Anthropological Analyses

Course content

The objective is to prepare the students to design their own projects in the second semester by enhancing their knowledge of a broad set of problems and topical areas, which they will also later draw on when writing their thesis in the fourth semester . To this end the course presents an overview of anthropological topic areas and associated research problems together with relevant analytical methodologies and theoretical concepts for critically addressing these.

Each class is organized around one of 24 research problems each of which criss-cross two or more of topical areas. Thus each class session explores an anthropological problem by critically examining different analytical solutions to it. The aim is to consider the potentials of different analytical approaches to a problem, both classic and more recent. What kinds of insights could a particular analytical approach offer? What are its limitations? And how does it relate to solutions that have been attempted earlier?

Throughout the course, students are encouraged to develop ideas for the ethnographic project they will finalizing the second semester, inspired by different anthropological analyses of concrete research problems. They are explicitly asked to connect their reading of the texts with their tentative ideas about their own potential research projects.


Board of Studies, Department of Anthropology

Learning outcome

By the end of the course the students will:

  • Be knowledgeable about a range of ethnographic issues within several topical areas 
  • Be able to identify and compare different analytical methodologies
  • Critically engage anthropological theories in terms of their potential to illuminate a given research problem, as well as their limitations
  • Demonstrate understanding of the consequences of conceptualizing ethnographic issues in different ways


Students must also fulfil the Department of Anthropology's form and language requirements (see the appropriate section in the curricula’s common part.

  • 800 pages of required literature in the form of journal articles or chapters from edited volumes (for each session, students read two or three agenda-setting or problem-defining anthropological analyses of concrete ethnographic problems – not review articles)

  • Three monographs totalling 700 pages (out of a pool of six monographs picked by the teachers; the ambition being that all topic areas are equally represented)

Type of assessment
Written assignment, exam period
Written assignment on optional subject
Individual or group papers
External assessment
The 7-point grading scale

The essay can be written individually or by groups of maximum four students.
Length: 22,500–27,500 keystrokes for an individual paper. 4,500–5,500 keystrokes per extra member for group papers.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 56
  • English
  • 56