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

Mandatory MA course 1. Semester

Credit students and Exchange students cannot sign up for this course.

Learning outcome


  • Be knowledgeable about different anthropological problem areas


  • Be able to identify the different components that comprise an anthropological analysis, that is, an ethnographic question or an anthropological problem field and relevant 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

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
Type of assessment details
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.
For groups writing together it must be clearly indicated which parts of the assignment each of the students has written.
Length: 22,500–27,500 keystrokes for an individual paper. 4,500–5,500 keystrokes per extra member for group papers.
Exam registration requirements

In order to be eligible to participate in the exam, the students must hand in the midterm assignment.

All aids allowed

Policy on the Use of Generative AI Software and Large Language Models in Exams

The Department of Anthropology allows the use of generative AI software and large language models (AI/LLMs), such as ChatGPT, in written exams, provided that the use of AI/LLMs is disclosed and specified (i.e., how it was used and for what purpose) in an appendix that does not count towards the page limit of the exam.


If AI/LLMs are used as source, the same requirements apply for using quotation marks and source referencing as with all other sources. Otherwise, it will be a case of plagiarism.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship

1st re-exam: A new essay with a new problem formulation must be submitted. The new assignment must be submitted by the deadline for the re-exam.


2nd re-exam: A new assignment with a new problem formulation must be submitted. The new assignment is submitted during the next exam period.


For more information about the course see

Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 284
  • Exam
  • 74
  • English
  • 414


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

See timetable.
Department of Anthropology, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Anthropology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Matthew Alexander Halkes Carey   (13-74687b7b6f6c7e356a68796c804768757b6f797635727c356b72)
Saved on the 01-05-2024

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