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Last modified: 31 May 2022 13:05

Course Overview

Anthropology is the comparative study of human ways of life through the study of societies and cultures around the world. In this course we introduce some of the key topics of contemporary anthropological inquiry: What is Anthropology? What do anthropologists do? What is ethnography? How can we see the diverse world of societies and cultures around us, not by looking from the outside, but by looking at how people themselves make their own lives and meanings?

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Nancy Wachowich

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2

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

  • Any Undergraduate Programme
  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course is the basic introductory module to anthropology, and introduces students to the principal features of the discipline. Anthropology itself has many sub-branches, such as social, cultural, anthropology, forensic and evolutionary anthropology. The anthropology programme and courses at Aberdeen focus on socio-cultural anthropology, that is the comparative study of human societies and cultures through detailed ethnography. Ethnography is a way of describing social life that emerges from long-term fieldwork amongst and study of particular cultures and communities, to understand the way in which diverse communities and cultures organise their lives, interact with one another, form meaningful understandings of the world through religion, politics, kinship and language. In this sense, anthropology at Aberdeen is the study of societies and cultures from the “inside”, a perspective profoundly different from that which usually come across in news or television reports, travel shows or political rhetoric. It challenges our basic assumptions about the world we live in.

The course as a whole is comprised of three components: an introduction to socio-cultural anthropology itself, and two further substantive components, which change from year: the study of exchange and gift-giving; the formations of language, meaning and myth; the anthropology of politics and social movements.   

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

3 x quizzes 45%

6 asynchronous discussion boards 15%

Essay 40%


Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
FactualRememberILO’s for this course are available in the course guide.

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