BASS Politics and Criminology

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Intro to Ethnographic Reading

Unit code SOAN10322
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Anthropology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This is the second semester following the core module of Key Ideas in Social Anthropology for Single Honours, Joint Honours, and BASS with Social Anthropology pathway First Year students. In semester two, students are introduced to the different forms of ethnographies that anthropologists produce after they’ve conducted fieldwork. Semester two involves understanding what anthropology is as a field of study, what kinds of questions anthropologists ask, and the kinds of knowledge they produce through fieldwork. Students who have not taken Key Ideas in Semester 1 will still be able to learn how ethnographic analysis works through a close analysis of various textual, visual and aural materials. On completion of this module, successful students will have acquired skills including, but not limited to: a critical understanding of the changing meaning of ‘culture’ and ‘society’ through diverse theoretical approaches, empirical circumstances and a variety of forms of ethnographic representation. They will have an appreciation for how ethnographic research shapes anthropological approaches to human social and cultural life; and how distinctions are drawn between ethnographic and analytical claims in contemporary approaches to human culture and society through the particular formations of ethnographic representation.




The course unit aims to:

Give students an introduction to how contemporary anthropology is building on and transforming some of the theoretical approaches to human culture and society and advancing its public impact through a variety of forms of ethnographic research. We will do this by focusing on ethnographies in both textual, visual and aural forms.

Learning outcomes

Student should/will be able to


•       Develop understanding of how the particular forms of ethnographic research and representation shapes anthropological approaches to human social and cultural life.

•       Gain knowledge about ethnographic analyses of core anthropological concerns with experience, the urban and natural environments, memory, the self and the social order, and other issues.

•       Have a grasp of the importance of relationality, processes, and reflexivity in contemporary anthropological theorizing.

•       Engage with difficult texts and visual and aural material with a critical eye and pose analytical questions.

•       Establish the foundations to become an independent learner.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will consist of ten two-hour lectures and weekly one-hour tutorials. 

Assessment methods

4 x online portfolio tasks (this will involve peer review and formative feedback and mark) 40% total, 10% per task

1 x 1,000 word essay worth 60%


Feedback methods

Electronic and personalised feedback

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 10
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 80

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Katherine Smith Unit coordinator

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