• Class Number 4197
  • Term Code 3330
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Sverre Molland
    • Dr Joe Cropp
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 20/02/2023
  • Class End Date 26/05/2023
  • Census Date 31/03/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 27/02/2023
SELT Survey Results

This course weighs up the kinds of insights that anthropology has to offer in understanding violence, and therefore emphasises ethnographic accounts that explore the manner in which social life is shaped through different forms of engagement with violence. Considering violence from an anthropological perspective foregrounds concerns of meaning, representation and symbolism—understanding violence as expression as much as instrument. We will be approaching violence as usually meaningful and always culturally mediated, a phenomenon that is not outside the realm of human society.

A key theme to be explored is the contention that violence, rather than necessarily signifying a breakdown in social existence, often plays a part—perhaps even a fundamental one—in the maintenance or creation of particular forms of social order. To this end, we will be concerned with analysing not only the explicit acts of bodily harm that occur in violent conflict but more subtle forms of violence perpetrated by the nation–state and global institutions. In this sense, a vital aspect of the course involves engaging with the ‘anthropology of state practices’ through considering the relation of state and society as this shapes occurrences and expressions of violence.

Finally, we consider the relation of anthropology and anthropologists to debates about universal human rights and reflect on the position of the anthropologist in witnessing, theorising and writing about violence, as well as the methodological challenges, ethical dilemmas, dangers and responsibilities involved.

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
1) Examine violence and terror by state and non-state agents in a cross-cultural perspective;
2) Identify and distinguish between different kinds of violence;
3) Understand different theoretical explanations for causes and experiential dimensions of violence;
4) Apply relevant concepts to actual case studies of terror and violence;
5) Formulate arguments about specific instances of terror and violence in a way that engages with contemporary scholarly debates; and
6) Consider various attempts to make peace in the light of these understandings of why violence occurs.

Research-Led Teaching

This course draws on extensive anthropological and social science primary research relating to terror and violence. Several case studies will be used in lectures.

Required Resources

All readings will be available through the course Wattle site or via an electronic book in the ANU library system.

There is no course text. All readings are available through wattle/ebrick & Reserve (see reading list below with hotlinks to readings).

Students who are not familiar with anthropology may find the following text-book useful as background reading: Eriksen, Thomas Hylland. 2015. Small places, large issues: An introduction to social and cultural anthropology (3rd ed.). London: Pluto Press (ebook).

Staff Feedback

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

  • In-text annotations (mid-term essay)
  • General feedback on essays focusing on (a) the main strength of the essay and (b) the main ways in which it can be improved?
  • the main strength of the essay and the main ways in which it can be improved
  • Marking rubric will also be used to indicate the quality of the essay.
  • Students are encouraged to approach the lecturer if they wish to discuss their class performance. 

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.

Other Information

For Assignments in this course: Please use Harvard referencing. Please consult the following website for instructions: http://library.unimelb.edu.au/recite

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction: Approaching Violence No tutorial
2 Violence, power and anthropology: the ritual of violence
3 Structural Violence
4 Marginalised violence
5 Violence as a foundation of the state
6 Contesting state violence with violence
7 Violating ideological purity -- Inter- communal violence
8 Urban Tribalism
9 Masculine Violence
10 Gendered violence in war
11 Researching violence ethnographically: An account from the field
12 Beyond violence: trauma, healing and the language of violence - Resilience out of violence

Tutorial Registration

Check the Course wattle page- Sign up for tutorial session will be made available in Week/Session 1 of the course.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Participation 10 % * 1,2,3,4,5,6
Minor Essay 35 % 31/03/2023 1,2,3,4,5
Take-home exam 55 % 08/06/2023 1,2,3,4,5,6

* 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.


Students are expected to actively participate by asking questions, making comments and engaging in conversation. Hence, simply attending tutorials does not equate participation.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6


The tutorial is meant to be an informal, cordial, yet informed collective and individual learning process relating to course content. Students are expected to read the readings ahead of class and to come prepared to take part in class discussion. Students are expected to actively participate by asking questions, make comments and engage in conversation. Hence, simply attending tutorials does not equate participation. The quality of contributions is far more important than quantity. Repeated comments that are off-topic and do not demonstrate an engagement with the unit material (although unlikely to be penalised) will not be rewarded with any marks. Students are also expected to contribute in a positive manner. Although well-informed debate and discussion is encouraged, this must at all times be taking place in a collegial and respectful manner. Up to two tutorial absences is acceptable and will not affect your participation grade. 

Assessment Task 2

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 31/03/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Minor Essay

The purpose of the minor essay is to allow students to engage with key themes explored in the first five weeks of the course. Students must only rely on readings from these weeks. The essay shall be 1500 words in length (within a variation of 10%), exclusive of bibliography. Detailed assessment criteria are made available through turnitin in wattle.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 55 %
Due Date: 08/06/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Take-home exam

The exam takes the form of an academic essay. Students must base the exam on lecture content and readings from the course only. Detailed assessment criteria are made available through turnitin in wattle.

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

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.

Returning Assignments

Students will receive essay feedback via turnitin. Late essays will be graded but may receive no comments. 

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).

AsPr Sverre Molland

Research Interests

AsPr Sverre Molland

By Appointment
Dr Joe Cropp

Research Interests

Dr Joe Cropp

By Appointment

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