The Anthropology of Migration, Introductory Course

Course content

Migration studies have undergone a major transformation in recent decades. Formerly, social scientists tended to research migration in terms of one-way “push-pull” movements from a place of origin to a migration destination, and the social, economic and cultural processes whereby immigrants were integrated into the new homeland. In recent years, however, migration scholars have redirected their approach so that they now view population movements as closely associated with the emergence, and further consolidation, of fields of social and economic relations spanning the physical distances involved in the migratory move. This means that migrants have strong ties to the place they have left as well as to the place or places to which they move. This is perhaps most clearly brought out in the concepts of transnationalism, diaspora and global networks that have gained prominence in migration research and refugee studies since the 1980's, along with the research method of multi-sited fieldwork. These new analytical and methodological perspectives raise important questions concerning the social organization of migration as well as our understanding of processes of socio-cultural continuity and change. In this course we will examine how anthropology can contribute to migration research in the light of this new development. How can we draw on anthropological theory in the conceptualization of the spatially and temporally extended processes that are set in motion by migratory movements? And how can we develop an ethnographic research practice that can encompass these complex processes?


Board of Studies, Department of Anthropology


The teaching in spring 2021 will be online until the 1. of April due to the Covid19 situation.

As soon as it is permitted and justifiable, it is up to the individual lecturer whether to transition to a blended format or wish to continue with full online teaching for the rest of the semester.

The individual lecturer will inform you of the above choice in the Absalon room for each course.

Courses with oral exams will be held online if the relevant restrictions have not been lifted at least four weeks before the individual exam. This will be notified in Absalon.

Courses with written exams will not experience any changes in relation to the normal exam form.

Learning outcome

Skills: Critically discuss concepts and theories related to the subject.  

Knowledge: Identify and formulate central anthropological questions with regard to the topic of migration.  

Competences: Demonstrate how relevant research questions relate to empirical settings.

A combination of lectures, guest lectures, student presentations and group Work.

BSc students and MSc students: 500 pages obligatory literature

The teacher will publish 200-300 pages of supplementary literature.

Course literature will be available through Absalon on the course website + Textbook: Rytter, Mikkel & Karen Fog Olwig (2011): Mobile Bodies, Mobile Souls. Family, Religion and migration in a Global World. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.

Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

The students will be organized in feedback groups, where part of the learning will be to receive feedback from fellow classmates.

Besides this, the students will receive a general feedback in class two times during the course as a general response to the portfolio handed in as work in progess in their groups.

Finally, they will receive a written feedback when being graded for their exam.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
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.
Formal requirements for a written assignment for groups can be found here: https:/​/​​study/​anthropology-ma/​Pages/​Topic.aspx?topic=Writtentake-homeassignment&topicId=265ca0b2-9132-4e58-b45e-a5a4243593fe#265ca0b2-9132-4e58-b45e-a5a4243593fe
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
There is appointed a second internal assessor to assist with the assessment when the first assessor finds this necessary.
Criteria for exam assessment

See description of learning outcome. Formalities for Written Works must be fulfilled, read more: MSc Students/ BA students (in Danish)/ exchange and credit students

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 7
  • Preparation
  • 117
  • Exercises
  • 12
  • Seminar
  • 21
  • Study Groups
  • 15
  • Exam
  • 35
  • English
  • 207