Session

This is a compulsory element on the MRes Social Anthropology programme.

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