ANTH4010 – Advanced Anthropological Theory

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

This course gives you a broad and advanced grounding in the major theoretical approaches in Social Anthropology whilst positioning Anthropology in a developing and changing intellectual and social context. The aim is to enable you to understand the unique perspectives on social life facilitated by anthropological theoretical perspectives, and in so doing, to encourage you to use these insights as the basis for the development of your own research projects.

The course covers a number of key concepts and debates in classical and contemporary anthropological theory. It invites you to develop an understanding of what anthropological theory can add to our understanding of contemporary global social issues as a part of your preparation for your own research contribution to this field. Topics covered include:

  • The nature of anthropological theory
  • Understanding systems and structures
  • Anthropological approaches to materialism and symbolism
  • Anthropological approaches to gender
  • The role of anthropological theory in the 21st century

Learning outcome


  • Deep postgraduate level overview of key perspectives in classical and contemporary anthropological perspectives.
  • Appreciation of their relevance for contemporary academic and public policy debates.
  • Understanding of ongoing theoretical debates and the potential position of the student’s own original research to the development of these debates


  • Ability to synthesise and critique a variety of theoretical positions and to use this understanding to contribute to the construction of a unique research agenda.
  • Construction of an academic argument.
  • Writing academic texts. 

General competence

  • Enhance oral presentation skills.
  • Enhanced team-work capability and group-presentations.
  • The ability to express arguments in solid academic written English (via essay writing and shorter reflection papers).


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

This course is not available for single course students.


The course ANTH4010 will be a hybrid lecture (physical lectures with students combined with live Zoom lectures) for the autumn semester 2021. This means that students in Norway can attend the lectures in Auditorium 7 and students abroad can follow the lectures online.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.

The course will consist of 3-hour teaching blocks with a combination of lectures and in-class group discussions facilitated by the lecturer


The examination will consist of a 3-day take-home examination (max. 2,500 words).

Previous exams and assessment guidelines 


Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

After you have received your grade you may ask for an explanation of the assessment of your performance. You can also submit an appeal against your grades for all written examinations. It is recommended to request an explanation of your grade before you decide to appeal.

See also our information about complaints about formal exam errors.

Resit an examination

If you are ill or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, you can apply for an extended submission deadline or for a postponed examination later the same semester.

See also our information about resitting an exam

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language