• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Anthropology
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Assa Doron
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2024
    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:

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

Indicative Assessment

  1. Tutorial participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Short essay 1200 words (20) [LO 3,4]
  3. Long essay 2500 word + Presentation (max 1000 words, PPT) (50) [LO 2,3,4]
  4. Quizzes (2x10%) (20) [LO 4,5]

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.


This course requires 130 hours, including class time and self-study.

It is made of seminar-type lectures, which also include a tutorial-based discussions, with expectations of 40 pages of reading a week on average.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

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.

Baviskar, A. Uncivil City: ecology, equity and the commons in Delhi. Sage

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

Eriksen. T. 2017. What is Anthropology. Pluto Press.

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.

McKay D 2012 Global Filipinos: Migrants Lives in the Virtual Village, Indiana.

Narayan, K. 2012. Alive in Writing. Chicago

Nisa, E. 2023. Face-veiled Women in Contemporary Indonesia. Routledge.

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.

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
2024 $4080
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $5280
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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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
8158 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 In Person N/A

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