The Anthropology of Migration, advanced course

Course content

Anthropologists no longer view migration as necessarily antithetical to settled life, but rather as a resource that is integral to ongoing social, economic and cultural mobilities. This course will look at different forms of migration and how they are shaped by migrants as well as the migration regimes that seek to control them. This will be done by exploring some of the ethnographic case studies and related theoretical and methodological approaches that have appeared in recent years.

We will investigate how migration, on the one hand, is perceived and practiced as a resource and, on the other, viewed and treated as a potential security risk in different socio-economic and cultural contexts. Central questions will be: What kinds of social and personal aspirations and which structural opportunities and constraints shape current migration processes? How can we capture these processes in ethnographic research? And what is the methodological and analytical purchase of concepts such as social imaginaries, mobility/immobility, adventure, migratory paths, borderlands, securitization, legality/illegality, uncertainty and potentiality?


Board of Studies, Department of Anthropology

Learning outcome


The methodological, analytical and theoretical skills necessary to identify, investigate and critically analyze migration from an anthropological perspective


Knowledge of different forms of migration, major theoretical and methodological approaches to migration in anthropology and the ways in which they shape our understanding of migration


The competence to:

- present and critically discuss central issues in anthropological migration studies

- define a well-defined anthropological research problem concerning current migration issues

- write a well-structured essay drawing on relevant theory, method and ethnographic material from the course

Lectures, student presentations and class discussion

500 pages obligatory literature + a monograph of ca. 200 pages chosen by the student.

Course literature will be available in Absalon on the course website.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Portfolio exam.
Length: The portfolio exam can be taken individually or in groups of maximum four students. The portfolio exam consists of 3-7 submissions. The number of submissions is set by the lecturer. The total length of all of the submissions must not exceed 30,000 keystrokes for a single student. For groups of two students the maximum is 40,000 keystrokes. For groups of three students the maximum is 45,000 keystrokes and for groups of four students the maximum is 50,000 keystrokes.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

See description of learning outcome.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam Preparation
  • 44
  • Seminar
  • 42
  • Course Preparation
  • 120
  • English
  • 206