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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Social Anthropology

Undergraduate Course: Kinship: Structure and Process (SCAN10021)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course considers the history of kinship studies, looking at some central debates in the subject and assessing their implications for anthropological theory more generally; it also examines the relevance of kinship studies for understanding ourselves, our families, and our contemporary world.
Course description a. Academic Description
This course examines some of the ways in which people in different societies conceptualise and live out kinship and relatedness. It shows how notions of relatedness are linked to ideas about gender, theories of procreation (which are themselves changing under the impact of assisted reproductive technologies), and understandings of bodily substance, as well as having profound emotional, economic, political and religious salience. Kinship has long been regarded as the core of the anthropological discipline, and although the extent to which this was still the case had been under question, recent years have seen a marked revival.

b. Outline Content
Introduction : what is kinship?
Debating Kinship: Rule, Substance, and Sentiment
Nanny States and Family Politics
Relating with (and through) Gods, Spirits, and Ancestors
Kinship, Death, and Mourning
Kinship and Memory
Kinship and Gender
Becoming parents
Kinship and Economies
Futures: Kinship and Environment

c. Student Learning Experience
The course involves one two-hour session a week for the whole class, as well as small group tutorial teaching in separate one-hour sessions held weekly. In the main session, most weeks involve a mixture of a lecture and a discussion. In the latter, students discuss particular issues or recommended readings and then report back their conclusions to the class as a whole. The small group tutorial teaching is normally concerned with one or more key readings that illustrate or extend issues raised in the main sessions.
By the end of the course, students should have a grasp of the ways in which anthropologists have approached kinship in both classic non-Western cases and, more recently, in Western cultures too. They will have an understanding of the economic, legal and political salience of kinship, the history of kinship within anthropology, and of the significance of key debates about what kinship is, and how it might be studied. They will also be able to assess, from an anthropologically-informed perspective, the implications of the revolutions in reproductive technology and in attitudes towards marriage, sexuality, and sexual identity that are currently under way around the world.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Anthropology courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 167 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. Assessed course work in the form of a short essay (1,500 words). This carries a weighting of 30% towards the final overall mark for the course.
2. A long essay (3000 words) carries a weighting of 70% towards the final overall mark for the course.

Feedback Feedback is provided routinely on the personal responses submitted in tutorials and on the short essay in mid-semester. In addition, class lecturers engage with and comment on student oral responses in the main class discussions and tutorial sessions.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have an overview of the ways in which anthropologists have approached kinship in both some classic non-Western cases, and more recently, in Western cultures
  2. Have an understanding of the economic and political salience of kinship.
  3. Be aware of the social, legal and theoretical challenges posed by new reproductive technologies and changing social attitudes towards sexual identity.
  4. Understand the historical role played within anthropology by the study of kinship
  5. Grasp the significance of key debates about what kinship is, and how it might be studied.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Each week we will have a 50 min recorded lecture, 50 mins live and in person seminar/Q and A, and a tutorial.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Maya Mayblin
Course secretaryMiss Karen Leung
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