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Undergraduate Module Descriptor

ANT3016: Anthropology of the State

This module descriptor refers to the 2023/4 academic year.

Module Aims

You will be introduced to a range of social scientific approaches to the study of the state, from political theory and anthropology to history, archaeology and sociology. You will then apply these analytical tools to a range of historical cases to explore the diverse ways in which humans live with (and without) states. Through a guided research project, you will develop your own personal approach to the study of the state and apply that approach to a particular contemporary or historical state or non-state society.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here – you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. demonstrate strong familiarity with the major contemporary social scientific approaches to the study of the state;
2. show an in-depth understanding of specific issues related to the study of the state, including definitional matters, the difficulty of defining the boundaries of ‘the state’, and understanding the nature of statelessness both historically and today;
3. show a detailed understanding of particular types of state like the welfare state, the carceral state, the theatre state, the Islamic state, divine kingship, and the galactic polity.
Discipline-Specific Skills4. critically apply various theories and methodologies to specific cases;
5. critically assess claims about the state and socio-political organization more generally;
6. think critically about the social, political, and anthropological implications of states.
Personal and Key Skills7. communicate effectively in written and oral form;
8. engage in cross-cultural translation and comparison;
9. conduct research on a topic and organize findings in written form in a compelling manner.