module specification template





Title of the module

SE586 Ethnographies I


School which will be responsible for management of the module

School of Anthropology and Conservation


Start date of the module

Autumn Term 2009, with module running under revised specifications commencing in 2012


The cohort of students (onwards) to which the module will be applicable

Students matriculating in Autumn 2012 onwards. This is a Stage 2 module.



The number of students expected to take the module


SE543 Political Systems, SE544 Economic Systems, SE545 Religion, SE546 Kinship to be withdrawn. The Director of Learning and Teaching confirms that relevant schools in the

Faculty (including SSPSSR) are being informed. It is not anticipated that the withdrawals will lead to problems for other schools since the withdrawn modules rarely attract external ‘wild’ students.


Modules to be withdrawn on the introduction of this proposed module and consultation with other relevant Schools and Faculties regarding the withdrawal

Level of the module (e.g. Certificate [C], Intermediate [I], Honours [H] or

Postgraduate [M])

Honours (FHEQ level: 6)


The number of credits which the module represents

15 credits


Which term(s) the module is to be taught in (or other teaching pattern)

Autumn Term


Prerequisite and co-requisite modules

Prerequisite for BA Social Anthropology: SE301 Introduction to Social Anthropology or its equivalent in Social Sciences or Humanities courses.

Co-requisites for BA Social Anthropology: SE588 Advanced Social Anthropology I (Autumn

Term), SE589 Advanced Social Anthropology II (Spring Term), SE587 Ethnographies II

(Spring Term)


The programme(s) of study to which the module contributes

BA Social Anthropology; Joint Honours; with a Year Abroad


The intended subject specific learning outcomes and, as appropriate, their relationship to programme learning outcomes

As this module is taught within and managed by the School of Anthropology and

Conservation, the learning outcomes below are linked to those of the BA Programme in

Social Anthropology.

On successful completion of this module, students should have learnt:

12.1 To describe the contents of a number of ethnographic texts

12.2 To identify the authors of specific ethnographic texts and indicate when and where the fieldwork described in the text was undertaken, as well as their conceptual background of problem-solving

Minor Revision to module specification confirmed 16 May 2012


12.3 To discuss the strengths and weaknesses of specific texts

12.4 To relate specific texts to general theoretical anthropological topics, for examples to the analysis of systems of exchange or the practical and ideological operation of descent groups

12.5 To compare and contrast the approaches of different anthropologists and their ethnographies to questions of descriptive representation

12.6 To explain the methods of research specific to the discipline of anthropology and illustrate them with reference to the studied local and regional ethnographies

12.7 To relate their reading for this module to wider conceptual and ethical concerns in anthropology, and within the social sciences in particular

12.8 To relate the dilemmas faced by authors of the reading for this module to the challenges they themselves face as amateur ethnographers

The Programme Learning outcomes addressed by these Subject Learning Outcomes are as

 follows:

PLO 12.A.1 Knowledge and understanding of social anthropology as the comparative study of human societies [12.1, 12.4]

PLO 12.A.2 Specific themes in social anthropology e.g. religion, politics, nationalism, ethnicity [12.1, 12.4]

PLO 12.A.6 The variety of theoretical approaches contained within the discipline [12.4,


PLO 12.B.1 General learning and study skills [12.1, 12.2]

PLO 12.B.2 Critical and analytic skills [12.3, 12.4, 12.5, 12.8]

PLO 12.C.1 Ability to understand how people are shaped by their social, cultural and physical environments while nonetheless possessing a capacity for individual agency which can allow them to transcend environmental constraints [12.1, 12.8]

PLO 12.C.3

Ability to interpret texts and performance by locating them within appropriate cultural and historical contexts [12.2]

PLO 12.C.4 Competence in using anthropological theories and perspectives in the

 presentation of information and argument [12.3]

PLO 12.C.6 Ability to devise questions for research and study which are anthropologically informed [12.4, 12.8]

PLO 12.C.7 Ability to perceive the way in which cultural assumptions may affect the opinions of others and oneself [12.5]

PLO 12.C.2 Ability to recognise the pertinence of an anthropological perspective to understanding major national and international events [12.6]

PLO 12.C.8 An openness to trying to make rational sense of cultural and social phenomena which may appear at first sight incomprehensible [12.1]

PLO 12.A.8 The application of anthropology to understanding issues of social and economic development throughout the world [12.7].


The intended generic learning outcomes and, as appropriate, their relationship to programme learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students should gain an ability:


To read critically ethnographic texts

13.2 To summarise orally and in writing the content of the texts they have read.

13.3 To present and defend critical opinions on the reading

13.4 To contribute rationally as well as challengingly to seminar discussions by giving due weight to opinions expressed by fellow-students

13.5 To compare and contrast similar texts in terms of their variable theoretical approach as well as substantive descriptions

These learning outcomes contribute to the programme specifications for the BA in Social

Anthropology as follows:

PLO 12.B.2 Critical and analytic skills [13.1, 13.3]

PLO 12.B.3 Ability to express ideas in writing and orally [13.2]

PLO 12.B.4 Communication skills [13.2]

PLO 12.B.5 Group work skills [13.4]

PLO 12.B.7 Ability to review and summarise information [13.1, 13.2]

Minor Revision to module specification confirmed 16 May 2012



PLO 12.C.3 Ability to interpret texts and performance by locating them within appropriate cultural and historical contexts [13.5]

PLO 12.D.1 Communication: organise and summarise information; respond critically to written information; make a structured argument in written and oral form [13.2, 13.3]

PLO 12.D.3 Improving own learning: management of time available; awareness of strengths and weaknesses; development of personal learning strategies; ability to conduct independent research [13.3, 13.4]

A synopsis of the curriculum

The curriculum for this module will consist of reading four professional ethnographic monographs in their entirety. The selection of the ethnographies will be determined by thematic conjunction with the thematic topics to be taught in the Advanced Social

Anthropology I module, i.e. Kinship and Social Organisation, and Economic Systems.

Students will be expected to come to seminars with notes from their reading and will be encouraged to discuss that reading and to relate it to wider anthropological issues raised or implied by the authors of the ethnographies and also dealt with historically and analytically in the co-requisite module Advanced Social Anthropology I. Considerable time will be spent, particularly in the earlier class meetings, on instruction about how to ‘read’ an ethnography e.g. on how to examine its implicit (as opposed to explicit) theoretical assumptions, on how to place it within the historical development of the discipline, on how to evaluate its empirical exemplification of particular theoretical problems, on how to evaluate the relationship between description and analysis, on how to evaluate it contribution to particular issues and topics within anthropology, and on the examination of its structure, presentation and ability to communicate an understanding of a social group through the written word.


Indicative Reading List

The following list also indicates how specimen ethnographies may be related to the two themes addressed in Advanced Social Anthropology I.

Kinship and Social Organisation:

R. Just 2000

A Greek Island Cosmos: Kinship and Community on Meganisi

. Oxford: James


B. Yngvesson 2010

Belonging in an Adopted World

. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Economic Systems:

M.T. Taussig 1980

The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America

. Chapel Hill:

University of North Carolina Press.

F. Errington and D. Gewertz 2004

Yali’s Question: Sugar, Culture, and History

. Chicago:

University of Chicago Press.


Learning and Teaching Methods, including the nature and number of contact hours and the total study hours which will be expected of students, and how these relate to achievement of the intended learning outcomes

6 x 1-hour lectures and 6 x 2-hour seminars in alternating weeks = 18 contact hours. For each of the two-hour seminars, it is assumed students will devote 10 hours to reading the relevant ethnography and preparing discussion notes for the seminar, and roughly 70 hours researching and writing the Ethnographic Research Project (see Assessment Methods below). This totals 148 hours’ study, research and writing devoted to the module.

Students will be expected to read intensively for this module, which will be thematically linked to the Advanced Social Anthropology I module. Lectures will be devoted to themes emergent from the assigned ethnographic texts, and to the problems inherent in the form and content of ethnographic writing in general. For weeks in which seminars are held, the first half of the 2hour session there will be a brief quiz on the relevant ethnography (see Assessment Methods below) followed by a discussion of the ethnographic material which students will have been expected to have read for that week. In the second half of the session the agenda of the seminars may vary from week to week, having as their principal aim the learning and development of anthropological study and expressive skills in reading, writing, oral discussion and presentation. Material for these classes will be specifically drawn from the reading

Minor Revision to module specification confirmed 16 May 2012


students are required to do for this module. Opportunities will also be given to students creatively to explore methodological skills in ethnographic observation and writing through the

Ethnographic Research Project.

Table of subject and generic learning outcomes supported by these methods:

Teaching & Learning Method



Independent study

Subject Learning Outcomes Generic Learning Outcomes

12.2, 12.4, 12.5, 12.6, 12.7

12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4, 12.5,

12.6, 12.7

12.4, 12.5, 12.6, 12.7, 12.8

13.1, 13.5

13.2, 13.3, 13.4

13.1, 13.2, 13.5


Assessment methods and how these relate to testing achievement of the intended learning outcomes

Assessment is by 40% unseen examination and 60% coursework. The coursework component in turn comprises seminar participation (8%), four brief quizzes associated with each assigned ethnography (3% each = 12%), and a final ethnographic research project incorporating the readings and original research conducted by the student, of not more than

2500 words (40%).

Each assessment addresses a different aspect of the module learning outcomes. The assessment of seminar participation will encourage and reward the ability to participate appropriately in seminar activities, including critical discussion and debate and the oral presentation of argument. The quizzes will test for basic factual knowledge and comprehension of the prescribed ethnographic texts. The ethnographic research project is intended to help students integrate their understanding of ethnography as a form of writing with their understanding of it as a form of research that must be experienced first-hand. And the final examination will test students’ ability to synthesise material taught in the course in an original and independent way in response to critically considered issues. The coursework and examination are designed to cater to the different learning strengths of students as well as ensuring their mastery of the module’s objectives.

Table of subject and generic learning outcomes supported by these methods:

Assessment Method Subject Learning Outcomes Generic Learning Outcomes

Seminar participation


Ethnographic research project


12.3, 12.4, 12.5, 12.7, 12.8

12.1, 12.2, 12.3

12.4, 12.5, 12.6, 12.7, 12.8

12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4, 12.5,

12.6, 12.7

13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 13.4

13.1, 13.2

13.2, 13.3, 13.5

13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 13.5


Implications for learning resources, including staff, library, IT and space

There will be implications for library holdings in relation to providing adequate numbers of the ethnographic texts that all students will be required to read each week. Use will be made of e-books where possible; students will also be encouraged to purchase the assigned texts from Blackwells as far as this is feasible for them. These arrangements will require preparation and book ordering in advance by the module convenor. There will also be a demand on large seminar classrooms (holding up to 20 students) for two-hour fortnightly slots.


The School recognises and has embedded the expectations of current disability equality legislation, and supports students with a declared disability or special educational need in its teaching. Within this module we will make reasonable adjustments wherever necessary, including additional or substitute materials, teaching modes or assessment methods for students who have declared and discussed their learning support needs. Arrangements for students with declared disabilities will be made on an individual basis, in consultation with the

University’s disability/dyslexia support service, and specialist support will be provided where needed.

Minor Revision to module specification confirmed 16 May 2012



Campus(es) where module will be delivered


Canterbury campus

If the module is part of a programme in a Partner College or Validated Institution, please complete the following:


Partner College/Validated Institution


University School (for cognate programmes) or Faculty (for non-cognate programmes) responsible for the programme



Statement by the School Director of Learning and Teaching/School Director of

Graduate Studies (as appropriate):

"I confirm I have been consulted on the above module proposal and have given advice on the correct procedures and required content of module proposals"

................................................................ ..............................................

Director of Learning and Teaching/Director of Graduate

Studies (delete as applicable)


Print Name


Statement by the Head of School:

"I confirm that the School has approved the introduction of the module and, where the module is proposed by School staff, will be responsible for its resourcing"


Head of School


Print Name





(Where the module is proposed by a Partner College/Validated Institution)


Required for information purposes only. Changes of campus will not require re-approval of the module specification.

Minor Revision to module specification confirmed 16 May 2012


Statement by the Nominated Officer of the College/Validated Institution (delete as


"I confirm that the College/Validated Institution (delete as applicable) has approved the introduction of the module and will be responsible for its resourcing"


Nominated Responsible Officer of Partner

College/Validated Institution




Print Name




Partner College/Validated Institution

Module Specification Template

Last updated November 2011

Minor Revision to module specification confirmed 16 May 2012

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