Global Crisis: Contemporary political matters of concern

Course content

From COVID to conflict and the melting ice in the Antarctic, the world seems currently to be struggling with several international crises. This elective course aims to explore anthropological approaches to such large-scale matters of concern. Looking at, for example, the wars in Syria and Ukraine, the pandemic, climate change, and emerging authoritarianism, it analyses intensifying and interconnected critical states and investigates their local implications. We do this by examining the concept of crisis within anthropology and by questioning how critical aspects of power, politics and globalization affect our contemporary world. The course is divided into 14 seminars with the following thematic orientations focussed on the anthropology of… 

  • Emergencies, crises and chronicities (2x3 hours) Matthew Carey & Henrik Vigh
  • Authoritarianism (2x3 hours) Atreyee Sen
  • Pandemics (3 hours) Atreyee Sen & Henrik Vigh
  • Decolonization (2x3 hours) Oscar Salemink
  • Climate change (2x3 hours) Birgit Bräuchler
  • Migration (2x3 hours) Anja Simonsen
  • Crisis revisited (2x3 hours) Matthew Carey & Henrik Vigh
Learning outcome

- be able to identify a relevant anthropological research problem related to        political anthropology and crisis
- be able to locate and analyze empirical material by applying analytical            perspectives from the course literature (using anthropological concepts and    theories of social crisis and chronicity) in order to make an anthropological       argument 
-be able to write a well-structured portfolio on a chosen field/case drawing on    the literature from anthropology and other related disciplines

-be able to demonstrate how matters of concern are shaped in specific   sociocultural and politico-economic contexts and further reshape   our knowledge of critical states and events

-be able to utilize concepts and methods of political anthropology in analyzing    a concrete, empirical cases

The course will be taught collectively. The different themes will centre on lectures given by experts in the specific fields. A crosscutting subject throughout the entire course will be ‘global crisis’ – i.e., the ways in which contemporary political matters of concern are situated in local as well as global contexts. The course will include case-based group work and student presentations.

See absalon.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Type of assessment details
Length: The portfolio exam can be taken individually or in groups of maximum four students. The portfolio exam consists of 2-7 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.
For groups writing together it must be clearly indicated which parts of the assignment each of the students has written.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcome

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 100
  • Exam
  • 64
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Bachelor choice
Full Degree Master
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester

See timetable.
Department of Anthropology, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Anthropology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Henrik Erdman Vigh   (2-798751727f857983803f7c863f757c)
Saved on the 05-05-2022

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