Analytical Approaches

Course content

Analytical Approaches presents an overview of central anthropological problem areas and teaches students to identify, compare and assess the different components that make up an anthropological analysis, namely, ethnographic question, anthropological problem, and theoretical perspectives.

Analytical Approaches thus imbues students with advanced anthropological knowledge about central problems and with elementary meta-analytical skills and competencies, both of which they can draw on when designing their own projects in the second semester and writing their own thesis - i.e. conducting their own analyses - in the fourth semester. The class is organized around twelve weeks of combined lectures, seminars, and group sessions, each of which hones in on an anthropological problem by critically examining different analytical approaches to it.

In alignment with the learning outcomes of this course we will place special emphasis on exploring the pros and cons of different analytical approaches, both classic and more recent. What kinds of insights can a certain analytical approach yield? What are its limitations? And how does it compare with other approaches, past or present?


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


  • Be knowledgeable about different anthropological problem areas


  • Be able to identify the different components that comprise an anthropological analysis, that is, ethnographic question, anthropological problem and theoretical perspectives
  • Be able to compare the relevance of different theoretical perspectives in relation to selected problems areas


  • Be able to assess the potentials and the limitations of different analytical approaches in relation to an existing or future anthropological analysis

• Weekly Lectures
• Weekly Seminars
• Group work aimed at group presentations throughout the course
• Midterm the students must hand in a written assignment that shows the student’s ability to identify the different components that comprise an anthropological analysis based on their reading of one of the three required monographs
• Attendance is expected of all students


Due to the covid19 situation the teaching in autumn semester 2020 is as follows:
• Lectures are online
• Seminars are on campus
• Seminars are available online too for students who are not able to attend classes on campus because of their covid-19 risk.

Always remember to check Absalon for the latest updates.

The course literature comprises two kinds of texts:

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

  • Three monographs totaling 600 pages (where one of them is chosen individually and the others are selected from a pool of six monographs picked by the teachers). The monographs are read extensively.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
  • Collective feedback on the written assignment will be provided midterm in class.

  • Individual feedback is offered after the assessment and grading of the exam essay

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
  • Preparation
  • 284
  • Exam
  • 74
  • English
  • 414