• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Anthropology
  • Areas of interest Anthropology
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Ashley Carruthers
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

Anthropological perspectives on violence consider how social life is shaped through different forms of engagement with force and intimidation, and foreground concerns of meaning, representation and symbolism—understanding violence as a form of socio-cultural expression as much as instrument of coercion. In this course, 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.

This course emphasises active and collaborative learning, with teamwork comprising 60% of the assessment. Students will be expected to seriously engage with the weekly learning materials before coming to class, undertake preparatory work with their teammates, and be primed to create an active and lively learning environment each week. This course will best suit those possessing (or wanting to develop) good skills around organisation, independent reading and research, presentation and debate in large groups, and project development in a team context.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. understand the core language and key conceptual approaches found in anthropological and related social science writing on violence and terror, allowing them to read and comprehend such texts independently;
  2. apply the core language and key concepts of the anthropology of violence to real life case studies, thus producing a critical analysis of practices and discourses of violence and terror;
  3. identify and debate moral and ethical issues around the deployment of violence and attempts to make peace by both state and non-state actors, and critically reflect on their own positionality in these processes;
  4. co-operate with fellow students and team members to promote effective peer learning, teamwork, organization, project development, and ability to adhere to time-on-task principles;
  5. develop interpersonal skills including social intelligence, open-mindedness, reliability, mutual respect and responsibility, and capacity to use diversity within the team as a resource; and
  6. improve their ability to present work and engage in discussion and debate in a large group context.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Individual Quiz (40) [LO 1]
  2. Team Quiz (15) [LO 1,4,5]
  3. Team Class Contribution (20) [LO 2,3,4,5,6]
  4. Team Consultation (5) [LO 2,3,4,5]
  5. Team Project (20) [LO 2,3,4,5,6]

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 time made up from:

a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 36 hours of workshops, student-led activities, presentations and consultations;

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading, and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 units of 1000 level Archaeology (ARCH), Anthropology (ANTH), History (HIST), Political Science (POLS) or Sociology (SOCY) courses, or with permission of the convenor. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed ANTH6516.

Prescribed Texts

N/A Minor Amendments Only


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

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.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3607 19 Feb 2024 26 Feb 2024 05 Apr 2024 24 May 2024 In Person View

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