• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Anthea Snowsill
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2022
    See Future Offerings

The remarkable economic emergence of Asia in recent decades has transformed many impoverished and largely agriculturally based societies into the most dynamic region of the contemporary world. Asia’s burgeoning aspirational middle classes, rapid urbanisation, the expansion of participatory democracy and the shift from command economies to de-regulated markets have had profound effects on people’s everyday lives and the diverse cultural practices that have long shaped local livelihoods and community expectations. This course offers an introduction into anthropological approaches to the study of culture, modernity and globalisation in Asia. Relevant themes that have attracted anthropological interest include changing traditions and popular culture, adaptive custom and cosmopolitanism, migration and citizenship, identity politics and social movements as well as distinctive and emergent forms of governance in both collective and self-cultivating forms of expression. Drawing on a rich corpus of social theory and ethnographic research from anthropologists past and present, the course will provide students with conceptual and analytical tools to appreciate adaptive cultural practices in comparative terms, to review and appreciate the key anthropological debates and influential works in the study of modernity, and to introduce students to ethnographic approaches for researching and writing on modernity and contemporary ethnographies of global connection.

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon successful completion, students will be able to:

1  Demonstrate understanding of theories and debates around modernity and concepts of culture
2. Demonstrate knowledge of key concepts in anthropology and its central research method - ethnography
3. Critically utilise case studies and relevant source material when arguing analytical points in writing.
4. Summarise, digest and present the contents of analytical readings for a wider audience.

Indicative Assessment

Tutorial participation       20%  (learning outcomes 1,2,3,4)  Assessment of critical contributions to discussion
Short essay  1500 words 30% (learning outcomes 3,4)
Long essay   3000 words 50% (learning outcomes: 1,2 ,3,4)

The ANU uses 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. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Two lectures and one tutorial per week with expectations of 40 pages of reading a week on average.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed at least 24 units of university courses.

Prescribed Texts

All readings will be available on-line

Preliminary Reading

Anderson B, 1983 Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism,  London.  

Arjun Appadurai 1996  Modernity at Large: cultural dimensions of globalization. University of Minnesota Press.

Boellstorff T  The Gay Archipelago: Sexuality and Nation in Indonesia: Princeton University Press.

Doron A and R Jeffrey 2013 The Great Indian Phone Book: How the cheap cell phone changes business, politics and daily life.

Geertz C 1973  The Interpretation of Cultures, Basic Books

Inda J X and R Rosaldo 2008  The Anthropology of Globalisation (2nd ed)  Blackwell Publishing

Keane W 2006  Christain Moderns: Freedom and Fetish in the Mission Encounter, University of California Press.

Kipnis A 2012  Governing Educational Desire: Culture, Politics and Schooling in China, Chicago University Press.  

McKay D 2012  GLobal Filipinos: Migrants Lives in the Virtual Village, Indiana University Press.

Scott J  1998  Seeing Like a State: How certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed, Yale University Press.

Scott J  2009  The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. Yale University Press.

Taylor P 2008  Modernity and Re-enchantment: Religion in post-revolutionary Vietnam, ISEAS Lexington Books.

Tsing A  2005 Friction: an ethnography of global connection. Princeton University Press.



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $4980
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6657 25 Jul 2022 01 Aug 2022 31 Aug 2022 28 Oct 2022 In-Person and Online View

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