ANTH4100 – Core Themes in Contemporary Anthropology

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

In this course we focus on four different, but inter-related, themes or debates in contemporary anthropology. Three of the themes are fixed (i.e., do not change) while the fourth theme changes from one year to another depending on who teaches the course. The course’s central aim is to give an expanded and strengthened grounding in general anthropology. The three fixed themes are:

  • Anthropology after Globalization
  • Ethnographies of the State
  • Modernity and the Persistent Life of Kinship

Through the course, you will work on issues like these:

  • First appearing in the English language in the 1940s, the term “globalization” is used to conceptualize and discuss the circulation of commodities, the rapid and furious exchange of ideas and images, and the movement of people. How do you define globalization? Why is globalization important for anthropology?
  • What is the “state” and how can we best study it?
  • How should one conceptualize and understand the relationship between kinship and “modernity”?
    In what ways does kinship continue to matter in the contemporary world, the world we all live in, today’s world?
  • How do contemporary anthropologists deal with history?
    What is history for anthropologists?
    Why is the concern with history important?

Learning outcome


  • Increased overview of central issues and perspectives in contemporary anthropology
  • Understanding of their relevance for contemporary academic and public policy debates
  • Strengthened understanding of ongoing theoretical and methodological debates in social anthropology and related disciplines


  • Improved ability to understand and reflect on a variety of intellectual positions and to use this understanding to contribute to the construction of a unique anthropological research agenda
  • Strengthened ability to construct an academic argument
  • Improved ability to write academic texts
  • Oral presentation skills


  • Enhance team-work capacity through group discussions and group presentations
  • Strengthen the ability to express arguments in solid academic writing



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.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Students must be enrolled in the master’s programme for Social Anthropology, and must have taken ANTH4010 – Advanced Anthropological Theory​, ANTH4020 – Academic Writing and Project Development​, and ANTH4030 – Advanced Anthropological Methods​.


Teaching blocks with a combination of lectures and in-class group discussions moderated by the lecturer.

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 examination will consist of a 4-day home examination (2200 - 2800 words).

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

The examination text is given in English.You may submit your response 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.

**Spring semester 2020**

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale this semester due to the coronavirus (COVID-19)


Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

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 spring


Every spring

Teaching language