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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

This course will explore contemporary colonial expressions from an anthropological perspective. It will be split into two main themes: Material Histories; and Mediated Histories. Within these themes it will address topics such as the "capturing" of cultures in museums, kinship and politics, gendered colonialism, economic development, media, aboriginal rights and contemporary resistance movements.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 2
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Maggie Bolton

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Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Course Aims

- to provide a basic understanding of the core themes introduced throughout the course, such as knowledge of environmental issues, aboriginal rights, colonial histories, cultural encounters, material culture and ethnographic research;
- to encourage students to appreciate how these subject areas complement one another or differ in their approaches to culture and society;
- to facilitate students' understanding of processes of social and cultural change in relation to the themes addressed in the course;
- to develop students' skills in the basic use and interpretation of primary source materials through a project;
- to develop students' skills in essay writing and seminar discussion.

Main Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding
-To be able to understand and use a range of basic anthropological and cultural historical concepts, principles and terminology to which attention will be drawn during the course;
-To have acquired a range of information and materials related to the themes of the course, and to critically assess the value of such information for anthropological and cultural historical understanding;
-To be able to clearly express arguments and analyses on a selection of anthropological and cultural historical themes related to the course, and to be able to use relevant information to support and test such arguments.

Practical Skills
-To be able to demonstrate good analytical and critical skills and apply detailed and conceptually complex principles of anthropological and cultural historical work to specific research;
-To show they have skills in obtaining, reviewing and evaluating information, and are able to undertake self-directed learning with formal guidance;
-To be able to demonstrate skills in producing analytical, critical written assignments that draw upon anthropological and cultural historical sources.

Generic Skills
-To be able to undertake and complete work that requires problem solving and analysis;
-To synthesise and evaluate complex and sophisticated arguments;
-To be able to generate ideas and formulate responses to concrete and abstract problems.

Communication and Information Technology
-To use the library and other relevant information sources to assemble materials related to the subjects of the course, and correctly cite sources of information in written assignments;
-To prepare and present brief talks to a group of students on topics related to the course, and to communicate effectively with senior colleagues;
-To be able to practise a wide range of advanced skills both generally and in the language and vocabulary of anthropology and cultural history.

Autonomy and working with others
-To be able to take significant responsibility for the organisation and management of work involved in study;
-To be able to work independently or in small group settings with other students;
-To be able to exercise judgement based on a sound knowledge and understanding of key issues, debates and arguments in social anthropology.

Contact Teaching Time

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

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt

Project (2,500 words) 40%
2 writing commentaries (500 words each) 10% in total
2 hour written exam 50%


1 two hour written examination (100%).

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


Students will receive written comments on essays and oral guidance in groups during tutorials, and individually during office hours.

Course Learning Outcomes


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