SOSANT2140 – Regional ethnography: East and Southeast Asia

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course gives an introduction into the ethnography of East and Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on both classical and contemporary research interests related to that region. By focusing on kinship, personhood, emotion, sexuality and gender, indigeneity, capitalism and urban change, we will explore, amongst other things, the following set of questions:

  • How is relatedness produced in this part of the world?
  • How does kinship get entangled with local memories of war (e.g. in Vietnam or Cambodia)?
  • How is wealth being made in East Asian nightclubs, where men come to network amongst themselves, while women engage in the sexual and emotional labor that allows these connections to arise?
  • What constitutes a person in Southeast Asia, and what can we learn about emotions by, for instance, studying small-scale highland groups in the Philippines?
  • How does being indigenous become tied into contemporary resource struggles in Southeast Asia?
  • How are fluid gender identities made sense of, and how does sexuality become tied into both nationalist and postcolonial projects across the two regions?
  • And finally, what can we learn about Asia’s changing position in an increasingly globalized world when we look at cases of capital and labour on the move in this dynamic region?

The course conveys knowledge about regional ethnography, and provides thereby a basis for comparative ethnography.

As the course proceeds, the students will first obtain an overview of anthropological research traditions related to the region, and of main questions and themes that have been developed from regional ethnography. Subsequently, the main part of the course will focus on recent and current subject matters that shape contemporary anthropological research on the region.

Learning outcome


  • Overview of the East and Southeast Asia’s contribution to anthropology.
  • Familiarity with central themes in regional anthropology.
  • Thorough understanding of recent and current research themes in regional anthropology.


  • Competence in regional ethnography and familiarity with main themes in the region’s contemporary anthropology.


  • Ability to engage with and communicate contemporary social anthropological Insights.
  • Understanding and respect for social and cultural, as well as historical variation, as well as for theoretical and methodological differences between regional anthropological approaches.


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.


Recommended previous knowledge

Basic knowledge in social anthropology.


Lectures take place throughout the semester.


Take-home exam.

Previous exams

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.

The examination text will be given in English and Norwegian.

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

It is recommended to request an explanation of your grade before you decide to appeal.



The deadline to request an explanation is one week after the grade is published. For oral and practical examinations, the deadline is immediately after you have received your grade.

The explanation should normally be given within two weeks after you have asked for it. 
You find the explanation in Inspera.

Ask for an explanation of your grade

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






Autumn 2017

The course is offered irregularly.


Autumn 2017

Teaching language