• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Anthropology
  • Areas of interest Geography, Art History, Political Sciences
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Chitra Venkataramani
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

How do we come to apprehend the world anthropologically? This Masters level seminar provides an in-depth exploration of the theoretical foundations and intellectual processes that shape anthropological thinking and writing, while also addressing longstanding themes and issues in anthropology within the contexts of colonialism, anti-imperialism, postcolonialism, and social activism. Rather than presenting a mere survey of the history of theory, this course aims to cultivate the ability to critically evaluate theoretical issues and develop an anthropological imagination, enabling students to explore ethnographic problems or issues through the lens of current and longstanding debates in social theory. It offers a unique opportunity for students to engage with cutting-edge ethnographic monographs that not only showcase the latest developments in the field but also exemplify the emergence of novel theoretical approaches rooted in ethnographic methods and writing. Weekly exercises will directly apply theoretical discussions to ethnographic cases.

This course is intended for students who have a foundational knowledge of anthropology and have completed coursework in anthropological theory or a related field. Prior experience with ethnographic research methods is desirable but not mandatory.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. cultivate a critical understanding of the theoretical frameworks that underpin anthropological thinking, and apply theory to the analysis and interpretation of ethnographic research;
  2. foster an anthropological imagination that enables students to think beyond disciplinary boundaries and engage with complex social phenomena;
  3. evaluate and critically engage with contemporary ethnographic research, focusing specifically on interpreting and assessing monographs that contribute to novel developments in the field; and
  4. build the capacity to articulate one's own theoretical perspective and contribute to ongoing scholarly conversations in anthropology.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Weekly participation and contribution to seminar (self-assessment component) (20) [LO 1,2,3]
  2. Weekly applied written exercises (x10, 500 words each) (50) [LO 3,4]
  3. Publishable book review (1,500 words) (30) [LO 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.


130 hours of total student learning comprised of:

1) 24 hours of seminars over 12 weeks

2) 106 hours of independent student research, reading and writing

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

Not applicable

Preliminary Reading

Indicative recent prize-winning ethnographic monographs. This list will be refreshed annually.

(1) e Silva, M.L., 2022. Minoritarian liberalism: a travesti life in a Brazilian favela. University of Chicago Press.

(2) Castellanos, M.B., 2020. Indigenous dispossession: Housing and Maya indebtedness in Mexico. Stanford University Press.

(3) Mathur, N., 2021. Crooked cats: beastly encounters in the Anthropocene. University of Chicago Press.

(4) Oliphant, E., 2021. The Privilege of Being Banal: Art, Secularism, and Catholicism in Paris. University of Chicago Press.

Assumed Knowledge

This course is intended for students who have a foundational knowledge of anthropology and have completed coursework in anthropological theory or a related field. Prior experience with ethnographic research methods (eg ANTH8059) is desirable but not mandatory.


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
2024 $4080
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6000
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
9027 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 In Person View
9040 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 Online View

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