Anthropology 3

Third year courses

Contemporary Theory in Practice

This course introduces students to some of the major social theories and tensions that have inspired and informed anthropological analysis and debate since the 1980’s.  We will investigate a range of theoretical propositions including practice and power, agency, subjectivity, history, social change, performativity, decolonization, public anthropology, the human economy, new materialism, post-humanism and the politics of ethnographic representation.  Theory is demystified, seen not as the achievement of ultimate truth, but as statements about human beings and the worlds they create and inhabit which can be critically engaged with to both understand the world and act within it.  Contemporary theory is contextualized within a critical look at the historical trajectory of the anthropological canon since its inception

Ecological Anthropology

Ecological Anthropology focuses on the complex and dynamic interactions between human beings and their physical environment. It explores how human populations manipulate and transform their ecosystems and how such interactions shape human social, political, and economic institutions. Scholars, however, have theoretically and methodologically interpreted this interaction in different ways. In this course we examine the emergence and history of ecological thinking in anthropology and the various theoretical approaches within the discipline that have developed from the coalescence of natural and social sciences. The course provides a general overview of the main theoretical currents in the field and presents particular case studies to illustrate their applications.

Medical Anthropology

This third year module on medical anthropology focuses on understanding the various medical systems that exist within a given society. Medical anthropology seeks to understand health and well-being in a holistic manner drawing on (western) biomedicine and local understandings of health and illness. The biopsychosocial model is a central component in medical anthropology. In this module two interrelated issues are of prime concern. Firstly, the meanings which people attach to health, well-being and illness and the therapeutic process are examined. Secondly, the various ways in which social, cultural and structural factors shape expressions of illness and frequently play a role in determining the course of a disease’s progression is explored.

Anthropology 3 Module 1  Ways of Knowing.

This module explores different modes of knowledge production, comparing the dichotomous and hierarchical approaches that have tended to characterise western science and scholarship with more integrated and holistic perspectives such as those contained within bodies of indigenous knowledge and cosmology. We will consider the ways in which knowledge is shaped by the sociocultural, historical and ideological context within which it is created. We will look at some of the ways in which alternate modes of knowledge production have interacted with one another, noting to what extent such interactions have been confrontational and where they have involved attempts to achieve integration or some measure of mutual acknowledgment.


Last Modified: Thu, 05 Dec 2019 21:11:28 SAST