MA Engaged Anthropology
84% of respondents agreed that their course is intellectually stimulating - Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2015
Our exciting MA in Engaged Anthropology is designed to develop students’ capacity to take anthropology out of the classroom into real-life contexts – and equip them with vocational skills to do so – while also encouraging them to take a critical approach to anthropological engagement, intervention and involvement in current social concerns and debates.
The programme is our main advanced Social Anthropology offering, and the title ‘Engaged Anthropology’ reflects our unique approach to the discipline.
At UWTSD we encourage students to be anthropologists, apply their learning and engage with pressing issues – such as climate change, food security, globalisation and the preservation of the past – which people across the world are facing today.
As such, theory and practice are woven together as students reflect upon political and economic relations and broader power dynamics, both historically and in the contemporary world, and consider how individual and collective actions can challenge, create and/or reinforce social inequalities and injustices.
The programme is designed to encourage students to develop ethically sophisticated and sustainable approaches to social action, while also considering what sustainability – in relation to economic systems, cultural practices, community, knowledge, relations with the environment and the discipline of anthropology – and ethical practice means in cross-cultural settings.
The programme is shaped by students’ interests and currently offers three specialist pathways in Food Cultures and Practices; Heritage and Material Culture; and Human - Environment Relations.
- Engaging with Anthropological Theory: This module explores the influence and usefulness of three theorists that have been influential in anthropology – Marx, Foucault and Latour – in some depth, and examines how they have been applied in the production of ethnography.
- Anthropological Research Methods in Practice: This module is intended to help students develop a critical awareness in reflexive thinking, especially as related to ethics. They are asked to consider thoroughly how anthropologists have engaged in thinking reflexively about their particular fieldwork situations and how they have written their ethnographic accounts. This module therefore invites students to engage with theoretical frameworks underpinning data collection in ethnographic research and the subsequent process of writing about it.
- Key Debates in Anthropological Theory: This module adopts the original intentions and format of the GDAT group. This is achieved by introducing students to some of the debates covered by the original Group and by presenting some new topics of contemporary relevance to launch the students into conceiving of their own contribution in a class debate. Indicative list of subjects that may be covered: advocacy, aesthetics, gender bias, agency, ontologies/epistemologies, neoliberalism, post-humanism, new animism, rights and ethics.
- The Politics of Food: Food lies at the centre of a myriad of human practices, and has consequently been the focus of various forms of inquiry. From field and farm, to laboratory and production line, to kitchen and dining table, the supermarket shelf and restaurant, food is a profoundly social and political substance; one through which social relations and cultural phenomena are (re)produced and transformed. This module will address the historically and culturally variable forms of food production, exchange, preparation, and consumption as the means through which both individual and social bodies are constructed and reproduced. The course will serve as a vehicle to examine how social subjectivities, political and economic relations, and hierarchies have been and are produced through the medium of food.
- Heritage Tourism Contexts : This module develops a critical understanding of the heritage tourism industry and the internal and external factors that contribute to it.
- Heritage: Representation and Interpretation : The module will explore a variety of conceptual and definitional questions surrounding notions and practices of heritage, and its relationship with the Past. It will focus upon the notion of heritage as cultural practice and thus explore questions such as where does heritage come from, how is it made, what does it do, and how does it relate to the past and present.
- Exhibiting the Past: Museums, Collections and Heritage: This course aims to make students acquainted with museums in the UK and also where possible, world-wide, to let them understand organisational and financial structures, and to acquaint them with the issues and techniques associated with museum management. To achieve this, the students will research the history of collecting since ancient times. It also aims to demonstrate the necessary practical knowledge and skills how to plan exhibitions.
- Sacred Geography: This module explores how sacred geography manifests in, and relates to, different dimensions of human religious experience.
The programme is founded upon an established pool of expertise in Anthropology and Anthropologically-related concerns, and covers a range of projects undertaken over a number of years:
- Staff are research active and regularly attend academic conferences.
- Study cutting-edge areas of academic interest, notably the anthropology of food and health
- The staff expertise represents a considerable bank of knowledge and skills that will underpin this programme and will ensure students enjoy a high-quality educational experience.
- An online and distance learning option is available, students taking the distance learning route follow the same programme as residential students and have up to two years to complete full-time and four years to complete part-time.
MA Engaged Anthropology students can now chose modules from one of the University’s innovatory programmes, the MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, which explores our relationship with the sky and the cosmos. The MA is a hybrid of history and anthropology, with some elements from the study of religions and archaeology. It is taught entirely by distance learning, using webinars, but if you are campus-based we will offer a number of informal sessions on the campus to discuss the course material. Three modules explicitly use anthropological methods (Researching Contemporary Cosmologies, Sacred Geography, and Heavenly Discourses). Others add a different dimension to your studies, and offer a chance to apply anthropological methods , such as Astral Religion and Skyscapes, Cosmology and Archaeology. Sky and Psyche explors theories of the psyche, psychology and the cosmos, Cosmology, Magic and Divination focuses on the classical world, and Foundations in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology provides a general foundation for understanding the human relationship with the sky. You will find full module descriptions here. Aside from Sacred Geography, the modules do not appear on the MA Engaged Anthropology module grid, but you will be able to enrol after consulting your programme director.
Assessment is usually based on written work in the form of long and short essays, reports, book reviews and reflective pieces.
The normalminimum requirement for admission is a Bachelor’s degree, with good II.1 honours, or equivalent. However as part of an inclusive approach to learning we encourage students from non traditional entry points or without recognised educational backgrounds but who have an equivalent and appropriate professional qualification or significant relevant professional experience to apply. In such cases the programme leader may ask for a telephone/ Skype conversation or request evidence in the form of a piece of work, report, analysis of some sort to satisfy themselves that each student is able to fulfil their potential on the course. International students will be required to have achieved a minimum of 6.0 overall and a minimum of 5.5 in each component of reading, writing, listening and speaking in a UKVI approved IELTS English language test.
We welcome international students to apply to our programmes. If your first language is not English, we will require you to have achieved a minimum of 6.0 overall and a minimum of 5.5 in each component of reading, writing, listening and speaking in an IELTS English language test, or equivalent.
Most of the postgraduate programmes within the Faculty of Humanities are available to distance learners, and indeed the greater part of our postgraduate cohort comprises distance learners. Every student has access to all module materials, including reading lists, on the Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle). All modules are taught by our lecturers, and are designed to be accessible and friendly to learning at a distance. Many of the modules are delivered in a blended fashion with use of video and audio presentations by the lecturers on each individual topic.
It is essential that distance learners have a good internet access, as well as use of computer facilities; the University offers all distance students individual support in accessing material from home. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David Learning Resources Centre provides access to a variety of electronic academic material to distance learners, including, including journal articles, e-books and specialist resources'