SOSANT2170 – Regional ethnography: Europe

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

The European sphere is arguably the only continent in the world with undefined geographical boundaries. The areas in which it extends can easily stop at St Petersburg, or extend deep into the Caucasus, according to the historical and ideological imagination employed. This sociocultural building of what Europe is, brings to the fore some main components of social constructivism that are of great interest to the anthropological eye. What is more, “Europe” has been defined by centuries of colonialism, as outward imperialistic expansion brought an array of influences into the continent, while it exported violence and subjugation.

The course critically visits the identity and perception of “the European”, as well as the social and cultural life of Europe and the institution of the EU, which has become in recent decades a synecdoche of Europe at large. However, while the EU acts as a normative guardian and a benchmark of Europeanness, we shall explore the limits of the EU as Europe’s representative and the limitations of “EUrope” as a cultural construct. The course navigates the Mediterranean, a major sea of historical reference for European peoples, both of those in the South who share its shores and those in the North that have planned trade and cultural identity around it.

Moreover, the course deals with alterity is within and across Europe, an otherwise self-celebrated cohesive continent. Europe is aplenty with otherness, be it minorities, migrants, refugees, or even entire regions of “European people” who do not find a way into becoming fully accepted as Europeans by their peers. This selective Europeanness leaves out half of the continent in certain readings, and week four focuses on the peoples of the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Russia, as well as on the excluded immigrants to Europe.

Learning outcome


  • Overview of the region’s contribution to anthropology.
  • Familiarity with some recent and current themes in regional anthropology.
  • Critical reflection about the history and contemporary conditions of anthropology of and from the continent.


  • Competence in regional ethnography and familiarity with some 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.
  • Critical reflection about the role and responsibility of anthropology and the anthropologist in the context of a particular region.


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Lectures and seminars


Take home examination. The exam paper must be minimum 2 900 words and maximum 4 400 words including cover page and foot- or endnotes.

Previous exams and examiner 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

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in 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

An 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 2022
Autumn 2022
Teaching language