• Class Number 4583
  • Term Code 3130
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 12 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • EmaP Francesca Merlan
    • EmaP Francesca Merlan
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/02/2021
  • Class End Date 28/05/2021
  • Census Date 31/03/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/03/2021
    • EmaP Francesca Merlan
SELT Survey Results

This course surveys the variety of approaches to the description and analysis of social life in social/cultural anthropology through seminars and the close examination of selected texts. It does so by tracing the development of anthropological theory through the twentieth century, and with reference to its intellectual origins. The course begins by locating anthropology in its contemporary post-colonial context with an examination of critical perspectives on the history of the discipline, and explores the challenge of reading the past from the perspective of the present. It then moves from a consideration of the emergence of 'society' and'the social' as objects of study, outlines and assesses key aspects of functionalist, structural-functionalist, and structuralist approaches, explores the influence of Marxism and practice theory, examines key aspects of interpretive and symbolic anthropology, and ends with an examination of the implications of globalisation and the post-representational turn for the doing and writing of ethnography.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. demonstrate extended acquisition of a systematic and coherent body of knowledge of anthropological theory, its underlying principles and concepts;
  2. critically apply theoretical concepts to anthropological theory;
  3. apply extended knowledge acquired in their own written work as well as in class discussion; and
  4. demonstrate the development of a foundation for self-directed learning.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to History of Anthropological Theory: Organization of the course, Assessment, Background
2 19th century evolutionism, progressivism, Darwinism
3 Durkheim, Mauss and Malinowski: Exchange, ‘the total social fact’
4 Boas, American Anthropology and the Colour Line
5 Structuralism and Functionalism
6 Marxism, anthropology and political economy Minor essay due Fri. 2 April, 9am AEST (Just before the break)
7 Interpretive and Symbolic Anthropologies
8 Colonialism and Global Involvement
9 Theory Since the 60s; Practice Theory, Bourdieu
10 The Ontological Turn
11 Actor-Network Theory
12 Anthropologists on Anthropology Today Major Essay due Friday 10 June, 9am AEST

Tutorial Registration


Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
1 10 % * * 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
2 40 % 02/04/2021 20/04/2021 1,2,3,4
3 50 % 10/06/2021 24/06/2021 1,2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


There is an `in-class' tutorial which meets on Friday, to read selections related to the week’s topic. From students doing the course at 12-unit intensity, full attendance is expected. This is a minor part of the mark but a very important part of the course, where ideas will get an airing and where everybody will work on setting out ideas and ethnographic discussion clearly. (We are in a dual delivery room so this will also be recorded).



Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


Tutorials are held each week (Friday) in addition to Tuesday lecture time. The tutorial is meant to be an informal, cordial, yet informed collective and individual learning process regarding different topics discussed throughout the semester, and principally based on the weekly readings. All students must do the required readings for each week; in some weeks additional supplementary readings will be clearly marked as such. Students are expected to actively participate by asking questions, make comments and engage in conversation. Simply attending tutorials does not amount to participation. Students are expected to demonstrate a critical engagement with the readings as well as the broader topics discussed in the tutorial.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 02/04/2021
Return of Assessment: 20/04/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4


Minor Essay

Details of Task:

This task is to demonstrate students’ engagement with the literature and approaches covered in the course through week 6; and to show their understanding of concepts and their relevance; to demonstrate ability to make critically assessment conceptual and ethnographic materials, and to show clear communication in an academic format.

Word length: 2500 words. Word length is exclusive of bibliography and can be within the margin of 10%.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 10/06/2021
Return of Assessment: 24/06/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4


Major Essay

Details of Task:

The major essay gives students the opportunity to apply understandings of anthropological theory and practice over time to a major piece of writing by anthropologists today concerning the nature and future of the discipline. Students should relate the chosen piece to approaches covered in the course.


 A detailed assessment guideline is provided in wattle. Word length: 3500 words

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

EmaP Francesca Merlan

Research Interests

Social and cultural theory and change; development theory and practice; language and linguistic anthropology; gender; Australia, Papua New Guinea, Europe

EmaP Francesca Merlan

Monday 14:00 15:00
Monday 14:00 15:00
Monday 14:00 15:00
EmaP Francesca Merlan

Research Interests

EmaP Francesca Merlan

Monday 14:00 15:00
Monday 14:00 15:00
Monday 14:00 15:00
EmaP Francesca Merlan

Research Interests

EmaP Francesca Merlan

Monday 14:00 15:00
Monday 14:00 15:00
Monday 14:00 15:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions