Philosophy and Scope of Anthropology

Subject 121-409 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

March, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 3-hour seminar per week, for 8 weeks, beginning in the first week of semester.
Total Time Commitment: 2 contact hours/week, 8 additional hours/week. Total of 10 hours per week.
Prerequisites: Admission to the postgraduate diploma or fourth-year honours in Anthropology and/or Social Theory.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Prof Andrew Dawson


Prof Andrew Dawson

Subject Overview: This subject aims to provide participants with an in-depth understanding of contemporary research concerns in social and cultural anthropology. Through the critical and comparative reading of anthropological texts, students should not only become familiar with current theoretical and methodological issues, but should also develop an understanding of how these concerns have developed historically in the discipline.
Objectives: Students who successfully complete this subject should
  • have an awareness of the main traditions of anthropology in Britain, the United States and Europe;
  • have an acquaintance with fundamental problems in the philosophy of anthropology and with the relation between theory and method in ethnographic research and reporting.
  • have examined a selected number of critical debates in 20th century anthropology that continue to shape the discipline.
  • have an acquaintance with some fundamental philosophical concerns anthropology, particularly regarding the relation between theory and method in the research process.
  • have considered how their own research interests may be shaped by contemporary and historical debates covered in the semester.
Assessment: A 1000 word critical evaluation 20% (due during the semester), and a 4000 word essay 80% (due at the end of the semester).
Prescribed Texts:
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Students who successfully complete this subject should
  • have practice in conducting independent research and speaking articulately;
  • have practice in writing clearly in a variety of formats and reading with attention to detail;
  • have experience of systematically evaluating a body of empirical data and identifying its theoretical context;
  • have experience of advanced methods of critical inquiry and argument leading to improved analytical skills;
  • have acquired awareness of issues relating to cross-cultural communication.
Notes: Formerly available as 136-022 Anthropological Debates and 121-072. Students who have previously completed 136-022 or 121-072 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology
Anthropology and Social Theory

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