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

From spring 2024 the course is also offered to students at the

- Master Programme in Social Data Science

- Master Programme in Political Science

- Master programme in Global Development

- Bachelor and Master Programmes in Psychology

Enrolled students register the course through the Selfservice. Please contact the study administration at each programme for questions regarding registration.

The course is open to:

  • Exchange and Guest students from abroad
  • Credit students from Danish Universities


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
Type of assessment details
Length: Portfolio exam can be written individually or in groups of max. 4 students. Portfolio exams consist of 2-7 submissions. For MA students, there is a submission more than for BA students, i.e. if the BA student has to submit five submissions, the MA students must submit six submissions. The number of submissions is set by the lecturer. The total length of all of the submissions must be max. 30,000 keystrokes for one BA student and max. 37,500 keystrokes for one MA student. For groups of two students, max. 40,000 keystrokes BA students and max. 47,500 for MA students. For groups of three students, max. 45,000 keystrokes for BA students and max. 52,500 for MA students. For groups of four students, max. 50,000 keystrokes for BA students and 57,500 for MA students. In the case of group assignments, the contribution of each individual student must be clearly marked in the assignment. For groups with both BA and MA students, the same number of submissions is required as for MA students. The assignments are assessed jointly with a single grade.
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
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 100
  • Exam
  • 64
  • English
  • 206


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

1 semester

See timetable
Department of Anthropology, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Anthropology
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Political Science
  • Social Data Science
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Anja Simonsen   (13-65726e6532776d717372776972446572786c7673326f7932686f)
Saved on the 15-05-2023

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students