1. ---SECTION 1: Anthropology of Ethics (Dr Adam Reed)---

  2. Week 1: Ethical Subjectivity: Moral Breakdown and Freedom 10 items
    This lecture explores the emergence in the last decade of the anthropology of ethics. Presented as a new field in anthropology, a range of scholars lay out and debate the scope of study, its parameters and seek to explain the previous failure to describe ethical subjectivity. Central concepts like ‘freedom’ and ‘moral breakdown’ become gateway concepts for the new sub discipline. A central influence is the late work of Foucault and the attempt to describe the diverse cultural ‘relationship to self’ that subjects exhibit and perform in different ways.
    1. Core Readings: 4 items
    2. Other Useful Readings: 6 items
      1. An anthropology of ethics - James D. Faubion 2011

        Book  Especially the introduction.

      2. The subject of virtue: an anthropology of ethics and freedom - James Laidlaw 2014

        Book  Especially the introduction.

  3. Week 2: Everyday Ethics and Ethical Affordances: Responsibility, Materiality and Agency 16 items
    Here we explore nuances and developments in the new field of anthropology of ethics. Attention increasingly falls squarely on ‘ordinary ethics’ and acts of decision-making, and the question of agency. An emphasis emerges on contradiction and dynamic shifts in ethical register. Most recently, new interest has developed in the area of ‘desubjectivation’ and in the notion developed by Webb Keane of ‘ethical affordances’, or the relationship between ethical states and materiality.
    1. Core Readings: 7 items
      1. Ethical life: its natural and social histories - Webb Keane 2016

        Book  Available in the Library and as an e-book

      2. Towards an Ethics of the Act - Michael Lambek

        Chapter  Online access available via Google Books.

    2. Other Useful Readings: 9 items
      1. Politics of piety: the Islamic revival and the feminist subject - Saba Mahmood 2005

        Book  Available in the Library and as an e-book. The 2012 edition has a new preface by the author, and is available in the Library at classmark HQ1785.M2G12.

  4. ---SECTION 2: Emergence (Dr Daniel Knight)---

  5. Week 3: Emergent Socialites 25 items
    The first half of the lecture will on changing forms of sociality in post-disaster and/or crisis settings, exploring the long-lasting impact of critical events such as financial crisis, environmental catastrophe or natural disasters. The second part of the session will ask what the future might hold for emerging socialities through examples of space exploration.
    1. Readings 24 items
      Core readings marked 'Essential' below
      1. Part 1: Post-disaster 12 items
        1. Markets of sorrow, labors of faith: New Orleans in the wake of Katrina - Vincanne Adams 2013 (electronic book)

          Book Essential Especially Chapters 2 and 8

        2. Governing affect: neoliberalism and disaster reconstruction - Roberto E. Barrios 2017

          Book  Available in Library and as an e-book

        3. No billionaire left behind: satirical activism in America - Angelique Haugerud 2013

          Book Essential Especially Introduction, but whole book recommended

        4. Anthropology Today - Special Issue: Alternatives to Austerity

          Journal  Read Introduction by D. M. Knight and L. Bear (pp. 1-2) plus one other article.

        5. Ethnographies of Austerity: Temporality, Crisis and Affect in Southern Europe 2017

          Book Essential Introduction to History and Anthropology 27(1), also available in print with a new Afterword

      2. Part 2: Possible Futures 12 items
        1. E.T. culture: anthropology in outerspaces - Debbora Battaglia 2005

          Book Essential Especially Introduction. (Available in the Library and as an e-book)

        2. Extreme: Limits and Horizons in the Once and Future Cosmos - David Valentine, Valerie A. Olson, Debbora Battaglia 2006

          Article Essential (Read Introduction plus one article of your choice).

        3. Beyond the Anthropocene: Un-Earthing an Epoch - Valerie Olson, Lisa Messeri 2015

          Article  Available via (requires registration)

        4. Placing Outer Space - , Lisa Messeri 2016 (electronic book)

          Book Essential Read: Introduction

        5. Histories of the future - Daniel Rosenberg, Susan Friend Harding 2005

          Book  Available in Library and as an e-book.

        6. Relational Spaces: An Earthly Installation - Debbora Battaglia, David Valentine, Valerie Olson 2015


    2. Tutorial: 1 item
      1. Film TBC.

  6. Week 4: Emergent Ecologies 11 items
    Increasingly, there are more unusual socio-technical and socio-environmental combinations in the contemporary world (i.e. instances where human impact has long-lasting effects on the environment and visa-versa). As well as thinking of doomsday scenarios and apocalyptic events, we can also see the emerging quality of synergetic life and “find possibilities in the wreckage of ongoing disasters, as symbiotic associations of opportunistic plants, animals, and microbes are flourishing in unexpected places – “emergent ecologies”” (Kirksey 2015). This lecture will consider some emerging human-environment combinations and what this might mean for the future of life on our planet and beyond.
    1. Readings 10 items
      Core readings marked 'Essential' below
      1. Aeroponic gardens and their magic: Plants/persons/ethics in suspension - Debbora Battaglia 2017

        Article  (And commentaries recommended by Corsin Jimenez, Valentine, Myers in same journal issue).

      2. Emergent ecologies - Eben Kirksey 2015

        Book Essential Read: Introduction and Conclusion. [Available in the Library and as an e-book]

      3. Traumatic Natures of the Swamp: Concepts of Nature in the Romanian Danube Delta - Kristof van Assche, Sandra Bell, Petruta Teampau 2012

        Article Essential

      4. Sand14 – Portfolio for Laura Watts

        Website  Laura Watts: Explore her website and projects - including short articles, poems and artwork on the socio-technical.

    2. Tutorial: 1 item
      1. Workshop activity TBC


    ---SECTION 3: Anthropology with Tim Ingold and Friends (Dr Stephanie Bunn)---

  8. Week 5: Perception 9 items
    Tim Ingold is an ecological anthropologist who has pioneered an approach to perception and skilled practice which synthesizes physical, social, and cultural approaches to anthropology. Since publishing his Perception of the Environment in 2000, Ingold has probably stood as one of the most significant anthropologists of the early 21st century. In week 1, we address Ingold’s notion of environment and his approach to, and his influences in and on, anthropology and perception.
    1. Core Readings: 4 items
      1. The perception of the environment: essays on livelihood, dwelling and skill - Tim Ingold 2000

        Book  Chapters 9, 10, 18 (available in the Library and as an e-book)

      2. The senses considered as perceptual systems - James J. Gibson 1983

        Book  Copies on short loan at BF311.G5... Chapter 1 digitised.

    2. Further Readings: 4 items
      1. On growth and form - D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson 1942 [1917]


    3. Workshop: The making and learning lesson


      Public event: The Darcy Thompson Commemoration Conference, 13-15 October, takes place at the Universities of St Andrews and Dundee just before this block of lectures. Lars Spuybroek, author of the Sympathy of Things, is speaking at the event. All students would be advised to attend the lecture, and/or if possible, read the book!


      Note, week 6 is Independent Learning Week. During this week, you should work with a partner in the group, and learn one skill from each other. The skill can be anything (fish gutting, tuning a guitar, how to use Photoshop...), though try to keep it simple and attainable.

  9. Week 6: Independent Learning Week

  10. Week 7: Lines and Creativity 12 items
    Ingold’s subsequent ‘lines of enquiry’ emerge through his interests in creativity, skilled practice and in linearity. The latter theme embraces diverse, often interwoven human practices, including cultural transmission, genealogies, drawing, dancing, music and song, weaving, the dynamics of walking, and writing. He explores these themes across multiple disciplines, most particularly Anthropology, Art, Archaeology and Architecture. Concerns to be explored here include human life trajectories, the relationship between making and growing, and the significance of human learning.
    1. Core Readings: 5 items
      1. Being alive: essays on movement, knowledge and description - Tim Ingold 2011

        Book  Available in the Library and as an e-book

      2. Lines: a brief history - Tim Ingold 2007

        Book  Available in the Library and as an e-book

      3. Creativity and cultural improvisation - Elizabeth Hallam, Tim Ingold 2007

        Book  Read: 'Introduction'

    2. Further Readings: 6 items
      1. Why we cooperate - Michael Tomasello 2009


      2. Ways of walking: ethnography and practice on foot - Tim Ingold, Jo Lee Vergunst 2008


    3. Workshop: The maths and drawing lesson

  11. ---SECTION 4: Anthropology and the Scales of Justice (Dr Melissa Demian)---

  12. Week 8: Anthropologies of Justice 10 items
    This week’s lecture takes up the problem of “justice” when it moves out of the realm of political philosophy and into actual interventions in rebuilding or rediscovering social relationships, normally after episodes of violence. Anthropologists have in particular taken up the problem of justice when it is preceded by “transitional”: what does it mean, in ethnographic terms, for a social world to be in transition following violent conflict, and what is it transitioning to? And do the tools of international legal and peacebuilding bodies, such as the concepts of human rights and of reconciliation, always have the effects they might be anticipated to have once adopted after a particular conflict in a particular locale?
    1. Core Readings: 4 items
    2. Further Readings: 6 items
  13. Week 9: Everyday Justice 13 items
    If justice as a concept lacks clarity even when applied at the scale of the national, what happens to it in very intimate settings? This week’s lecture explores how extra-legal processes may be claimed by people in their quest for justice as they understand it to affect their everyday lives. How do revenge, vigilantism, the counterfeit, and the crossing of borders without the sanction of the state factor into people’s assessment of the just and just action, whether these assessments are pragmatic, moral, or spiritual in nature? Is the state even capable of producing something identifiable as justice within people’s most intimate relationships? And at the level of people’s most intimate personal lives and relationships, is justice a process that is ever actually complete?
    1. Core Readings: 5 items
      1. Contesting criminality - Susan Bibler Coutin 2005

        Article Essential

    2. Further Readings: 8 items

    ---SECTION 5: Contemporary Anthropological Approaches to Mental Illness (Dr Mattia Fumanti)---

  15. Week 10: Introduction 33 items
    Innovative contributions by medical anthropologists, psychiatrists, historians of medicine and clinical psychologists who have moved away from western centric theoretical abstractions on mental illness, but instead focus on the ordinary lives of patients and their families, on their affective, emotional and subjective worlds. These contributions re-centre research and medical interventions on the process of making and remaking subjectivities within distinct contexts - social, historical, cultural, and political. As Jenkins et al. (2004) demonstrate, the advance lets us enter further into the moral world of patients and carers and it carries forward Kleinman’s argument on illness as a moral phenomenon. Values, manifest in psychosis, are not only alive in the experience of caregivers and patients, but they are inseparable from contested values in the political economy that supports them. This part of the module will aim to explore the relationship between subjectivity and emotion, between culture self and experience, and between cultural orientations of mental illness and its clinical implications. In particular, and focusing on illness narratives, this section of the module will explore questions of change in the perception of medical interventions, shifts in the efforts at coherence and self-making as well as issues of political economy. How and when do mental illness experiences create a clear break, beyond repair, or fragmentation in people’s lives, in their ideas of the self and in other’s perception of the sufferers? In which respects can there be a process of poiesis, of self-making, around care, empathy, love and moral engagement by the sufferers and their families? As Sadowski (2004) suggests, supposedly delusional talk, far from being delusional, is subversively political.
    1. Key readings: 7 items
    2. Further readings: 26 items
      1. Postcolonial Disorders - Mary-Jo DelVecchio Good, Sandra Teresa Hyde, Sarah Pinto 2008


      2. Illness and narrative - Lars-Christer Hydén 2008


      3. In Search of an Ending: Narrative Reconstruction as a Moral Quest - Lars-Christer Hyden 1995

        Article  Not available via Library holdings. Article available to download via the author's ResearchGate profile page.

      4. Suffering and its Transformations - A. Kleinman, J. Kleinman

        Chapter  Available in the Library and as an e-book.

      5. Bipolar expeditions: mania and depression in American culture - Emily Martin 2007

        Book  Available in the Library and as an e-book.

  16. Week 11: Mental illness in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa: Notes from Namibia 38 items
    Links between colonial psychiatry, racism, and oppression figure prominently in histories of the diagnosis, treatment and institutionalisation of the mentally ill in Africa. The colonial asylum provisions for black patients were poor; treatment regimes were discriminatory as were scientific justifications for diagnosis on the basis of presumed biological difference. It follows, some historians argue, that the very diagnosis of African patients as insane served racial theories, constructing the colonial world as orderly and sane. Further, institutionalizing the ‘mad’ in asylums was often actually the way to remove from society ‘troublesome’ Africans, who disturbed discipline in farms and mines, or who threatened the social peace and moral decorum – troubled and troubling, they were more likely to be diagnosed and institutionalised . Where the histories largely fall short is in patient-centred accounts, in the analysis of the efforts of the colonial-era subjects themselves to be pro-active not merely as ‘the mentally ill’, by clinical or court definition, but as persons embedded in social relationships with their kin and significant others Focusing on my recent and ongoing research in Namibia, most specifically, this lecture will address two interrelated themes: the ‘content of madness’, that is, the patients’ subjective illness narratives and their subsequent medicalization (Sadowsky 1999, 2004); and ‘the emotional world’ of insanity which encompasses the pro-active engagement of families insofar as they re-direct, support and/or oppose the medical intervention among their kin (Parle 2007). In using ethnographic examples from Namibia and elsewhere in Africa we will explore the structures, strictures and contradictions of the political and moral economy of mental health over the colonial to the postcolonial period.
    1. Key Readings: 7 items
    2. Further Readings: 31 items
      1. Black skin, white masks - Frantz Fanon 2008

        Book  Available in the Library and as an e-book.

      2. Ngoma: discourses of healing in central and southern Africa - John M. Janzen 1992

        Book  Available in the Library and as an e-book.

      3. Colonial madness: psychiatry in French North Africa - Richard C. Keller 2007

        Book  Available in the Library and as an e-book.

All rights reserved ©