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Last modified: 24 May 2018 10:21

Course Overview

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 addressed: 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.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Maggie Bolton

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • One of Programme Level 4 or Programme Level 5 or BSc Medical Science (Medical Humanities)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • One of AT1002 Introduction to Anthropology (Passed) or AT1003 Introduction to Anthropology: Peoples of the World (Passed) or AT1501 Introduction to Anthropology 2 (Passed) or AT1502 Introduction to Anthropology: Questions of Diversity (Passed) or BSc Medical Science (Medical Humanities)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • AT4541 Materials, Technology and Power in the Andes (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The theoretical focus of this course is on technology, uses of materials and the way that these intersect with questions of political power. Theoretical concerns are addressed by introducing the anthropology of the Andean region – with the rationale that approaches to working with materials in this region differed markedly from those of Europe until (and also beyond) the Spanish conquest of the 16th century. Different areas of technology and material culture are addressed through examining both historical and contemporary studies – from prehispanic metallurgy to contemporary agricultural development and the role of scientifically trained experts in bringing about changes in practices. Four main technological areas are addressed in the course: mining and metallurgy; fibres and Andean textuality; medicine and the body; and working the land.

Further Information & Notes

Available only to students in Programme Year 4. 


In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown


More Information about Week Numbers

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: One 2,500 word essay and one 2,500 word project (40%) plus one three-hour exam (60%)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


Written feedback will be provided for continuous assessment work. This will normally be provided within three weeks of the submission date. Oral feedback on class presentations will also be provided where appropriate.

Course Learning Outcomes


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